By Kenneth Justice
“I woke up one day and realized that I spent all week looking forward to Friday night. With 52 weeks in the year I was basically being grumpy and crotchety for 260 days every year” he said
~ At coffee recently I met a mid-fortyish dude who wasn’t late for work. Actually, the truth of the matter is that he was late but he didn’t care.
We’d been sitting next to each other, both lost in our own personal reading when a young woman came into the coffee shop rushing up to the counter, “I’m so late” said the young woman, “I need a coffee fast, I have a meeting in ten minutes” she said in a stressed tone.
“I used to be like that every day of my life” the stranger said to me, “I was working in the financial sector and was always stressed out, always rushing from one meeting to the next and even though part of me enjoyed the work; I was always exhausted” he said
“I went to see a doctor and she suggested that I be put on a drug for anxiety and I even went to the pharmacy and had the prescription filled. I remember getting home that night and I put the bottle of pills on my bathroom counter, I sat and stared at it and knew that the problem didn’t have anything to do with my mental health; it had to do with my life style” he said
It turns out that after 15 years working in a highly competitive field he had enough, “It dawned on me one day that I was never actually living during the week; I was merely responding to whatever work crisis had to be taken care of at the moment. I woke up one day and realized that I spent all week looking forward to Friday night”
He went to the bookstore one afternoon and found a book about distressing your life, “The first decision I made was to no longer live only for Friday; I wanted to start enjoying every day of the week” he said, “I make a little bit less money now, but I downsized my life by getting a smaller house, smaller car, and I cut all my expenses in half. Now I can sit here at coffee a little bit longer and chat with strangers like yourself or simply read the newspaper” he said
For the last couple days I’ve been writing about stress and mental illness. There have been a lot of comments from readers and fellow bloggers that have talked about the subject from many different angels…..and that is good. We need more dialogue on this subject because for too long the conversation has been controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.
If you don’t believe me, look up the data on how much money the big drug companies spend on wining-and-dining medical researchers in organizations like CME; it’s in the billions. Pharmaceutical rep’s take CME researchers on ski vacations, cruise around the world, and much more. The conflict of interest in medical research for mental health is reprehensible……and we have allowed these people (the Pharmaceutical companies) to entirely control the conversation on what kind of pills little Johnny should take to help him focus better in his elementary class.
The simple fact of the matter is that the way we do life in the Western World isn’t the most desirous when it comes to mental health;
—) regimented work days with very little off time throughout business hours
—) long hours at computers, or sitting at a desk in positions that aren’t always the most ideal for the human body
—) too much time spent sitting isolated in automobiles
There are a myriad of examples I could list about the problems with Western World and this past week I’ve barely scratched the surface. And while I am not against taking drugs when they are needed; I believe we need to first look at our lives and reorganize them in such a way to surround ourselves with the best opportunity at positive mental and emotional health.
A few of the comments I’ve received this week have been very critical of my perspective, and I appreciate opposing views. It’s only through back-and-forth dialogue that we can arrive at positive conclusions. However, something my detractors should remember is that the current conversation on pharmaceutical drugs and mental health is imbalanced. There are not enough Kenneth Justice’s out there questioning what is going on in the Western World.
—-) If you have a problem with what I’ve said this past week; then why don’t you have a problem with the Pharmaceutical companies spending billions of dollars wining-and-dining medical researchers?
—-) If you have a problem with what I’ve said this past week; then why don’t you have a problem with the Pharmaceutical companies spending billions of dollars on television and radio commercials in which they manipulate the public to purchase their drugs?
I don’t spend even $10 manipulating anyone……actually I don’t even spend a penny. To put it quite simply, I’m just a simple dude who enjoys a good conversation over a great cup of coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society