How does society affect your depression and anxiety?

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Watching the news this past month (to find some measure) on the BBC, I'm seeing a great deal of negativity and - to me at least, the world seems to be falling apart around us and so casually, we sit and watch this unfold before our very eyes on a 24 hour basis. It seems that regardless of what channel we watch – on More 4, for instance, as well as countless documentary and historical channels, we are seeing reminders of 11/9 (I'm British; not American – it's not 9/11) – we are surrounded by negativity.

When I turn on a different channel – one funded by advertisements – we're told that unless we look a certain way, we are imperfect. Unless we buy a certain product, we are not 'fitting in'. We “need” a certain aftershave to smell good. We “need” a certain dress or item of clothing to make us look good. We “need” to look like the Cheryl Cole's of the world in order to be accepted. “You” are overweight. “You” are ugly. “You” are a problem.

Our lives are somehow incomplete without gazing at our phones to check Facebook, or Twitter, every 5 minutes to read something that, 15 or 20 years ago, we wouldn't have known about, would have been oblivious to, and blissfully ignorant to unless somebody engaged in real, physical human contact with us and made us aware of their problem. Now, we see every conceivable problem that anybody has – literally “fed” to us; they are called “feeds” - on a minutely basis and for some strange reason, we are told to like this, to share this, as if in some way, the second is gets approval from another person gives us some sense of fulfilment, and if somebody else doesn't “like” it or “share” it, somehow, whatever we're trying to communicate is wrong; it's almost as though our entire lives are dominated by the sense or desire for somebody else's approval.

Whose, I ask?

I'm under no illusion that there are those of us who go to work, engage in whatever daily activities we engage in and so on, with depression and anxiety overshadowing us wherever we go, but those of us who sit inside, feel so depressed we can't bear to look out of the window and so turn to the television as a way of viewing the world – I wonder how you feel being told that your life is incomplete without a 56” ultra HD television you can't afford to watch programmes on television that tell you how rubbish everything is, only for you to get bored, gaze at a phone you have on a rolling contract, that isn't yours, to read a piece of personal information that has nothing to do with you and doesn't affect your life in any way and yet simultaneously makes you feel personally involved in some way or another.

So if this is you, and let's face it, there are millions in this boat, how do you think you should feel?

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  • Posted

    I rarely watch TV (the hypnotist in the corner) or do social media (proof that we are never too old to have imaginary friends) but I do find myself messing with my phone more than I would like to.

    I remember some medical 'research' being conducted about 10 years ago and the way the pharmaceuticals get their latest chemical 'fix' approved is by (sometimes) creating a product/pill (solution), which they get patented by creating a new molecule REGARDLESS of potential consequences (where there's tradegy there's TRADE and we are talking BIG business HERE!). They then create a list of symptoms and if they can get enough people to say they have those symptoms BOOM their new product is approved and their smartly dressed (and often VERY pretty) reps are shipped out to wine and dine the doctors who (oddly enough) then start to prescribe the bew 'product' as  standard course for anybody which displays anything even resembling the symptoms describes to get the drug 'approved'.

    I mention the above because the 'research' I remember hearing on the radio (amongst the adverts for all the other products we NEED!) was for something that became known as social phobia (or now more commonly as social anxiety) and it works something like this...

    Problem- you have a problem and here are all your symptoms (and of course many people feel the 'symptoms' of good old fashioned SHYNESS etc- but do we really have to turn it into a DISEASE?!?! Or in our go-get celebrity infested ego fuelled society is shyness and vulnerability a very real 'problem'?)

    Reaction- those who 'recognise' themselves as suffering the 'symptoms' re-act by saying "yes, I have those symptoms, what are you going to do to help me?" (Or words/thoughts to that effect!)

    Solution- well, we just HAPPEN to have a lovely new drug that will solve all your shyness/vulnerability problems ahem, sorry your SOCIAL PHOBIAS because you are clearly sick and you need OUR help.

    Its classic problem- reaction- solution where the people seeking to profiteer create the SOLUTION first THEN create the PROBLEM ('symptoms' of shyness/vulnerability which is clearly is bad, so you really do need to get a life!),  which garners a REACTION of "YES I have that problem" before the people that CREATED the problem offer the (newly approved) SOLUTION which they had already patented ready for the response to the reaction which they themselves had generated.

    And I'm not saying shyness and anxiety aren't problems but do we really need to turn them into a disease (for any other reason than HUGE profit?)

    Maybe our feelings teach us something, whether they be emotional and/or physical? And maybe just switching them off like warning lights in cars isn't really the answer? Maybe we are anxious for a reason? Maybe there is lots of social unrest and dis-ease because there's something not quite right and maybe, just maybe there are 'alarms' going off inside so many people because its time we WOKE UP and did something about it?

    And maybe there are those who benefit/profit from those alarms being switched off..." there there, just take this pill...(and shut the f**k up!!!)"???

