Of course, everyone wants to know why! But do we really want to know why?
Are we a society that wants to know why? Do we want to know why one out of two marriages end in divorce? Do we want to know why two out of three SECOND marriages end in divorce? Do we want to know why there are frequently as many abortions as there are live births in this country? Do we want to know why, if a baby is born alive due to a “botched” abortion, the doctors are legally instructed to kill the baby? (Think what’s going on with men and women!!) Do we want to know why autism has gone from one in 1000 children to one in 88? Do we want to know why young girls are becoming sexually active as early as 11?!! Do we want to know why there is a heroin, oxycotin, oxycodone epidemic amongst our young people here on Long Island where they supposedly “have everything”. Do we know why more and more people are on prescription medications? Or why sexual assault is skyrocketing in our more prestigious military schools? I don’t know if we’re ready to know why. For those that are, this is for you.
We constantly see ads on TV that tell us that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders are all caused by some type of chemical imbalance or perhaps brain disorder. In other words, that we are born with defective brains and will have to be on psychotropic medications for the rest of our lives. Pretty good deal for the drug companies, huh? In other words, we are born inferior. That’s a road to inferior races and we’ve been there before. Perhaps, the answer is emotional conditioning. I’ll explain further.
Let’s take the issue of SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). The classification of drugs that alledgedly treat anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, and all types of impulse disorders. Sound too good to be true? You bet it is!
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials where people are suffering from a lack of serotonin. They take these anti-depressants and they return to their former happy selves. This is truly a bunch of nonsense! The truth is that these medications frequently work for a few months and become ineffective over time. What happens then? Will they go back to their psychiatrists or medical doctors? Well, guess what happens. They say “well, let’s raise the dose of the medication. Let’s add this medication…” and so begins an endless search for the perfect dose, drug or combination thereof. These mental health practitioners like myself have a consultation with a new patient complaining of anxiety and depression and they have been on all sorts of medications for years. Not only that, some of them have not been in a talk therapy before. This occurs in spite of the research that says that medication AND talk therapy is the best combination.
Talk therapy is what is needed to bring about an emotional reconditioning. In other words, we are all taught things by our parents. Some good things, and some negative things. But, if we have parents that don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, how in the world can they teach us to deal with ours. Depressed parents, angry parents, disconnected parents, addicted parents, etc. by definition will produce children similar to themselves. Not because its genetic but because behavior is learned. If you don’t believe this, investigate identical twin studies. If one twin becomes alcoholic, does the other necessarily? No. If one becomes schizophrenic, must the other also? No. If one becomes highly anxious, does the other? No. In fact, there is a well-known dynamic called “the good twin/bad twin syndrome”. The basis of this seems to be that one infant is easier to soothe than the other. So guess what happens? You were irritated since the moment you were born! Perhaps physiologically at first, but then reinforced emotionally and psychologically which the parents comfort and soothe the “good twin” first.
So again let’s get back to the question, why? I believe the answer is that we are in the midst of a mental health crisis in this country. We have gotten to a place where we do not want to take responsibility for the children we are having. It has now beome common place for people to simply assume that someone else will be raising their babies. It is now acceptable to put a 3 or 4 month old baby in daycare for as much as 40 or 50 hours per week. Why have a baby?? Does anyone remember the concept of the mother/infant bond?? Does anyone observe the behavior of infants anymore? How about the baby is crying uncontrollibly and the father, or aunt or grandmother tries to comfort the baby to no avail. Then the mother comes over and within seconds the baby calms down. Why does this happen? Because the baby feels safe, secure, comfortable and totally in tune and connected to the mother. The most intense emotional conditioning takes place during the first 6 months of life. During this time, the baby learns if and how it’s needs will be taken care of. Will the baby be responded to? How will it be responded to? Will it be unconditionally loved and comforted? Or will it be met with feelings of overwhelmed irritation? The baby learns whether it’s needs will be met or not. And it learns what kind of feelings will it be exposed to in life. Do you think someone working in daycare for $9/hour, who is probably “caring” for a least 5 other children, babies, etc. gives a crap about the emotional well-being of your baby? If you do, you are quite naive.
