Over the years, I’ve probably received more mail about Mutiny of the Soul than any other essay I’ve written. The idea of the article has been hugely validating for many readers: that depression, ADHD, anxiety, etc. aren’t chemical malfunctions of the brain, nor spiritual malfunctions of the mind; rather, they are forms of legitimate rebellion against life structures that are unworthy of one’s full participation or attention. They are more symptoms of a social illness than of a personal deficiency. As Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
I’ve also received my fair share of criticism for the article, mostly along the lines that it is dogmatically anti-medication. These critics say that pharmaceutical meds, while probably overprescribed, have an important role, and it is irresponsible for a layperson like myself with no psychiatric training to flout scientific consensus when people’s lives are at stake.
While I had seen a little of the science casting doubt on psych meds, I was in no position to make a strong argument against them. My piece was coming from an intuitive place: “These can’t be good.” But now the cracks are spreading in the foundation of pharmaceutical orthodoxy. I recently came across the work of one renegade psychiatrist, Kelly Brogan, who argues that depression and anxiety aren’t unlucky chemical imbalances in our brains that can be magicked away with medication, but are symptoms of something deeper. In Suffering: Who Needs It? she writes: