Thinking about the overdose of Saoirse Kennedy Hill
In my worldview when someone says they are depressed, I think – what is depressed is their real self. They are alienated from themselves, but they don’t know it.
Winnicott explains how what we need in our earliest years is a facilitating environment in which our caretakers help us to unfold that real self. Instead what most of us get is a system of enculturation. We early learn what is good and bad according to our parents/our schools/our society’s values, and in many cases, to a large degree we conform ourselves to it to get the approval and confirmation we need.
We form an ideal image in our heads of what we should be and we use self-talk to berate ourselves when we fall short. We have an image in our head of what others, life should be, and we use self-talk in our head to create narratives, we tell ourselves over and over that often are not in the best interest of our self-actualization.
What bugged me about the narrative Saoirse Kennedy told herself was that she was mentally ill. That’s a construct weaved by our mental health industrial complex/Big Pharma cultural influence.
Someone once said a suicide is an angry person who turns their anger against themselves.
How might Saoirse’s life story have turned out differently?
First, I would say she needed to think of herself as a process instead of an object. A process is ever evolving and in flux. An object is a known quantity – for instance, mentally ill.
She needed to realize the drugs she took were her method of emotional control. In other words, she had these feelings – she needed to learn how to handle in a more constructive way. She needed to learn how to look at them without identifying with them.
In essence, she needed to learn to see herself, as a process, awaring, and to gain some distance between her feelings, her thoughts – which as Alfred Korzybski might say were really the thoughts of countless dead/a process of enculturation – and her I-process/awaring.
When I read a news account of her life, she sounded like she identified with a victim’s role – her teachers didn’t understand her, society didn’t make it easier for the mentally ill to integrate back into society etc. Suicidal people often are turning their anger toward themselves.
What are they killing? I would say their real self (a complicated concept).
If I were coaching (and I think coaching/drawing out is what is needed more than help from the mental health industrial complex) Saoirse, I might start by exploring what her ideal self was – what she thought she should be. Then I’d help her to explore where she learned that. I think what we have to do – to start to un-depress our real self – is to look at our family patterns, school patterns, cultural patterns that we have absorbed without thinking.
Thought/our narratives is something to look at. Thinking is an activity of the person as process. I’d help her look at what makes her “proud” and why. I’d have her look at what she hates about herself and the world and why. And I’d ask a lot – where did you learn that?
I would help her to develop what J.F.T. Bugental called her “inner sense.” In my book, The Search for Being, about it I wrote – The idea isn’t to get clients to speculate about what concerns them or to find causes, but rather to get back inside themselves, to access their subjectivity, to find their I-process.”
From the time we enter school – really before – we have an outer focus – what do our teachers want. What do we have to do to get that “A”?
I believe we all our born with a certain nature, our part of nature, and our task is to – Let’s let Bugental say it: Our subjectivity is the seat of our individuality, our uniqueness. Non-being (that feeling of being lost Saoirse talked about) is nonactuality of ourselves. Bugental considered it hubris to go against our own natures (that talks to us in a whisper deep inside). Finding attunement to that inner sense is what leads to greater integration, greater vitality, a sense of aliveness.
Bugental said: We increase our ability to act, our commitment to our choices, our authenticity in relationships when we recover our inner sense.
I would have helped - as Saoirse’s coach/what the so-called “mentally ill” need are life coaches, I think - her to realize she is not an isolated self, but rather a mind emeshed in an intersubjective context. Being and nonbeing emerge in-the-between/hence the need for a life coach to help one make sense of all those narratives in their head learned from parents/schools/society. Coaching could provide - a new in-the-between, this time dedicated to helping unfold the I-process/thinking/feeling/awaring people with a unique nature we are.
We give up parts of ourselves, or don’t let parts of ourselves, come into being in our families, in our schools, in our society. The coach uses the intersubjective experience in which we all learn to be or not be, to reintegrate those parts of ourselves that have been lost (hence the feeling of being lost). I entitled my book, The Search For Being, because that is the process we must engage in – often with a helper/life coach – to find our place in the world again according to our own inner sense.
And then we must look at ourselves as a society and ask – why are so many of us depressed – and what changes have to happen in our homes, our schools, our culture to change that.
No, Mental Health Industrial Complex – we are not isolated minds/mentally ill. We are participants in an intersubjective context and that must get better for us all to be well.
I had thought about being a coach when I retired from teaching. However, a fireman neighbor and his mobbing friends “got me” Gang Stalked. And that has been where I’ve been spending my energy/to expose it, since 2006. http://www.StopGangStalkingPolice.com
Government Gang Stalking – a symptom of our Sick Society/intersubjective environment.
I-It relating is totally subjective. The I looks at everything in relation to their self. Their desires and concerns are a barrier to real meeting. There is contrivance and hypocrisy. Imposition characterizes I-It Relating as the I tries to impose their views, their wants on the other.