    Or do we (and people like us) have personality disorders?!?! ;-)

    "In times of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

    "The lie tastes sweet in the beginning but bitter at the end. The truth tastes bitter at the beginning but sweet at the end." - Buddah

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    • Posted

      I think your anger is being directed at the wrong people when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. It is a problem but not the problem; nor is it some benevolent entity that has it's tentacles inside every orifice and crevice of humanity. What you say also begs the question, "well, if you feel that strongly about the pharamceutical industry, why not gather all of your figures and do something productive like make a documentary about it instead of being online telling us something most already know?"

      I don't believe that doctors prescribe so casually because they have been 'wined and dined' by the pharmaceutical companies; they do so purely because they (note: most) lack the training to be able offer a real, effective and proper diagnosis and so offer the the only treatment they believe works. There's a culture of ignorance within the clinical structure that needs to be addressed, not a conspiracy involving the larger pharmaceutical industry. A company like Pfizer, for instance, has no bearing on the decisions made by an individual doctor who works at a practice in, say, Scunthorpe.

      I think attitudes like this lead to paranoia; more feelings of isolation.

      A lot of problems (or challenges) now that I can see are reflective of social changes and our difficulty in being able to adapt to them at such an alarming rate. More people now than ever, in Western society, are diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  I'd say out of all of those diagnosed, given medication and so on, only a small percentage meet the clinical requirement to be prescribed a drug - some of them use this very website.

      To find some context within this thread, it's no coincidence that the rise in diagnoses of depression and anxiety correlate with such a forceful and rapid shift in cultural expectations, or standards. We're reacting, simply, as consumers to the food we are eating; we're bored of the taste and it makes us feel sick.

      Delusions of grandeur occur for people like you (and me to an extent) when we believe that we're exceptional in the sense that we have been consumers of this society but rather than take "the pill" the doctors prescribe to keep us in line, we believe we are enlightened to the reality of our situation - "this is how the world really is", etc - so choose not to take medication.

      In a Nietzschean sense, those with social anxiety shoot themselves in the foot by justifying their 'illness' by saying, "your society is sh*t therefore I do not wish to be a part of it." - this attitude, I'm afraid, leads to the belief that somehow, in some way, we are better than everybody else. We're not. It's our duty, as self-professed 'enlightened' souls to ask questions, not abuse our enlightenment as a means of driving others to the brink of insanity with our truths.

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    • Posted

      I REALLY DO need to stop coming on this forum venting my anger because I am not in a particularly good place at the moment and its not fair on anybody.

      I do believe there is a significant sinister element to the pharmaceutical industry (and strongly recommended 'The Medical Mafia' by Ghislaine Lanctot) but perhaps I have gone too far? Having said that my ex sister-in-law is a doctors sectetery who has seen her employer leave the office on many occassion with particularly attractive drug company reps but I guess we may have jumped conclusions assuming this may have had any bearing on their prescribing habits?

      I am also sorry for hi-jacking your discussion somewhat with what is probably an out of context rant. Like I said I really do need to stop that (I just see red sometimes and before I know it the mist is settling and I've gone and ruined another thread!)

      I'm actually nervous about going seeing a doctor in the morning because I've gone and convinced myself that they are a bunch of incompetent brainwashed fools with a god complex but I also accept (ironically!) that's how I can come across myself sometimes! 

      I need to balance my views somewhat (or just keep them to myself?) and although your response was not the one I wanted it was quite possibly the one I needed so sorry again (and thanks:-))

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  • Posted

    Well I just got back from the doctors (a new one) and I have to say that she was absolutely fantastic!! Not once did she dismiss my concerns at being on omeprazole for 20 years (she thought it was ridiculous) and was totally sympathetic, nay empathetic when I discussed my depression with her (told me she has suffered with it herself) Has agreed to help me on MY terms (which include me being willing to receive help and advice etc), didn't rush me whatsoever and has booked a series of appointments and tests for both my physical and mental health (have some issues/concerns regarding long term side effects/damage from omepeazole). Very impressed indeed and even a little humbled (although I still have no doubts whatsoever about the nature profit before people nature of Big Pharma.)

    Am just wary of potential labels on the mental health side of things but am feeling less angry and much more optimistic today :-)

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    • Posted

      I guess I saw a correlation between corporate big business, big pharma, corporate mass media, corrupt agenda driven 'theatre' politics (which I truly believe are all connected, not because I am paranoid but because I am paying attention?) etc etc and the way these particularly powerful and influential aspects of 'society' have a fundamental impact on the levels of fear and therefore depression/anxiety, which, the more I think about it, seems like a perfectly reasonable perspective (dare I say 'argument'?) to me? I guess I also added the last post to show how easy it can be to throw the baby out with the bath water etc aand maybe even to add a little optimism?
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  • Posted

    Hello, I dont hardly watch the tv as im depressed enough as it is , I find most of the tv channels and adverts are depressing,I dont own a flat screen tv and I have a cheap mobile so I dont hardly use it ,the adverts say you got to look hot for your man with the products they are trying to sell us but in reality it doesnt really work and I try my best but I feel like part of the furniture,my confidence and self-esteem is low even thou other people say im pretty I dont feel it,ive had councelling,seen different pros ,im on medication , I feel like eveyone is   talking about me,putting me down , i feel like im invisible,I no-longer want to go out and see people, many people bitch about other people behind their backs and thats one of the reasons i get anxious and depressed.
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