SADNESS AND DEPRESSION. HEALTH AND NORMALITY.

SADNESS AND DEPRESSION. HEALTH AND NORMALITY.

I was thinking about the meeting of June 17, about the themes and questions that the students of Grassi High School in Latina proposed in the video and I thought that these kids are not looking for a freedom tout court, they want to “rip the edges wrong” but they are not so much looking for freedom as for self-realization. In fact, they stress the need to feel good, the need to overcome their problems that they recognize with honesty and cleanliness: “The pandemic was needed to make us understand how much we were sick!” We are therefore far from the thought of ’68 in which there was a claim of freedom per se as main purpose worrying if this freedom was supported by a health. Something from 1968 seems to echo in the current debate on sexuality where, in my opinion, there is a huge confusion between the sacrosanct civil rights and the research on mental health. 

To be able to “tear the edges wrong” I think it is essential to clarify some terms that are often used as synonyms but are not synonyms at all, far from it. I am referring, for example, to the confusion between sadness and depression. Sadness is a healthy human reaction to certain life situations while depression is a psychiatric pathology. But health and disease are easily swapped and confused. It has been said that with lockdown there has been a great increase in depressive symptoms, especially among young people. But are we really sure that they were depressive symptoms? Or was it instead a healthy reaction of sadness that that situation imposed? I am not much interested, at this time, to see exactly what it was really about, what seems to me more important now is to emphasize how false is this image of happiness that we want children to represent to us. Being well is by no means a state of permanent happiness. I will say more, knowing how to live sadness, how to hold it and how to face it, is characteristic of those who have a valid Ego, which is not afraid of falling apart if they pause to try to understand and process negative situations. So, I would completely reverse the argument by saying that instead the one who turns the other way, who is constantly looking for fun and relief not to think about their own problems, to throw them behind, they have a weak Ego that feels it will fall apart if they come to terms with their own problems. The one who after being left by the girlfriend, the next day goes to look for another is a boy who is not so well. But this seems to be the image that our society tends to propose to us. And the armed wing of this culture is unfortunately the current Psychiatry that tends to be increasingly oriented in an organic sense having lost almost completely the study, research and interest in psychopathology. Now with DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) the diagnosis of depression is made based on the duration of the symptoms: how long have you been sad? For a month, for three or six? Depending on the time you make the diagnosis. Then, nobody cares about what happened to that poor man. If you are processing the separation from your first love, if you are experiencing a mourning of a fundamental person in your life or if you are sick because you broke a nail, it is irrelevant. Take this pill because you are depressed and you will see that everything will go away! Now if a kid messes up at school is because they have ADHD, no one wonders why they’re pissed off anymore, if they have family problems, with classmates, with their teacher, no it’s ADHD, pills for them so they don’t bother anymore.

Psychiatry must get out of this stalemate in which it finds itself by ceasing to think that science necessarily implies objectification, that is, measurement and quantification, which do not accord with human nature: the human being is made up of thoughts, fantasies, images, affections, desires and all this escapes any attempt of objectification and measurement. Not to mention the unconscious, dreamlike images. And you can be absolutely scientific without having to measure something that by its nature cannot be measured and therefore, if quantified, is automatically altered and denied.

(I recommend anyone who would like to consult our bibliography).

The other two terms that we need to distinguish and that are used synonymously are normality and health. Our kids tell us that they want to cut the edges wrong, that is, they do not want to be normal but certainly do not want to be sick. They understand that health is not synonymous with normality. And they tell us that it is precisely in this normality that the deepest, most existential malaise often lurks. Because in normality there is an idea of settling, of satisfaction, of repetition, of a point of arrival that no longer contains movement. Stop trying and risking flattening yourself in the bleak security of normality. While health, the well-being is not a fixed status but is something that is characterized in dynamic terms, which contains a continuous movement (not to be confused with jogging!), the continuous ability to undermine the existing for the search for greater realization. Personally, I consider normality the most creepy and latent form of depression, something that you can’t even question because “così fan tutte” (“everyone has always done so”). And knowing how to rebel against normality is far from easy, if you do not have broad shoulders you risk high. You must know how to withstand loneliness (at least of thought), the judgment of others, sadness and many other things!

Think about the Italian problem of zero growth. The cause, according to many of our politicians, is in the lack of economic support to families. But is it so difficult to think that today many women believe, breaking the norm, that their realization no longer consists in having children? How many women feel uncomfortable and feel guilty about their choice? 

And so, just to play, if zero growth is so alarming for our country, why do we block black immigrants, who are young and strong? Is it racism? No, absolutely!

Not to mention the women who abort, which in addition to the difficulty of the situation, must undergo a series of judgments that aim to make them feel murderous, as the beautiful letter of Ilaria reminds us.

I think it is time to stop leaving alone these women and all the free people who have to face daily a violent and repressive normality. It is important that we speak about these things competently to allow everyone not to be confused and not to feel guilty, marginalized and crushed by a culture silently suffocating. 

Unfortunately, we face a psychiatry and psychotherapy, which often have as their sole objective the normality. When I hear about psychotherapy as learning techniques, I think that these are good for teaching the dog to bring the stick back to the owner. Now they have set up the bonus psychologist, commendable initiative! Then you check and find out that it provides a maximum of 8 sessions, that is about two months of therapy, so we arrived at the same ratio of the pill wrapped with the human relationship: once these eight meetings are over, don’t bother any longer and go back to be a good guy!

“God, Homeland and Family” are at the doors in our country, the Left is given for dispersed: don’t we want to wake up?

Marco Michelini

Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article

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SADNESS AND DEPRESSION. HEALTH AND NORMALITY.
Credits by: Anete Lusina