The week-end was a whirlwind of consecutive but separate dinners out with two sets of friends who we haven't seen for a while. The first couple also have three sons like us and their youngest is now officially depressed, seeing a psychiatrist and having problems with his course work at university. In his younger years he was given therapy for some kind of learning related disabilities (dysgraphia being one.) This pattern of ending up with a new diagnosis beyond learning disabilities around the age of eighteen seems to be not uncommon.
This young man has been seen as "having problems," something not quite right most of his life. I wonder how this image feeds into his sense of well-being and prevents him from being who he is.
Our next set of visiting friends brought their two teenagers with them to the dinner. They are both very bright and engaging. The sixteen year old daughter casually mentioned she was seeing a psychiatrist, so of course, we got talking. Since she seemed so engaged I was trying to figure out the nature of her needing to see a psychiatrist. She was very au courant with her problems, with the jargon, with the limitations of her treatment. She suffers from anxiety. Well, how exactly does this play out, I asked?
What her brother and her agreed on was that there are hours on end when she completely freaks out and makes everyone's life miserable. Still, I was puzzled because she seemed so aware and self-confident. Then it got interesting. She is a very, very religious Christian. Just talking about her passion for Christ was whipping her more and more into a sort of religious ecstasy and about then I decided to switch topics to diffuse a possible melt-down.
Her parents are very religous, especially her father. Her father is the anxious sort, but, like most of us, age has given him some coping skills. His daughter doesn't have that filter. A reasonable guess is that her anxiety is related to being afraid to venture out beyond parental control. I don't believe in Deepak Chopra she said, because he teaches that it's all about happiness. (I think that's a misinterpretation of Chopra.) I don't believe we should live in the now. I want to be with Christ. And, you could tell, she really wanted to be one with Christ. Intense religiosity, in my opinion, is an internal destabilizing force.
From my more pan-Buddhist perspective, I would say a little yoga would temper her fixations.