Archive for July 15th, 2009

The medicalisation of dissatisfaction


It’s an ugly phrase in some ways, but it is one that says it all. Not mine either, somebody from the Work Foundation used it when I was talking to him on the subject of stress.  

We have lost a great deal of perspective on how the world really works. We increasingly fall under the influence of consultants, certain professions, quacks, con men and snake oil salesmen who have a vested interest of one sort or another in medicalising how we feel.

The latest perfectly normal human emotion to be the subject of this medicalisation is bitterness.  The emotion roots itself in those moments when we discover (yet again) that sometimes life isn’t fair after all. We may not be pleased with that knowledge but we may as well get bitter about the fact that the grass is the wrong shade of green. There’s little or nothing we can do to change anything, except for our response.

This provokes an old fart response in me that I’m not entirely comfortable with. Surely you learn as a child and then throughout your life that bad things happen to good people (and vice versa)? Surely you learn that shit happens for no reason? And surely you learn that you can only be upset or angry for so long before those negative feelings start to turn in on you?

I know we like to think we’re worth it. Thanks L’Oreal. But life just isn’t fair a lot of the time. The idea that we need to treat people who may not accept that inconvenient truth is absurd.

Tomorrow: The Total Perspective Vortex

July 2009

Desk Jockey