You—yes, you—are indeed mentally sick, weak, and need help, stated a group of mental health experts totally not at all affiliated with the pharmaceutical industry in a special report published on Friday. The report is based on a many-year study of your deeply dysfunctional cognition, behavior, emotional responses, and psyche at large, and confirms your suspicions that your reactions to seemingly ordinary circumstances are sufficiently pathological for a mental diagnosis.
“Your occasional bout of anxiety is a sign of Unspecified Anxiety Disorder, a condition dangerous to ignore,” said Alexander Pomel, the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. “Our studies have shown that what you feel while pondering the frustrating uncertainty of life or your toxic relationships with friends and family members is an abnormal response of your broken brain. Ditto for feeling dejected and hopeless sometimes. It’s not like there are things in life that are supposed to make you feel that way, no, you are sick with depression. There’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that prevents you from being quite jolly and has nothing to do with circumstances. Accept it. All psychiatric diagnoses represent legitimate medical disorders. I mean, you wouldn’t blame arthritis on existential angst or a tragedy, would you?”
The report also reminds you that your psyche is inherently weak and over the millennia of evolution has not developed its own coping mechanisms to deal with such things. The stresses of life in 2014 in particular are so unprecedented that it will take human psyche centuries to learn to neutralize them on its own, so meanwhile you must see a well-meaning psychiatrist before your disorder completely wrecks your life. The report advises you to do so the first time you wonder if there is something wrong with you; the earlier, the better.
“Although we’re not sure which mental disorder you have, we will diagnose you with one the first time we see you, because otherwise your insurance won’t reimburse your visit,” said Frank Neckelton, a spokesperson of the American Psychiatric Association. “We have a whole 900-page book of over 300 mental disorders, none of which can be diagnosed objectively and many of which have overlapping symptoms. Oh, and don’t fret if we don’t discover the real you there; if our new diagnosis is stretchable enough to include many patients and convince many doctors, it will become legitimate in a few years and your suffering will at last seem validated and meaningful.”
“But even before we diagnose you,” Neckelton added, “we can already tell you that your condition is chronic and you will have to pop pills for the rest of your life. Depending on what cocktail of medications we give you, you’ll probably become fat or zonked-out or have any combination of heart problems, tremors, insomnia, and many other fun little things, but hey, isn’t that better than the horrible withdrawal you’ll have to suffer if you stop taking it? Your brain is broken, buddy, and obviously nothing but medication can change that, so feeling bad about it would be as silly as feeling bad about having to take insulin if you had diabetes.”
The report ends with words of encouragement.
“You should abandon any hopes of a successful, fulfilling future, and reduce your ambitions and expectations of yourself to a bare minimum,” the experts urge. “You are chronically sick, your brain is deeply broken, and nothing can ever change that. We have MDs and fancy brain scans and colorful pictures of your brain in action to back what we’re saying. So don’t even hope to live a normal life. After all, you wouldn’t expect to dance if you were quadriplegic, would you?”