I had a suspicion. I guessed that there was something wrong and inhuman in what I was taught but I didn’t dare question it. Precisely because it was taught me by the use of violence and fear, I was scared of questioning it. I kept going on with my life as if there was no problem. I let fear run my life. I made some cosmetic changes to my life which, superficially, you would say were important. Actually, fear kept running my life.
One day something in me rebelled strongly. A conflict got too strong in my mind. It was the conflict between two things:
- the learned obedience to an inhuman society
- the suspicion that a more human way of life is possible and that I was right in wanting it
This conflict could be resolved only by total disobedience to a society based on psychological violence. The problem was that obedience had been forced on me for so long a time.
Now I realize that nonviolence is not only what we need to be psychologically healthy, but it’s also more intelligent than violence. I realize also that nonviolence is possible even if we are firmly pressured to think that it’s impossible by those who continuously use violence to control us.
They are so cunning that they will convince you that you need their violence and that they are violent to you for your own good. I’m happy that I chose to disobey society and its violence. Now I make my contribution to solve the alarming problem of depression in teenagers.
Making sense of depression
I’ve been depressed and I know first-hand that it hurts. It’s difficult to see it as a gift when your head is full of pain. Everybody around you is scared by your depression and they don’t want to help you even if they say the opposite. Actually they can’t help you because they have an even bigger problem than yours but they don’t know it. They swim in an ocean of fear and psychological violence but they don’t see it. They think that they are safe on the dry beach. The human mind is capable of wonderful things and also of infinite possibilities of self-cheating.
The problem with depression is that you feel guilty and defective because you don’t function productively, you can’t do what everybody does, you can’t feel excited when everybody does, you don’t enjoy your daily dose of shopping when everybody does. Only later you realize that you are perfectly right in refusing to obey society’s morality which is immoral because is based on psychological violence.
I realized that to make sense of depression I had to reverse the positions. I was one who sees and refuses to say what he doesn’t see, while everybody around me refused to see and obeyed social violence.
Social violence: the punishments-and-rewards pedagogy
To describe all the forms of violence that society inflicts on us, hundreds of articles wouldn’t suffice. Here I want to talk about one of them, the punishments-and-rewards pedagogy.
This sort of pedagogy is widely spread in the profoundly sick Western cultures. The idea is that you want to produce a child who behaves, does well at school, pays attention, makes their parents proud by being successful, isn’t angry, doesn’t bully the other children. But you think, or you are made to believe, that since your child is a beast capable of no good, you have to manipulate him by punishing him every time he doesn’t behave as desired and reward him every time he does.
This violent way of taming might be good for horses even if with horses too there are more nonviolent ways to do it. With children, it’s to forget that humans aren’t animals, that they are capable of thinking and violence backfires with them.
It’s because of the violence used to manipulate children that there are so many criminals and violent people. If we teach violence, we have to expect violence. Other children will become violent against themselves and develop mental illnesses. Others will deny that they were the object of violence and live all their life as if nothing happened. They will take care of this violence as if it was something precious to keep alive. This is a well-known attitude many victims have towards the violence that has been inflicted on them.
May I suggest that we are obsessed with using violence against children because we have forgotten how to love them?
What to say to depressed teenagers
Dear depressed teenager, I beg you for forgiveness on behalf of our violent (and stupid) society. I beg you to forgive all the violence you have been subjected to. Maybe I can’t do much to stop people from being violent to you, but I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to learn not to be violent to ourselves and this helps.
Learn to heal your fear, you deserve it. Devote some time to healing your fear. Subtract time from other activities, make healing your fear the number one priority in your life. Refuse society’s morals. They are actually immoral because they are based on violence and serve the selfish interests of others.
Learn to trust yourself and love what you like and what you can do. Preserve your spontaneity. Don’t absorb the insincerity of the adult world. Don’t throw away your humanity as you are asked to do.
Depression is a gift if we are brave enough to listen to its message. It urges us to rethink a society which has gone too far with its psychological violence. We need to do this in order to find a solution to the nasty problem of depression in teenagers.
About the Author: Denny Dew is the author of the website Depression Teens Help. Visit it to learn more about depression in teenagers and its symptoms, causes and treatments.