The Public Eye

printed 07/26/2019

Not to make fun of people with mental health conditions, as I have some of my own, at least according to people I don’t even know who are whispering behind my back, but it’s almost every week that I see a new pill guaranteed to fix one thing or another.

Again, don’t take this the wrong way, but I do fear that pharmaceutical companies are taking us deep into the self-diagnosis zone, as we sit down to dinner in front of the TV and, between the salad and the boneless, skinless slice of something healthy, check ourselves for symptoms.

“Would you say I have mania?” I asked across the table, referencing a commercial for a medication guaranteed to correct that, even though it doesn’t say exactly what kind of mania that would be.

“No, I’d say you’re just (bat doo-doo) crazy,” she replies in her usual understanding way.

And that’s the thing. With all the mood-straighteners and life-levelers that are being pushed on us, it’s hard to know whether one is simply (bat doo-doo) crazy or has an identifiable problem that can and should be treated.

“Okay, then, if I had the occasional urge to wear a lettuce hat and stick tiny radishes up my nose, would that be (bat doo-doo) crazy or a sign of some deep-seated problem that should be addressed.

“Nope, still just (see above) crazy, unless, of course, you were attacked by a salad as a child. That would be different and should be treated.”

“With what?”

“Oh, I don’t know, ranch dressing, Newman’s Own?”

Sometimes, the lack of sympathy in my house is enough to drive you — well, you know — and I’m a sensitive person who needs constant reassurance that, “Every day, in every way, I get better and better.”

At least that’s what the smoking cessation hypnotherapist told me to repeat to myself at bedtime, which I would if I didn’t fall asleep somewhere between Youth-Restoring Monkey Serum on QVC and “Every day in … zzzzz.”

The thing is, I believe these mental health medicine manufacturers are causing as many problems as they cure, because they keep telling us about the trouble we might have so they can sell us the solution.

It’s bad enough that we have to endure all the other pitches about how to deal with patchy skin, irritable innards and stiff joints (although, through the miracle of medical marijuana, a stiff joint might be just the cure for whatever ails us).

But now we have to battle back against the suggestion that we might not be quite right, but could be if we’d just ask our doctor if Flimflamalib is right for us.

In fact, I suspect 10 years from now, given the way we continue to lower the bar on what’s acceptable and what isn’t, that we’ll see and hear a television commercial that says, “Are you (bleeping) crazy? Ask your doctor about Smoove, and every day, in every way, you’ll get better and better.”

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