The Fifth Commandment (March 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:48
March 3, 2001 The Fifth Commandment The Fifth Commandment does not simply direct us to honour our parents but contains a threat. ‘Honour thy father and mother so that thy days will be long in the land.’ Criticise your parents and you’re dead. In an authoritarian society children had to be taught to respect a person in a position of authority because that person was in that position and irrespective of the attributes of that person. An abusive parent merited the same respect as a kind, loving parent. The Fifth Commandment has made a major contribution to human misery. If you believe that to review critically and dispassionately certain events in your childhood which involved your parents you prevent yourself from discovering that some of the conclusions you drew from those events were wrong. When your mother told you that fire would burn you, you soon discovered that she was right. When she told you that you were wicked and useless, you decided that this must also be true, and so you grew up believing that you were intrinsically bad and unacceptable. In adult life you cannot enjoy good relationships with other people because you fear that they will discover…

Depression Two (Feb 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:48
February 13, 2001 DEPRESSION TWO Alice wrote to me to tell me how much she had been helped by counselling and by my books, but she added, ‘I understand now why I get depressed, and I’ve really tried to change, but I can’t make myself feel good about myself. I tell myself I’m valuable and all that, but deep down I know I’m not. What can I do?’ Believing that you are, in essence, bad and unacceptable is absolutely central to depression. If this is how you feel about yourself then, when you suffer a disaster, you blame yourself and think that you are even more wicked and unacceptable than you had realised. Doing this you cut yourself off from other people, from society and nature, from your past and your future, and thus, inadvertently, create the prison of depression. The key to this prison is to come to see yourself as valuable and acceptable, but many people have great difficulty is finding this key. No matter how much they suffer, they cannot bring themselves to believe that they are, in essence, valuable and acceptable. So, to find the key to the prison of depression you might need some help.…

Depression One (Feb 2001)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:47
February 12, 2001 DEPRESSION ONE Lewis Wolpert, the scientist who wrote about his own depression in his book Maligant Sadness, and I were taking part in a television discussion about depression. The producer had hoped that Lewis and I would disagree, but when I began talking about how being depressed is far, far worse than having a physical illness Lewis nodded his head furiously and said, ‘Yes, yes, absolutely.’ Lewis had had more than his share of physical illnesses, but he was in doubt that being depressed was his worst experience. The fact that being depressed is so terrible makes the news about increasing rates of depression so very serious. Depression is certainly better diagnosed than it was in past years, and more people, especially men, are prepared to admit that they are depressed, but the increasing numbers of adults and children who describe themselves as being stressed at work and at school suggest that there is a real increase in the incidence of depression. We can turn stress very easily into depression by blaming ourselves for our misery. A World Health Organisation report in 1999 showed that in Europe and America depression is the second greatest cause of death…

Women and Depression (Sept 1998)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:47
You: Mail on Sunday 13th September 1998 Women and Depression Libby Purves is one of the nicest, friendliest, most cheerful, most attractive, most competent and hard working women I know. She combines very successfully the roles of wife, mother, friend, career woman with many outside interests, something that many women nowadays try to do. I'm sure that when she was a little girl everyone must have loved her because she was so nice, friendly, cheerful, pretty and good. However, I didn't know that Libby had been through what so many women - good women - go through, the experience of being depressed. Libby knew what unhappiness was. She'd encountered loss and disappointment. But depression was quite different. Life had no colours but grey, and she hated herself. Kate made the same discovery. Like Libby she had good friends she could always turn to. When she and her first boyfriend split up and later when she missed out on a job she wanted she poured her heart out to her friends. They listened and told her she was wonderful and would always be successful, and she felt greatly comforted. But when the doctors told her she could never conceive a child…

Sex Changes (March 1997)

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:46
19th March 1997 Sex Changes It's ideas, not things, that change the world. The mechanics of sex stay the same, generation after generation, but what changes are the ideas we have about sex. I was born into a society where the dominant idea about sex was that it was secret. Men might talk privately to one another about sex, but they didn't talk about it to women, and women, that is, good women, didn't talk about sex at all. A really good woman didn't even think about sex. My mother, my aunts and my teachers all behaved as if sex didn't exist, or, if it did exist, it was something no teenage girl needed to know anything about. This idea governed what we were taught at school. When I was in my final year at the Girls' High School in Newcastle, Australia, one of the set texts for the matriculation exams was Shakespeare's The Tempest. The particular text which my class of very bright sixteen years old girls was given was one from which all unseemly words and actions had been removed. We read the text through in class and our teacher, the English mistress, set us an essay about…
04/12/07 - Health section By VICTORIA LAMBERT The death of her mother left Janet Grange devastated. The teacher, who lives in Swanage, Dorset, couldn't stop crying, sleep was impossible and she became anxious about her own health. Her GP was very helpful; after a quick verbal test, he said she was suffering from depression and prescribed antidepressants. Janet's experience was far from unique - last year doctors wrote 31 million prescriptions for the drugs - a six per cent rise in two years. Meanwhile, estimates about the numbers affected by depression have also risen, to as many as one in 12 people. Depression, it seems, has become an - epidemic. Or has it? A new book by two leading psychiatrists suggests that more of us are not depressed, rather that doctors are turning sadness - a normal human emotion - into a disease. Furthermore, they argue, sadness is not a 'bad' state that needs treating, but can actually be good for us. The authors - Allan Horwitz, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, and Jerome Wakefield, professor of social work at New York University - argue that while genuine depression undoubtedly needs medical attention, somehow every other sort of normal…