It’s not that people don’t expect to be distressed or even depressed, but that many think society will not wait for them to heal. They do not want to hold back a high-performing team. They complain that they do not have proper coverage in their jobs or their medical insurance for grief. They cannot afford the time off work, or they have little social support and so are open to pharmacological assistance. Others say that in a tight market they fear what will happen to their jobs if they take a prolonged leave.
Such expectations may say more about our culture than about the experts who developed DSM-5 or the psychiatrists who will use it. As one colleague has remarked, “Which doctor these days is going to say to someone who is depressed, grieving, and asking for antidepressants, ‘Go off and be distressed. It will be good for you’? ”
I would tend to agree. There's an historical precedent for what's happening - look to the labour movement that accompanied the rise of the Industrial Economy. We're entering the Knowledge Economy now, but applying outdated methodologies to this new model. It clearly isn't working.
It's time to reevaluate whether we've identified the right problem. The solution, I think, will take many by surprise.
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