Anxiety and depression is a growing concern for mental health professionals. In 2020, the World Economic Forum revealed there were some 275 million reported cases of anxiety worldwide.
Remarkably, a high percentage of people suffering from anxiety and depression do not have access to effective treatment. In low-income countries (and perhaps low-income individuals in developed countries), between 76% and 85% of people with mental disorders receive no treatment for their disorder. The same is true for 35-50% of people in higher-income nations.
A number of reasons have been cited for the failure of the mental health industry.
“Barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers and social stigma associated with mental disorders. Another barrier to effective care is inaccurate assessment. In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.” ~ openaccessjournals.com
The global coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of people noticing signs of anxiety and depression. The number of reported cases in the US alone is 47.1 million.
When moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression are long-lasting, they can lead to more serious health conditions such as heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
At the very least, anxiety and depression can impair your ability to function to your full potential. It can have a debilitating effect at work, in your relationships and in social environments.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that depression has prompted suicide in close to 800,000 people.
Suicide was the third leading cause of death in 15-19 year-olds in 2019. It was the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds in 2016 suggesting that people in their 20’s are most susceptible.
The WHO also note the increasing number of anxiety and depression worldwide is placing a strain on the global economy. Estimates reveal anxiety and depression disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion every year.
A WHO-led study concludes greater investment in mental health services will have health and economic benefits globally.
However, the WHO also suggests the primary treatments are psychosocial counselling and antidepressant medication.
Yet medication is one of the most ineffective ways of managing anxiety and depression. The message is that psychotherapy and medication alone are both ineffective, but they will work if both strategies are combined.
What’s wrong with this picture?
What are your views on antidepressants?
You may feel psychosocial counselling and antidepressant medication is a sensible path to take. In the US, more than 20 million anti-depressants were dished out between October and December 2020.
It seems that a high number of mental health practitioners and physicians feel drugs are the answer to mental health disorders.
Not everybody is of the same opinion. As a matter of fact, a growing number of peer-reviewed journals suggest conventional treatments for depression are ineffective.
So why do healthcare professional always turn to anti-depressants as the solution?
“The clinical sciences have a problem with negative trial results – trials where the experimental treatments don’t appear to work. They are seen as uninteresting, and as undesirable by drug companies, and have often gone unpublished.” ~ Christopher Davey, the conversation.com
Ah. So the marketing is one-sided.
Somewhat ironically, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, remarked: “Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows.”
I don’t know whether Kim’s comment was a Jungian slip, but conventional mental health treatments most definitely detain anxiety and depression in the shadow.
Medication dulls the voice of the shadow.
What is the Shadow?
Before I get on to explaining why medication dulls the voice of the shadow, it is important to understand what the shadow is. As you will see, it is even more important to identify the shadow aspects of your nature for the purpose of individuation – and to cure anxiety and depression.
In psychology, “the shadow” is an expression coined by the eminent psychologist Carl Jung to describe aspects of an individual’s personality that is hidden or repressed in the unconscious.
Jung suggested that failing to recognise, acknowledge and deal with the shadow personality is often the root of problems between individuals. What’s more, he felt it imperative to recognise the dark aspects of the personality in order to gain self-knowledge and develop psychological maturity.
Jung defined the Shadow as:
“The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly – for instance, inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies.” ~ Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
Whilst the Shadow is part of the personal unconscious that the ego has rejected, the unripened aspects of an individuals personality is also shaped by cultural beliefs.
In modern societies, we typically find cultural beliefs govern the personal unconscious. As a result, we are conditioned by limiting beliefs, negative or critical attitudes, over-indulgence and a sense of entitlement.
These subconscious programs prompt destructive behaviours, stunt psychological development and have a negative impact on emotional wellbeing.
Personal development involves taking the time to understand the shadow. By identifying the inactive parts of your personality that lurk in the unconscious and integrating them with the conscious mind, you are able to cultivate a richer quality of life.
The Society of Analytical Psychology notes that although the shadow, “may feel like a cess-pit it can also be a treasure trove…the shadow contains all sorts of qualities, capacities and potential, which if not recognised and owned, maintain a state of impoverishment in the personality and deprive the person of sources of energy and bridges of connectedness with others.”
