So, if calling him crazy isn’t right what is? Is there anything that can be said which is both correct and doesn’t play into his hands?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, the United States is clinically insane. Proof: “Pizzagate” claims that Democratic operatives placing orders at Comet Ping Pong were actually using code to talk about underage prostitutes.
In the past something this bizarre would simply be comedic fodder, but now it’s taken as truth to the point that someone would show up at Comet Ping Pong with an assault rifle to “self-investigate”. This country needs counseling and possibly medication.
We may think that job-related burnout is a modern affliction, but it’s been a recognized condition since the ancient Greeks and is mentioned in the Old Testament. Still, there’s something about modern life that causes more of us to be affected by it.
A walk in the country or a week on the beach should, theoretically, provide a similar sense of relief. But such attempts at recuperation are too often foiled by the nagging sense of being, as one patient put it, “stalked” by the job. A tormenting dilemma arises: keep your phone in your pocket and be flooded by work-related emails and texts; or switch it off and be beset by unshakeable anxiety over missing vital business. Even those who succeed in losing the albatross of work often quickly fall prey to the virus they’ve spent the previous weeks fending off.
Burnout increases as work insinuates itself more and more into every corner of life – if a spare hour can be snatched to read a novel, walk the dog or eat with one’s family, it quickly becomes contaminated by stray thoughts of looming deadlines. Even during sleep, flickering images of spreadsheets and snatches of management speak invade the mind, while slumbering fingers hover over the duvet, tapping away at a phantom keyboard.
One reason it’s different now is our always-on connection to the Internet, social media and apps that measure our steps, calories and sleep. As the article says, “The burnt-out case of today belongs to a culture without an off switch.”
In the past decade or so there’s been growing realization of the importance of the bacteria that lives in our intestinal tract. Mostly it’s been focused on digestive issues, but some have long claimed that they also effect our mental health. The US National Institute of Mental Health commissioned a study on that aspect and they’re presenting the evidence for that link in a symposium next week. There are still some questions, of course, but it should at least open the way for further study and potential treatments for mental health issues that don’t seem to respond to conventional measures.
If you believe that someone who is depressed is always sad or mopey and especially if you’ve ever told someone who seemed down to “just cheer up”, you need to read Dave Girard’s Harnessing depression: One Ars writer’s journey.