The mother/infant bond cannot be substituted for. Not by grandma, not by an aunt, and certainly not by daycare. A baby is not born to be colicky. It is not born to constantly cry and scream. It is not born to be hyperirritated and overwhelmed. It should be born to be cherished by it’s mother and father. Mothers are special. They have the capacity to bond and connect with their babies, like no one else. The fathers role is to love and support his wife, and help her to be the best mother she can be. This most definitely includes making her feelings the most important issue while she is pregnant, which facilitates an emotional regression. This regression is in the service of helping her to be in touch with her own vulnerability which helps her to bond and connect to the vulnerable tiny infant she is about to have.
Now I understand the economic realities. But I also have seen a number of cases where when the woman has an opportunity to stay home with their babies for 6 months, they find it very difficult to go back to work. They are experiencing the mother/infant bond and do not want to damage it. In a number of cases, these women find a way to work less hours, work from home, etc. Once they experience the power and importance of the mother/infant bond, they want it to continue. All mental health issues relate back to aberration of bonding, fusion and an ability to connect. If there are levels of irritation, depression, lack of connection, anger, rage, etc. the baby picks up on these feelings. In later life, this original aberration of bonding leads to fears of intimacy and connection.
And what do we typically see in these horrible shootings? We see young men that are described as weird, strange, anti-social, quiet, etc. In other words, they do not trust other people. They do not expect good things in relationships, and as a result, they isolate themselves and the rage builds.
But, you see people would much rather believe that we are dealing with a chemical imbalance, a brain disorder or perhaps a problem due to a vaccination!! They do not want to know that children are simply the product of a marriage. As a mental health practitioner, I see this day after day. An angry marriage produces angry kids. A depressed marriage produces depressed kids. A disconnected marriage produces disconnected kids. An overwhelmed marriage produces overwhelmed, anxiety-ridden kids. Some people are willing to face the truth, but many are not. I hope you can face the truth in your life. There are patterns in our lives, that we must face. If we do not, we will simply continue the mistakes that our parents made.
How many young people today are frightened or negative about getting married? How may young people do not want to have children? How may people suffer from fears of intimacy whereby when they have a chance to be in love, they push away or run away? They push away because love and bonding is something that is foreign to them. Therefore, it produces anxiety. People seek the emotionally familiar. They do not necessarily seek out what is best for them. This is why we say “love is blind”. Love is not blind. It is simply people being attracted to the opposite sex for the wrong reasons. This is really the explanation for people being in an abusiver or negligent relationships. The feelings are familiar to them.
Mental health treatment should be more accessible. It should be treated as a medical necessity. How much research do we need to have to be convinced that there is a connection between stress, anxiety and immune system functioning, between stress and heart disease, between stress and missing work or marriages ending? The sad truth is that when mental health is covered by insurance companies, they do everything they can to interfere with the treatment. Some beurocrat is paid to make judgements about a patient they have never met. They decide how often a patient can be seen. They decide ultimately how long treatment will last. Their job is to save the insurance company money. Therefore, if a patient is making progress, he no longer needs treatment. If the patient continues to have emotional difficulties, then treatment is not working and therefore should not be reimbursed. You could save a lot of money eliminating these beurocrats. Do you really believe that people go into therapy that do not need it?
Believe me, people frequently end therapy prematurely. They don’t continue treatment because it is unnecessary. People rarely continue to be in treatment if it is truly unnecessary. There is far more risk involved if treatment is ended too soon as opposed to going on for “too long.” When treating a drug addict, the prevailing thought is, “once a drug addict, always a drug addict.” The possibility for relapse exists until the patient is dead and gone. I believe this philosophy needs to apply to emotional difficulties as well. Lets not put parameters on one’s emotional stability. Let a therapeutic relationship develop naturally, be patient, changing someone at their core takes time. Lets be healthy America, lets think differently.
Written by Daniel G. Raffaele, LCSW & Matthew D. Raffaele, LMSW