Thank you, Linda, for this honest article. I've recently gotten back on medication from a long stint of going without. The spilt(s) of self I'm experiencing are probably my greatest source of frustration. I'm obsessed with the consistency of my identity, like a person checking a mirror every morning to see if her face has changed overnight. I'm frustrated to have to spend the bulk of each session filling in my therapist about which days I felt what, and though I'm encouraged not to phrase it this way, I find myself describing days based on whether I felt "like myself" or not. Adding medication adds one more factor affecting whether or not I feel "like myself." The goal of my therapy (CBT and psychopharmacology) doesn't seem to be the preservation of my "self," but the preservation of "myself." When faced with suicidal ideation, loss of impulse control or psychosis, I tend to share this goal. It's once the medication starts working enough to rule those as non-issues that dissatisfaction sets in. I want to have it all — a stable mind, a healthy lifestyle, a coherent identity, a clear head — don't we all? The goals of therapy could definitely use some expanding to include more goals outside of the bare minimum "functionality," but I'm trying to understand my situation as the author sees hers — one of challenges and gifts. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but wherever I end up, I want to be me. I don't think it's too much to ask.
I don't take much solace in libertarianism, which I believe is a dangerous trend. If anything, as the young "own" things, they tend to get more conservative. In my generation, the hippies into sex, drugs and rock and roll became Reaganites once they owned a house and paid taxes. They still distrusted government, but from the opposite side of the political spectrum.The nature of libertrianism is that it can be unmoored. How can one predict where it will go therefore? However, I can say that as the right has embraced it, we have seen the general welfare of our society get worse for most Americans and wealth and power grow more condensed. The solutions of the past such as the social contract and social activism of religious groups is nothing compared to what it once was. I am far from "my country right or wrong". But I am very much a partisan for my country and our society. I tremble for both should all most Americans care about are "me, myself and I". There was a famous book that referred to "Entertaining Ourselves to Death". That is a sad substitute to engaged citizenry which our founding fathers knew was the basis for both a fully functioning democracy and a healthy society. "Leave me and everyone else alone" may push the right away now. It could push the left away later if the demands upon the self to belong to something bigger than self become unwelcome from that corner as well. Self-interest may not always be enlightened. The last 35 years have proven that one.
For people who allege to be understanding of the nature of public policy, they have a stunning contempt for the process that forms our republican form of democracy.A careful reading of the documents surrounding the ratification efforts of our Constitution clearly point to the understanding of the authors that the process of governance should be one of consensus, not executive fiat.To that end, the balanced the executive with the legislative branch, and against them both, the judiciary.The legislature was divided intentionally into two bodies, one that would represent the conservative, slow to change interests of the Sovereign States, and one that would represent the more volatile interests of The People.That balance has served us well for now for more than two centuries. The tension between the branches is both healthy and essential to the maintenance of our republic.In times of political division, as there exists today, the limitations on governance are the safeguard that assures that governance remains by consensus, not by the political abuse of the mechanisms for it.Barack Obama's administration has become a clear example as to why governance is so far more difficult than campaigning. And Barack Obama's administration has become a clear sign that our Constitution is working as it was intended.
Dr. Sigmund Freud had it right about human nature. He was been rejected by modern psychologists because psychoanalysis proved less than effective. But his postulate that we are born with a primitive self, called the id, which is a predatory, selfish, mean nasty and beautiful self [not God's image at all] and in the first five years of life, we either absorb or fail to be moved by a set of societal norms (he called it superego, moderns would call it civilization or socialization) which crystallizes at about that time as an ego, or "self" - healthy if civilized, unhealthy if not.The 'gun nuts' are neither crazy nor stupid, but they are flawed in that they did not absorb the part of our society that believes that we are justified in destroying any one or thing that annoys us. They are not immoral, either: their morality is just different from those of us who are not gun nuts.The world contains very violent and very gentle people, each one of which believes passionately and throughout his or her life that he or she is correct in the way they believe life SHOULD be lived.So, we will always have wars and crime. Always. In every country. But passing laws does not always work: Prohibition engendered drunkenness because it criminalized social drinking. Criminalization of gun ownership would probably backfire in a similar fashion, but strict regulation of ownership would likely be effective, but no one would notice.We have, sadly, bigger problems to solve in our world.
The problem is we've become too selfish, and for this we can thank the liberals who started the self-loving movement in the 60s then took over our school systems and filled the minds of each successive generation with the self-esteem claptrap, "the whole world revolves around me and my feelings". Our grandparents didn't have date nights, nor contrived romance after 20 years of marriage, yet they stay married, grew old together, took care of each other and raised a family together. Without them none of us would be here. Sadly many who became parents in the 60s got sucked into the self-loving hippie movement, think the world revolves around them and their individual happiness and satisfaction, children be damned. Many end up with unhappy, dysfunctional marriages, divorces, and the children grow up equally selfish and care less because that's how they were raised. This is why our society is falling apart. People no longer believe in being selfless, we are too concern with our selfish wants and needs and feelings, expecting instant gratification. It takes selflessness from both parents to raise healthy, happy, successful children. Parents who understand selfless love share a common goal and commitment to their children and to each other, raise selfless children who grow up to appreciate them and take care of them when they get old. Selfish parents raise selfish children, and the toxic cycle continues for generations on end.
