Friends round to supper last night and we all sat out in the back garden after dusk and listened to the owl calling from an old massive oak across Church Street. Glimpse of an eagle swiftly flying across the treeline, pinioned against the green and dark silver light.
Thinking hard this morning about what else I can do to ground myself in the program, in the lifegiving Steps and community.
And thinking too about changes afoot inthe worldwide mental health community. At last. Serious reviews of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness by Christopher Lane (Yale University Press)
Lane comments: ‘In my mother’s generation, shy people were seen as introverted and perhaps a bit awkward, but never mentally ill. Adults admired their bashfulness, associated it with bookishness, reserve, and a yen for solitude. But shyness isn’t just shyness any more. It is a disease. It has a variety of over-wrought names, including “social anxiety” and “avoidant personality disorder”, afflictions said to trouble millions’.
Lane’s research shows how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been transformed from the thin handbook it was up until the 1980s into the hefty tome it is today, with hundreds of new, poorly specified and poorly researched syndromes being added annually.
Both books by Lane and Horowitz/Wakefield have become overnight successes following the recent UK report claiming that Prozac, taken by 40-million worldwide, is inefficacious except in severe cases. No better than a placebo.
The report breaks new ground because independent scientists have obtained for the first time what they believe is a full set of trial data for four antidepressants. They requested the full data under freedom of information rules from the Food and Drug Administration, which licenses medicines in the US and requires all data when it makes a decision.
Very thought-provoking. We need deeper and richer understandings, as many of us have known for some time.
And shyness is a rare gift still.