Insanity, Depression, and Recessions

Lately, the lack of money in the economy has provided a number of opportunities for me to see things in ways that I had not in years past. All Americans, and likely the rest of the world, is feeling the effects of a global recession in a number of ways. Those effects have lead many to depression, and in some more severe cases, insanity. As a conservative, I wonder what the greater responsibility is to society: fiscal, or social? To counter that, I ask what the greater responsibility is to the individual: fiscal, or mental?

When I was ten, I was institutionalized for insanity. It sounds more dramatic than it actually was. I claimed (falsely) that I’d tried to hang myself, and a psychiatrist responsibly decided to send me to an ‘South County’, an institution in the southern part of Palm Beach County.

The actual institutionalization was pretty educational. Most of the kids I was in there with, were really crazy folks. My roommate tried to kill his mother with a pair of scissors. When some of the long-term residents tried to bully me, one of the crazier residents beat most of them to near death. Within days, I was pleading to go home.

Luckily, I got my wish pretty quick. I spent a grand total of 3 days at ‘South County’. My parents came to visit me on the third day. After pleading to go home, I was released.

For years, I brushed the experience aside. I treated it as a footnote to the end of being in grammar school. But, lately, I wonder if perhaps I should consider it a little more …

Everyone in modernized society has likely felt some effect of the global economic recession of late. That recession has put people in difficult situations, some more than others.

Some folks, are quite able to handle the challenges they face. They perceive life with opportunity, and observe difficulties as mere alterations in their perception of reality. These people represent the best of what our societies have to offer. They are the standard, to which we should all strive.

Other folks, see the challenges they face, as a direct indictment of their character; the only possible result of their own failure. For these people, there are few solutions to the difficulties they face. Most of the solutions, involve a re-assessment of who they are. While this might seem obvious to the best of our societies, the not-so-best of our societies view the difficulties as improbable feats of futility. For those without the belief that they can successfully alter their behavioral patterns, change might sound enticing, but it doesn’t sound like something they can achieve on their own.

A smaller segment of the previously mentioned segment of society, will succumb to this pressure, and lose their sanity. It may sound dramatic, but for each one of us, there is some set of events that will stretch our capacity to absolve and cope, that we will lose our sense of reality. Some of us, will actually go insane from this recession.

I’ve said before, that I think this recession is being prolonged to further a national dependence on federal government. I still believe that the federal government should stay out of our lives, and not intervene in issues of personal despair. The question I still have though, is that for the rest of us: When do WE intervene?

It’s quite likely, if you’re reading this, you know someone who’s on the edge of their own sanity from the pressures they’re under right now. If you see this, and can recognize it, what can you do? Perhaps more importantly; what should you do?

The question is equivalent for the individual: If you know you’re going insane, what should you do to stop it? If your ability to decipher right from wrong, has some tangible decline, when should you stop waiting for someone to help you, and seek help for yourself?

I should make some footnote to the questions I’ve previously asked. Many of us will feel tremendous pressure, and be quite capable (and quite responsible) of finding a solution to their problems. This represents the largest portion of those feeling pressure in the current global recession.

But there are those who are not so capable …

The million dollar question is: Who is capable, and who is not?

I wish I knew.

I can only speak for myself. I can only make presumptions on what I feel, on what I’ve experienced, and what I believe.

Based on this: I believe, that I can fix what I see to be problems in my life. I believe, that I alone can resolve that which causes my family hardship. I believe, with all of my own conviction, that only I can create the reality that I live in. No one, even those with the greatest of intentions, can make my life what I want it to be. That is only my duty to myself, and to my family.

However, I was in the crazy house before …

I believe this argument, strikes at the foundation of what is considered to be left, and right wing philosophies of life. The most exteme  of these philosophies will argue for the justification of the state, vs. the justification of the individual.

The argument for the lack of personal repsonsibility is the argument for the strength of the state. The argument that opposes, argues for the strength of the individual. The de-facto result of these arguments, is the realization of the government we prescribe to.

Our cultures give us clues as to which way our societies lean. The argument for prosecuting people on the premise of what they might do to hurt people, indicates (quite clearly) which way the law will lean.