The Self-ego Axis
Erich Neumann, a student of Jung, described the two personalities of the individual as the self-ego axis. This is, in my view, an easier concept to understand than ego and Shadow. It is not unusable for Jungians to refer to the latter as the ‘Shadow Self”.
Neumann promulgated that the ego is the outward-facing aspect of the psyche which interfaces with the outer world. Its function is to maintain your survival, both physically and emotionally.
It is important to develop the ego in order to interact successfully with the world. A developed ego enables you to overcome challenges, enjoy strong and lasting relationships, care for yourself and others, and basically, live a complete and fulfilling life.
As a general rule, the ego is the principal agent of the psyche – providing it is functioning normally. However, before the ego can function normally, unconscious aspects of your personality need to be integrated into the conscious mind.
This is the role of the Self – the inward-facing aspect of consciousness that observes and identifies the “split-off” pieces of consciousness that are missing from your personality.
When the ego does not have a program to cope with your experience of the outer world, unconscious energies – the Shadow – either projects onto the ego or takes possession of the ego.
You will know when this has happened to you. It is those moments when you’re “out of your mind” and don’t know “what came over you”.
These moments are critical for your personal development. You can learn a lot about the contents of your unconscious by observing what triggered a repressed emotion to leap forward and take control.
Another way to identify when the ego is not functioning properly is through neurotic tendencies or complexes. Complexes surface when archetypal energies rattling around in your unconscious are trying to make themselves known to the conscious mind.
Developing A Weak Ego
According to Jung, ego development involves bringing repressed contents buried in the unconscious into the self-awareness of the conscious mind.
Jung also recognised that the failure to acknowledge the contents of the shadow and integrate them into the conscious mind is often the root of chaotic lifestyles and neuroses such as anxiety and depression.
“Man becomes whole, integrated, calm, fertile, and happy when (and only when) the process of individuation is complete, when the conscious and the unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another.” ~ Carl G Jung, Man and His Symbols
The burning question is: how do you integrate unconscious content into the conscious mind?
This is where the archetypes take centre stage. Understanding the positive and negative traits of archetypes is a powerful self-development tool.
Once you are aware of archetypal energies that are active in a particular stage or experience of your life, focused intent can help you to develop the positive qualities of the archetype and deflate the negative qualities.
Archetypes possess the qualities, capabilities and potentials of mankind. To be the best version of yourself, you need to identify the troublesome aspects of ego and upgrade your personal programs.
Whilst ever certain archetypal energies are not recognised by the ego, they remain undeveloped in your conscious mind – and thus impair your ability to succeed, create bonding relationships and feel emotionally stable.
When you experience a situation when you don’t know what to do it’s because your ego doesn’t have a program to deal with it. If you have a complex or suffer from anxiety and/or depression, it is your Shadow trying to draw the missing pieces of your personality to your attention.
Until you integrate unconscious content, the innate qualities in you – your personal power/True Self – remains dormant.
The news gets worse.
The programs your ego responds to continues to drive your behaviours and experiences. If your subconscious programs are shit, that’s pretty much sums up the type of experiences you have and how you feel.
*NB It’s important to distinguish between the subconscious mind and the unconscious. They serve different functions. This topic is discussed in more depth in the VIP Member’s Area.
The only way to improve your experiences in life is to develop the qualities that are missing in your personality.
If you are taking medication to numb feelings of anxiety and depression, you are not dealing with your problems – you are muting the voice you should be listening to.
Unshackling the Shadow
Throughout your life, from childhood to the present today you acquire information – knowledge. This information shapes your view of the world.
The knowledge you acquire from parents, teachers, peers, politicians, media and personal experience can be liberating or it can be poisonous.
Most people lock consciousness behind defensive walls which have been built on the false premise of low-quality information. Repressed emotions prevent you from forming a close relationship with yourself and others.
A lack of self-knowledge creates conflict, uneasiness, frustration, illness and holds you back from getting to where you want to be. Without intimate relationships with others, it’s difficult to build emotional stability and develop your personality.
Jung believed that bringing unconscious content into your personal awareness plants the seeds of knowledge that can heal neurotic tendencies.
“The Unconscious possesses possibilities of wisdom that are completely closed to consciousness…it creates prospective combinations just as our consciousness does, only they are considerably superior to the conscious combinations both in refinement and in extent. The Unconscious may, therefore, be an unparalleled guide for human beings.” ~ Carl Jung, Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology
To identify “split-off” pieces of consciousness, Edward Edinger advises becoming “Self-oriented rather than ego-oriented.”
You must look within. However, to become consciously aware of archetypal energies you are unconscious of it is also necessary to observe which archetypal energies are present in your conscious mind.
Our Essential Self-Development Program provides you with 18 tools that help you observe and understand which energies are present and which are missing.
Among our Essential Self-Healing Tools are powerful techniques including self-observation, mindfulness, synchronicity, emotional mirroring and an table of archetypes detailing the positive and negative qualities of the 12 archetypes proposed by mainstream psychology.
What we don’t offer are pharmaceuticals pills. They don’t work.
Medication Dulls the Voice of the Shadow
When people feel depressed, have low energy levels, sleepless nights, poor appetite or suffer from anxiety etc, they typically seek help from their GP or a psychotherapist.
You would expect that you could trust trained professionals with your personal wellbeing. Yet various studies show that antidepressant drugs are not an efficient antidote.
So why do doctors and mental health professionals keep dishing out pills that have limited effects?
“In their postgraduate years, those same doctors receive their continuing education about pharmaceutical products from drug reps, the errand boys of the corporate healthcare industry. Essentially, these nonprofessionals, whose primary goal is to sell product, provide doctors with “information” about the efficacy of the drug. Drug companies freely offer this “education” so they can persuade doctors to “push” their products. It is evident that the massive quantities of drugs prescribed in this country violate the Hippocratic Oath taken by all doctors to “First do no harm.”” ~ Bruce Lipton, Biology of Belief
Sometimes, for some people, the drugs do work – until the body becomes resistant to treatment and the effectiveness wear off.
Hopkins Medicine says: “If you feel like your antidepressant has stopped working, you’re not alone. It’s common for a medication that once worked wonders to become ineffective.”
Drugs such as benzodiazepine for anxiety patients often work quickly, but once tolerance kicks in the drugs are useless.
So your doctor prescribes another medication and gets a handout for prescribing that drug as well. Then you develop tolerance to that treatment and it back off to the doctors for another description.
This sounds like a revolving door that deposits cash into the deep pockets of Big Pharma…
The other argument is that prescribing patients with the right medication “is an art as much as a science.”
That pill can be quite easy to swallow if you choose. Until you discover there is another side to the story.
“This industrialised biological reductionist view of contemporary psychiatry does little more than measure and adjust the extent of chemically derived repression. The meds check mentality whilst a great triage does not position the patient to leverage the psyches natural healing cycle towards resolution, but allows them to “park” the issue. This results energy stagnation which breeds all manner of diseases.” ~ Paul Reynolds, A Scientific Approach to Leveraging Archaic Archetypal Activation in the Contemporary Jungian Therapeutic Setting
Pharmaceutical remedies deliver limited healing. Meanwhile, antidepressant drugs and other meds are dulling the symptomatic voice of the shadow and thus creating a wall around the path to an effective resolution.
Anti-depressant pills are the equivalent of low-quality knowledge. As a result, the drug industry is leaving people that need help stranded in a “cesspit” of hopelessness and toxicity.
Master Mind Content shows you how to dig the treasures from your trove!
Essential Self-Development Program
Symptoms like anxiety and depression are a natural driver that can expand conscious awareness and foster personal development. The Shadow is a key component of the individuation process.
The Master Mind Content Essential Self-Development Program places a central focus on observing your inner world and learning to understand what the contents of your unconscious mind are trying to tell you.
Through self-reflection, you are able to determine which behaviours are driven by subconscious programs and distinguish them from archetypal energies.
When you can identify repressed consciousness and integrate the missing pieces of your personality into the conscious mind, the ego has programs that make you become even more powerful.
More importantly, you develop self-awareness and the ability of the conscious mind to override the programs of the subconscious mind. This is the foundation of free will.
As the “Shadow Self “gains autonomy over the ego, you harness inner strength that enables you to respond to environmental signals or just let things go. You have fewer attachments, emotional triggers and self-gratifying cravings.
Medication dulls the self-reflective part of the brain by masking symptoms of the Shadow.