It sounds serious, doesn’t it? Disappointed by Humanity. But I can’t really complain. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I have all that I need. I have food, I have shelter and I have clothing. I have a lot of other things rated on his Hierarchy, so I have little reason to complain. And one thing that has struck me very firmly in the past few days is that a lot of people have it a whole lot worse than me. I have every reason to be thankful.
But I have been thinking recently after saying in recent posts that I have been going through a period of depression. I’m not so sure it is depression after all. It feels a little different from other times, and while I haven’t headed to my doctor to get his opinion (he’s not usually that interested in either my symptoms or in giving his opinion, so why would I waste my money?), I have been thinking it through.
If it’s not depression, then what is it? It could be sadness, and I’m not sure where one draws the line between sadness and depression. But I know that I have been very sad. Day after day. So maybe it’s that.
Then I started thinking about the ‘great’ DSM-V (the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) which came out in May, 2013. I’m not fanatical enough to start wading my way through that but I know there are a few new ‘disorders’ that get a mention in this latest version.
Grief, for example. Some people claim that grief is now a separate disorder in itself, rather than previously be recognised under Major Depressive Disorder. Now there is a two-week cut off. Somehow after two weeks, we are meant to have moved on from our grief, and so I guess anyone still grieving is regarded as having depression. The key indicator in my small search was that “The grieving individual typically maintains the hope that things will get better” I presume that if they switch over that two weeks, then they lose hope and fall into depression. Really? Hmm.
I admit that it is well over two years since my father died suddenly. Yes, I said two years, not two weeks. I still grieve for my father. Right now I am missing him terribly and would love one of his hugs, let alone a long chat about… well, everything. Dad was my best friend. Interestingly he became a better father to me as I became an adult, than when I was a child. As a child he wasn’t there. He was pursing his career, vocation, calling or simply his desire to help people.
I don’t imagine I am going to simply stop grieving for a man who made such a difference in my life. A man who taught me what life was about, and perhaps more importantly, what mattered.
So back to the DSM-V and I admit I’m not sure then, when to diagnose grief or depression in terms of Dad. They don’t make it easy. I guess that’s what doctors are paid for. Not mine though. He’s there to take my blood pressure, ask me how my mother is (also a patient of his) and send me on my way. And no, I’m not in the least bit skeptical and dissatisfied with this ‘service’. And if you believe that, well… another post.
But anyway… I’m still not clear about what is going on for me right now. Until I had this thought… disappointment is a large factor in how I’ve been feeling. I am disappointed by many things, how I get treated sometimes (like doctor’s, for example), disappointed when a friend lies to me, disappointed when I suspect others have been less than truthful with me, disappointed when others don’t treat their animals they way I think they should, disappointed by having a hope and a dream and having it whipped away, disappointed when I see my friends being hurt terribly, disappointed by seeing bureaucracy (manned by people) disregard the needs of residents still trying to recover in a quake damaged city. Yes, I’m disappointed and mostly by humanity. People let me down. They might not let me down personally but the way they act towards either me, or other people/creatures who matter to be lets me down.
My mother always used to tell me that my standards were too high. It was a criticism. Maybe she was right (but please don’t tell her I said that!) but I always thought she should be grateful if her daughter had high standards. I think my father had high standards and that is perhaps where I got it from. But he had the ability to let it go when people disappointed him. He had sufficient compassion to let their humanity be. I don’t find that so easy, and I guess that is one of the things I would dearly love to chat to him about now.
My high standards are about how I treat other people. That’s where I slip up. I’m certainly far from perfect and I too, let people down, but like I said in my last post (I Want To Change The World) , I tend to treat people the way I would want to be treated. Is that so wrong? Surely not.
My only conclusion is that I need the APA to revise their DSM-V again and this time include a new disorder, Disappointed By Humanity. It’s not quite the same as depression, but certainly framed by sadness and a difficult in finding joy in life.
I don’t feel the need to have masses of mental illness diagnoses (although I already have a few to my name) but they are helpful personally to understand exactly what is going on inside this head and heart of mine. Save for a long chat with Dad (which I can’t see is going to happen), this is the only way I can see for moving forward.
“Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest. Our magic moment help us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments — but all of this is transitory it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.”
― Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
- Bereavement Does Not Immunize Against Major Depression (medscape.com)
- I Want To Change The World (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- Letting Go Of Balloons (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)