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Rick Warren

Rick Warren's son's suicide - What is mental health?

Sunday, April 07, 2013 by: Michael A. Bedar, MA
Tags: Rick Warren, suicide, mental illness

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(NaturalNews) Suicide. Just the word conjures a dark place that some know all too well, while some can never fathom. Most have glimpsed a place like this, as a part of natural emotion cycles, and been able to let it go and, after a time, re-embrace life.

What do you die from when you die from suicide?

What the psychiatric field terms "depression" can be seen in many ways and called by many names. Predominantly in modern medicine, it is seen as a neural imbalance to be dealt with through brain chemistry.

One growing alternative view coined by Richard Louv is that what one is actually experiencing is part of what is aptly named, Nature Deficit Disorder.

Still another view is that the experience of deep depression is not a disorder, but rather, in our world of problems, is a gift for knowing the depths of the human spirit. It is a heightened talent for empathizing with human suffering, as sages throughout time have been capable. The gift of sensitivity and horror, when properly groomed and channeled, is an important qualification for being a canary in the coalmine of humanity screaming, "Something is wrong here."

There is no easy answer to the mystery of what happens in depression and suicide. And while the depression-profiteers would rather the murk be left in place, it is now timely to clear some air on depression.

A human being is a feeling being

Condolences must be felt for Rick Warren's family for their nightmarish loss. Pastor Warren, the leader of the Saddleback megachurch, seems like an intelligent and arguably inspired man, the author of the runaway bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life.

One tribute to his son, Matthew, that Pastor Warren mentioned in his anguished statement Saturday is that his son "had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He'd then make a bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them."

From this one anecdote, Matthew Warren seemed to be someone with an especially sensitive emotional nervous system, and a willingness to share on a deeply emotional level with others. An emotionally sensitive person is not necessarily sick in need of a
"cure," but might be a healer, requiring culture to help him cultivate
and express his gift. Lest we forget, humanitarian crises throughout history show that a person with these emotional qualities is valued and irreplaceable as a comfort to others when we have to pull together to survive dreadful times.

Why Could Matthew "Not Be Helped?"

The irony is that suicidal despair arose in Matthew Warren, who was raised, in appearance at least, by responsible, family-oriented people who possessed the power to inspire purpose in others. Even if we knew what Matthew was dealing with in his world that sent him so far "down the hole" (which we don't) it would be hard to adequately express in language what it was inside that so uprooted him from joy and pleasure in life.

In what we know about Matthew Warren, coming from the pinnacle of the "quintessentially American religion" - megachurches - what we have here is a story about mainstream culture's misplaced center of attention.

On the outside, we have a failure of the "best" doctors and meds to help Matthew, and we have a bullet fired from a gun that lethally pierced his body.

Yet, we won't find a solution where it can't possibly be located, even if bright lights, cameras and spokespersons point to that place point, over and over again. We will not find in pharmacology a life filled with the joy of truly knowing who we are. And as we won't find the prevention of suicide in a jar of meds, we won't find the cause of suicide in the barrel of a gun. What we do find is a truly national and international wake-up call to re-center our attention on real priorities and inner life.

Inconveniently, in pop consumer culture, we are so alienated from life-affirming priorities found in human feelings and nature, that we don't even know our priorities, nor how to find them. This is a lesson of religious proportions, indeed. Unless we are going to keep flailing in mistakenly looking at guns as the cause of suicides, and meds as their counter-attack, we have only one option.

Tell It On the Mountains: Get Conscious Now

Thankfully, in the very cultures that popular consumerism nearly destroyed, there are rich, layered legacies of ways of being and relating that we can start learning from and placing at the center of life:
  • Empathetic listening to people
  • Yogic practices
  • Nature treks
  • Speaking circles
  • Touch and therapeutic massage
  • Meditation
  • Singing in community
  • Initiations and rites of passage
  • Eating chemical-free, nutrient-dense foods from untampered seeds
  • Affectionate animal relationships
  • Loving sexuality
  • Complete presence
These modalities of healing are shown to be powerful for recovering mental health. If we don't get holistic about health as a society, then with devastating prevalence, the fate of our most sensing and feeling people may come down to a hell of "fire"... and tombstone.

Sources for this article include:

1) http://www.myfoxphoenix.com
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_deficit_disorder

About the author:
Michael Bedar MA, BS, is a researcher, writer, and holistic wellness counselor. He is the associate producer with a founding role in the documentary, "Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days" and is the writer-director of "EcoParque." He now distributes approximately 50 film, ebook, and audio titles through YoelMedia.com. He manages a holistic health practice, facilitates local and online natural wellness and spiritual growth programs, and juices regularly. He helps people live in healthy homes, support their natural fertility, encourage their optimal nutrition, and come into their full presence. He is the Co-Director of Tree of Life - Bay Area, and he has an MA in Live-Food and Spiritual Nutrition from the Cousens School of Holistic Wellness. Bedar's BS from UCSD is an interdisciplinary concentration of Environmental Chemistry, Law and Society, and Design Anthropology.

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