2622, Age of Adversity|
Posted by Nettrice, Tue Dec-30-03 03:49 AM
I read that a Dr. Klerman, former director of the U.S. Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health coined the term Age of Melancholy to describe our current conditions and he did a couple of studies that showed depression strikes "earlier in life and in unprecedented numbers of people". There is a connection between this and learned helplessness: "Those who suffer as a result of adversity tend to feel helpless, and, in turn, get depressed."
When I was doing research on manic depression (for my mother), I read a book by Patty Duke Astin and she wrote about how her illness was often precipitated by some external event (adversity) and she was more likely to lose control or get ill. Bi-polar, schizophrenia and other related illnesses are chemical imbalances that are controlled by medication but I found that, as a kid observing my mother, she was more manic when she lost her job or couldn't pay her rent. In my young mind, adversity was linked to my mother's moods and I was terrified of change.
Although I am not bi-polar and I do not suffer from any of the chemical imbalances that many folks suffer from I understand that adversity can damage the spirit and peace of mind of anyone. It's not mental illness or inherent. Helplessness can be learned and unlearned. At some point I had to face my terror and either overcome it or give up.