'Cancel' Culture And Our Mental Health System
Aren’t we all afraid of being ‘cancelled’ once we stood up to the system?!
I’ve been an advocate for innovative therapy to fight against mass-poisoning of our young with the ‘pill’ culture.
My best friend had been brutally ‘cancelled’ going against the big shots involved in fueling the Big Pharma. It’s not my story to tell… But just gives you a perspective of the level of fear associated with stepping up.
So here’s is my personal story to show you why I am so freaking angry and triggered by the topic.
My first husband had been misdiagnosed and mis-prescribed antidepressants and as a result killed himself after spiraling into addiction and severe self-harm.
It all started with him not getting a promotion as a senior high school teacher… Who would have thought that a few sleepless nights would end up killing him in the next 4 years.
First a family doctor casually, after about 5 min of the conversation, prescribed him anti-depressants.
He started taking them and complained about suicidal thoughts… then started drinking a bottle of vodka every night. He was generally a healthy strong man, so he could function pretty well at work and a doctor would not feel alarmed or feeling like the therapy or any further investigation is necessary… I was trained in psychotherapy in my past and felt frustrated with the system. I knew that his behavior wasn’t normal… and just because he doesn’t feel ‘depressed’ doesn’t mean he is ok.
Eventually, 4 years later, he managed to get into therapy, after failing with AA, making several attempts to take his life, being committed, then in the past 6 months dangerously harming himself… yet, no one had looked into why a seemingly harmless event had triggered such a fatal response. BCT did not help him. Changing his medication and diagnosis didn’t help. On the surface he was considered ‘functional’ as he barely took time off work. No one would take his threats seriously… until one day, he died.
The trauma he had left behind was devastating. I was a widow with three young daughters. Honestly, I didn’t know what to tell my 4, 6 and 9 year olds about what had happened. I didn’t want even more trauma than we had to live with. On a personal level I felt so angry and resentful of the system that I didn’t have therapy until about 8 years later.
Two of my older daughters went through the spiral of bi-polar-like symptoms, self-harm and attempted suicides and were very swiftly, again, prescribed heavy mediation. Trial and error method with pills, therapists only trying to ‘manage’ behavior. No talk of trauma, or deeper analysis of their situation.
I went into therapy, hoping to spend some time on dealing with my past grief, become a better parent for my now 5 children, find peace with myself… I ended the therapy process after 5 months - it was a traditional ‘talk therapy’ approach, where I just cried and talked about my feelings and my therapists sat silently and took notes for 50 min straight. The first and the last sentence he said out loud was; “Lira, I will miss our sessions’.
Stories like mine are, unfortunately, typical.
Only in US 14% of high school students had made a suicide attempt in the past 12 months. That is a full classroom for a tiny average school. (These stats were published before the pandemic, BTW).
A few years back in one of the best schools in Massachusetts 5 students overdosed in the year my daughter became a freshmen there. This is a school that produces the most Eve League students in the area. The pressure is high, drugs pass hands, syringes in the bathroom, sexual assaults, bulling… I heard about it first hand.
With time nothing had changed… only got worse.
So, yes, I am enraged.
So, yes, I am grieving.
Would I ever feel like ‘accepting’ the status quo?
I hope, not.
As an adult, I understand, that it might be naive to go against the system with my own personal story.
Bigger sharks had been shut down. (Just look at our latest global pandemic response and where we are all ending up now!)
But I had done my part with training coaches and healers who are tired of the existing mental health system failing people. I promote competence and effectiveness of self-help methods.
Regularly I deal with an imposter syndrome, scared of being misunderstood. Scared of being given a bigger platform to speak my message.
Who am I to take down the system?! Who am I to ask questions?!
But I do what I can.
And, I know, we are stronger together.
My hope is that our next generation therapists won’t be so readily selling out for the Big Pharma referral fees and actually get competent at treating people. Really, bloody, make an effort. Most of them have a HUGE heart, but don't know what they can do.
Licensing and regulations, as well as Yelp review system, makes them compliant to the strict 'rules' and 'regulations'. They are afraid of taking responsibility and being sued. Sending kids (and adults) to a psychiatrist is considered the safest. So they continue doing that.
But what about taking a risk and having faith in the traditional therapy methods, that now seem so outlandish and innovative?
What about independent thinking?
What about the integrity?
Is it too much to ask?!
Doing therapy is work. It aren’t glamorous most of the time. In fact, it is painful and messy.
I understand it’s not what the consumer wants. Pills are faster and easier to give… but aren’t we shooting ourselves in a foot with this superficial approach to healing mental issues? Aren’t we going to end up with a generation of addicts, anxious and depressed due to their attitude and a life style, who never learned about healing trauma, about emotional mastery, healthy thought habits or personal responsibility?
Bringing up ‘puppets’, or the ‘work force’, or ‘the army of consumers’ sounds like a great idea for somebody who’s benefitting from it.. but it’s probably aren’t you. So why do you comply?
Let’s change it!
Let’s think together how.
Let’s not stop until the mental health system, psychotherapy education and policies truly shift for the better.
Our future is at stake.
Life of your child is at stake.
Your old age is at stake, if you need a better reason.
How would you contribute?
About the Author
Lira Kay is the world's leading expert in innovative therapeutic methodologies.
Her work is focused on creating seamless but highly effective processes and systems for high performance, therapy and healing. Lira’s been called a secret weapon behind sanity and phenomenal breakthroughs of many celebrated transformational leaders, elite coaches and creative entrepreneurs.
Learn more about her work