You are in a pit. You have your trusty old ladder. You try to get out, but it hurts too much so you stop. You don’t really know why it hurts. It just always has. Somebody offers you a pill. You take it. You feel like you are not in a pit, but you are still in a pit, it just feels a bit better. One day you wake up and decide to look closer at your old ladder. You see that one rung is sharp and has been cutting you every time you use it. You also notice that it does lead out of the pit, it just needs some work. You work on your ladder. You climb your ladder. You get out of your pit.
We need to get back our hunger for Truth. Truth is the way we define and relate to Reality. Our relationship with Reality determines our mental wellbeing. Our reliance on drugs rather than Truth to help us find Reality is a flawed practice.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) demonstrates this. CBT facilitates and teaches one to take stock of ones thoughts, measuring them, and experiment with them, to find true and helpful beliefs. Studies have found that 80% of people with social anxiety find CBT helpful. In contrast only 30% find medication helpful.
In the backlash against modernism, which was too often tied with in abusive use of knowledge and power, we have turned to social constructionism which defines Truth as what we decide it is together, rather than something that reflects reality. We needed the reminder that our understanding of reality is limited by our humanity, but disregarding Reality has left us unwell.
In an age that’s moving from social constructionism into a digitally constructed database of ‘truth’ it’s time to take stock and learn from Big Data and turn again to see what Truth might have to tell us about the nature of Reality and move towards mental wellbeing.
That doesn’t mean we move back to rationalism, we can learn from our mistakes and realise science doesn’t answer all the questions, but using our brains well can certainly help. This means we will need to find a healthy balance between acknowledging our feeling and engaging our brains, and we need to do this intentionally. This will help us be well.
The mindfulness movement has been a great help in reminding us to notice our feelings and thoughts but not necessarily take them too seriously, but I don’t think we should stop there. We still need to seek truth and while we should let some thoughts go, sometimes we do need to dispute some of the rubbish we tell ourselves and tell ourselves the truth.
Apps like ThinkLadder are a great start. The self awareness that we gain from acknowledging our drivers, our feelings and needs is also essential. Quick frankly, I’m tired of the sudo science (big pharma?) that’s driven much of the strategy for mental wellbeing in New Zealand. It’s hurting us and it’s time for us to smarten up.
Our consciousness is our toolkit. Our minds are our ladders. Let get out of our pits!
Take care out there,
P.S. What are your thoughts?