New World Library is pleased to be partnering with The en*theos Academy for Optimal Living to give away three free downloads of an 8-week Infinite Meaning class by bestselling author Dr. Eric Maisel that touches on concepts from his new book, Rethinking Depression: How to Shed Mental Health Labels and Create Personal Meaning. The winners will also receive a free copy of the book.
Entering this Rethinking Depression Contest is easy! Simply go here for more information and to fill out the entry form by Friday, March 23rd. Our three lucky winners will be selected by drawing and notified shortly thereafter.
Here’s an excerpt from Rethinking Depression to give you a sense of Dr. Maisel’s approach and message:
Cracking the Depression Code
Human beings experience unhappiness. The typical person experiences unhappiness not only for all the usual reasons — that his teeth sometimes ache, that his job is relentlessly stressful, that his family life is no white-picket-fence heaven, and so on — but also because, as a modern person, he can’t maintain the illusion that his place in the universe is particularly exalted. His life produces unhappiness, and his understanding of his place in the universe produces its own poignant unhappiness.
The former he is taught to call “depression,” and the latter, if he knows the lingo, he calls “existential depression.” Society’s widespread willingness to believe that the “mental disorder of depression” exists produces a new set of expectations. People have come to believe that unhappiness is an aberration and that if they are experiencing it they have somehow “caught something” almost embarrassing to catch, like an STD. Who should be unhappy nowadays, what with malls and television? So, rather than admit that they are unhappy, they opt to treat their feelings like a disease. This enormously pleases Big Doctor, who welcomes each “depressive” with open arms.
Big Doctor and his ideas are everywhere, providing tremendous cover for inauthenticity. David Karp argues in Speaking of Sadness: “A necessary condition for widespread depressive illness is a culturally induced readiness to view emotional pain as a disease requiring medical intervention. The grounds for interpreting pain as an abnormal medical condition have been largely established through the increasing incursion of medical and other therapeutic experts into literally every aspect of our lives.” Their fellow doctors, loath to rock the boat and point a finger, provide cover for their mental health brethren — they attend the same banquets, travel on the same junkets, and lend their moral support to the medicalization of sadness.
This new belief that life shouldn’t hurt, a belief fostered by Big Doctor at every turn, is very strange. It is very strange that, having been sexually molested as a child, you should somehow believe that you will not experience that harm as hurtful, injurious, even ruinous. Shame a child, scare a child, belittle a child, dismiss a child, lie to a child, and what do you imagine you will produce? Happiness? It is as if we have come to be surprised by our feelings of unhappiness, so surprised that we involuntarily exclaim, “Wow, something must be going on. This isn’t natural.”
Nothing could be more natural. What sort of creature do we think we are? A kind of wishful thinking has washed over the developed world that life has become simple and settled. Aside from the occasional economic downturn, natural disaster, and unfortunate “disorder,” modern life is like a good supermarket: abundant, orderly, unblemished, and brought to you with a smile. Your child would be as happy as a clam if only it weren’t for her pesky attention deficit disorder and childhood depression. Your mother would be a happy old lady if only she didn’t suffer from “nursing home syndrome” and “seasonal affective disorder.” If only we could shed the rough coat of this or that disorder, this new story goes, we would find ourselves wearing silk pajamas.
This is a false view of life. Life is a project. The moment they are born people are dropped into a world that makes many demands and certain allowances. Either you equip yourself to deal with human unhappiness and the rigors of living, or you will find yourself dealing with them in ways that make you even unhappier. One excellent way to deal with your life-as-project is the way that I’ve been describing: by following an existential program that focuses on your ability to create the psychological experience of meaning. If you happen not to like my program, create your own. It won’t suffice to do nothing.
(Excerpted from the book Rethinking Depression © 2012 by Eric Maisel. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com)
Those who are depressed, who have a loved one who is depressed, who work with clients or patients suffering from depression, who coach clients on their life challenges, or who want to make more meaning and increase their energy, passion, and purpose are perfect candidates for the Rethinking Depression Contest. Enter now!