There is no comparison between white experience and black experience. We have two worlds. The white one is dominant, and therefore has something to lose (or so many white people believe). In a general sense, white culture retains its dominance by not seeing the inequity and making endless excuses (even citing various statistics) for it, usually including blaming black culture.What is strikingly largely missing from the dialogue is the compassion that arises from waking up to the inequity on the part of whites. Columns such as yours help, but it is very hard to get members of the dominant culture to open their eyes to their contribution toward the situation. A belief in scarcity is part of it. Instead of believing the world would benefit by ending the prejudice and oppression of others, many dominant members believe they stand to lose something. It's a fear-based approach. I see it all through the comments. This is one of the core issues that must be addressed if change is to happen in a healthy manner.As a woman, I can empathize with other groups, at least somewhat, about how oppression can ravage your life, remove opportunities. It is completely true that women must work much harder to achieve the same things men take for granted. It's not hard, once you understand your own one-down situation, to extend understanding to others. We simply must keep it all in view, not let go. Perhaps in another generation or two...
This article is fantastic and disturbing. One thing that bothered me about it though is its focus on whether or not a proper diagnosis was made. I think this is a secondary issue. Psychiatric drugs have a vastly underestimated potential to cause adverse affects, both short and long-term, regardless of whether the patient has received the proper diagnosis. That is, these drugs are not antidotes, they create abnormal brain and body states rather than correct them. This is what makes Katz's assertion at the end so backwards. Both the veridical and the self-exaggerated patient are at risk for addiction, insomnia, psychosis, etc. from adderral, not to mention the sea of other prescriptions that Fee cycled through, by virtue of their creating these abnormal states. Certainly the most absurd idea is that a psych drug would be somehow physiologically inert in a healthy individual. By that logic, street drugs, alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, would have no effect in most people because they don't 'need' them to counteract whatever properly diagnosed condition.This story demonstrates how such backwards logic leads to misplaced trust in pharmaceuticals. This in turn has led to thoughtless overprescribing, which magnifies risks and leads to tragedies such as this. If I had received Katz's answer as Mr. Fee did, I would have been inclined to do more than tremble quietly.
You agree that t 'lower income' people spend less time talking to their children. With the large number of people unemployed (many of those 'low income' people), one would think that they would have time to spend with their children. There is no excuse for those who do not work. Evidently, they just don't want to interact with their children. So, now, geniuses want the government to provide what responsible parents have always done. The children should not be penalized for negligent parents, and, to leave these children in those homes is terrible. Forced sterilization is a taboo subject, and I would never vote for it, but, it certainly would solve a lot of problems. Instead, I would recommend that any child born to a family which has been on welfare for more than 2 years should be put into an orphanage-like institution. Yes, I know of all the drawbacks and there would be individual exceptions. However, I am old and grew up with kids in orphanages--they were healthy, well fed, clean, happy, and well-adjusted. They were staffed by paid personnel, had a nurse on duty, and volunteers helped with children of all ages (they had volunteer tutors for schoolwork). Would this be expensive? Yes, but I would pay for it, as would the money saved by not giving it to the welfare mothers.What do the 2nd Amendment, defending the U.S., and faith have to do with this problem? Less education--what does that even mean? The Repubs wanted to close tax loopholes, and Obama said, "No!"
Rape is shameful and horrible. I cringe and feel empty just thinking about how rape and abuse destroy otherwise healthy and happy lives. Men especially need to learn more empathy. Yet while victims should never be blamed or prevented from coming forward, it is also true that many men's lives have been destroyed by false or malicious accusation. Just as victims are often reluctant to come forward for fear they will be blamed, so too are the accused often viewed as automatically guilty. No man accused can ever shake the lingering suspicion from others that he did it. Yet it is an error to pretend that women aren't angry, or jealous, or would never seek revenge by falsely accusing a man of harassment, assault or rape. And since victims define the conditions of sexual abuse (and can alter those definitions willy nilly) we all bear a responsibility to understand the stakes on each side--perpetrators must be stopped, but accusers must understand that accusation is ALWAYS equal to guilt in the public mind (if not always in the legal system).
I salute Ms. Engel for her honesty and for her clear desire to do the right thing. As the mother of a 32-year-old whose life is going well, I'm well aware that none of us has ultimate control over the direction of our own lives, let alone the lives of our children. As the saying goes (and many of these comments illustrate), "life happens." I lost a daughter when I was 43 and she was 19. Coping with Maya's death - and the inevitable re-evaluation of my parenting - taught me a lot. "Letting go" takes on a whole new dimension when it is suddenly forced on you.With my surviving daughter, I was very careful to extend more independence than (at times) I felt comfortable with because I did not want her to suffer any more than she already had because of her sister's death. Happily, Meghan used that freedom (accompanied by plenty of structure) to stretch her wings in healthy ways. I'm not of the school that parenting ends when our kids reach some "magic age," be it 18 or 21. It is a lifetime commitment. But it changes over time.I've learned to offer advice only when it's asked for and with lots of caveats. But I am always available to listen, to share in my daughter's family life when invited, and to enjoy my granddaughter. I feel privileged to have a loving relationship with my grown, and now only, child. Whatever I suffered as a mother has been more than amply repaid with the joy of watching my adult daughter and her family flourish.