Is Dr. Zwig Crazy?
I have a very strange relationship with the field of psychology: I’ve dedicated my life to studying it despite the fact that I consider most of it to be bogus. You may wonder why anyone in their right mind would spend so many years doing something he doesn’t believe in. Well, the old saying goes, “Only crazy people go into psychology.” And that may be true, but there’s a more interesting reason I do it: After decades of research into the human condition I’ve arrived at the conclusion that psychology—the study of the human mind—is the royal road to understanding not only ourselves and the world, but all of life. Why? Because the mind is the foundation of everything. It generates all that we know and experience—from the simplest sensation to the grandest scientific discovery to the most sublime spiritual experience.
Bob’s Mysterious Depression*
A client of mine, Bob, a thirty-nine year-old waiter, complained of chronic depressed moods despite the fact that nothing particularly depressing had occurred in his life. He couldn’t figure out why he always felt down since everything seemed to be in order—he had a good marriage, a decent job, and great friends. He claimed he was depressed “for no reason” and told me he had a chemical imbalance in his brain. In a rare moment of rudeness, I laughed, and said “In the words of the great Tom Petty, ‘You believe what you wanna believe’. Let’s work on your depression and find out what’s going on. What’s it like to be depressed?”
Everybody Must Get Stoned
Diagnoses of depression have skyrocketed since 2013. New statistics released by Blue Cross Blue Shield state that diagnosis rates have risen 47 percent for millennials and 63 percent for adolescents. Depression is the second most impactful condition affecting Americans, putting it right behind high blood pressure. It’s already being predicted to become the leading cause of loss of longevity or life by the year 2030.
Years ago in Switzerland I had a client who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When I first met Clara, a 22 year-old university student, she told me she'd received her bipolar diagnosis and medication from her psychiatrist but hated the side-effects of the drugs.