Saturday, April 13, 2019

Lost and Alone: What Should She Do?

So, a woman who is alone and isolated writes to Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist. You would imagine that this woman would do well to take it up with a therapist, but, alas, she already has.

Does it not strike you, as it strikes me, that therapy is not helping this woman? Oughtn’t we to be asking about the value of therapy? Unfortunately, we do not. Hax is not at fault for offering yet another piece of mental gymnastics to help her out, but, for someone who is lost in her mind and isolated from the world, she does not need more introspection.

Anyway, here is the letter, in its entirety:

I liked your answer about finding one's purpose in life, but what you said about it being something to hang on to when life is overwhelming is the problem. I have nothing to hang on to in those situations, which are too frequent. I have absolutely not found a job/career that works well for me, at which I am good and which I also enjoy. I am not a parent, I am no one's best friend or spouse, I don't have a truly meaningful hobby or volunteer work. So, when life becomes difficult, I go to a dark place — why the hell am I even here?

Yes, I am in therapy and on meds, but those only go so far.

In truth, it is good for life to have a purpose. In fact, a megaselling book, called The Purpose Driven Life has already set down the message. We note that Pastor Rick Warren’s book does not come to us from the therapy world. It comes from religion.

The letter writer paints herself as alone and bereft, lost and floudering. We do not know whether she has family or friends. We do not want to say that she needs to have a best friend, but her glass-half-empty thinking has merely isolated her more. The issue is: does she have friends? At all.

We do not know how old she is, what job she has, whether or not her relationships with her colleagues are interesting or not. We do not know. Because therapy has taught her to think like an isolated human monad, someone who can solve it all with a mental exercise or two. She would do better to get a pet, a cat or a dog. As the old saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Anything to extract her from her self-pity.

As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said: “God is in the details.” Without knowing the details, without knowing anything more about her, without her being able to see her life in terms of details, there is no way she is going to get to God. And there is no way out of a morass of her own and her therapist’s making. True enough, therapy and medication can only do so much, but they have set this woman up for calamity. It’s not good news.

So, if she and Hax and company like Pastor Warren’s advice, the conclusion will be that she should start attending religious services. The psycho professions know that attending such services is beneficial to one’s mental health. Belonging to a community, engaging in community activities, participating in rituals and ceremonies, making new friends… all of these are clearly antidotal for someone who feels like she has no purpose in life.


Sam L. said...

We also do not know how old she is, nor whether she's had a romance with someone, her parents are alive or dead, or she has any siblings.

Rick O'Shea said...

Now that you mention Rick Warren, we can thank him for Obama. Warren wanted to suck up to Obama, Hillary, and McCain so that in the event one of them became President, it might help him inherit the mantle of “pastor to the Presidents” as Billy Graham was considered to be at one time. Obama, thusly, at his inauguration on January 20, 2009, called upon Rick Warren to give the prayer. No evangelical Christian in his right mind should have had anything to do with Obama, yet here comes Rick Warren bestowing honor and legitimacy on Obama by inviting him to his pulpit. Many evangelicals were conned into thinking, "Well, maybe Obama isn't so bad after all if he is up there rubbing elbows with Rick Warren."

Sam L. said...

Rick, I'm surprised by that. What I've seen of the Dems is disdain for religion, especially Christian religion, if not all-out hatred.

Bizzy Brain said...

Reminds me of the clever observation, "No God, no peace. Know God, know peace."