Share on Facebook 74 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Articles    H2'ed 6/7/10

Community Revisited

By       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.       No comments
Author 428
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Become a Fan
  (35 fans)

My suggestion is that the rise in diagnosis of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder that we are currently seeing in the United States, relates to our lack of connectedness and community, because we need others to emotionally regulate us. At a recent Behavioral Health meeting in Seattle, I heard Dan Siegel speak and later had dinner with him. We discussed our common idea that human beings are designed to be emotionally regulated by other people. Our brains are caught in social networks that regulate our affect. Without these bonds of social connectedness, we become dysregulated. We are not designed to self-regulate entirely.

Each of us is a neuron in a social brain. This social brain regulates us and keeps our mood stable. Our emotions arise in response to our interactions with each other. Stories serve as the neurotransmitters for this social brain. The stories teach us how to behave toward and with each other. They teach us how to perceive and interpret each other to regulate our moods and emotions.

My son understood this. Recently he was talking to a psychiatric colleague who was espousing the standard, "only you are responsible for how you feel" line. She went on to say, "I can't make you feel anything. Your feelings are all yours."

"No," he said. "My feelings arise in response to you and are not controllable. My behavior is controllable, but not my feelings. Feelings are part of an early warning system that alert us to danger. Without relationships, I wouldn't have most of my feelings."

He captured the ideas about emotions that most indigenous people share. Certainly I have heard it well articulated in Lakota circles. Feelings arise from social relationships and community is necessary for social relationships. Without community, we would have no feelings, for we would be alone.

At dinner, Dan Siegel spoke more about our colleaagues who refuse to believe that parents have anything to do with their children's mental health.f They believe mental health is entirely the result of genes. I don't have to relate to these colleagues as often as he does, but it's amazing in these days of epigenetics, that anyone could dismiss the social environment as a contributor to mood regulation.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Lewis Mehl-Madrona Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Drug Abuse Prevention; Why do the American media avoid discussing research findings? (13599 views)

Day 12 of the Australian Journey (12874 views)

To Do and Not To Be (10644 views)

Narrative Concepts (10384 views)

Pain, Part 2 (8758 views)

The Inflammatory Theory of Depression (8670 views)

Total Views: 64929

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: