"The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal."
Have you read the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut? If you haven't, you should (you can find it here http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html). It's scary in its plausibility.
It comes to mind because this morning on CBC radio the Sunday Edition host was interviewing a man named Christopher Lane who has just had a book published. His book is called "Shyness: How Normal Behaviour Became an Illness" and it's all about the mental health industry. Yes, I say industry, because that's what it is, an industry run by the drug companies. Did you know that if you are nervous about talking in front of a group of people, that if you don't like the idea of eating by yourself in a restaurant, if your hands tremble a little when you meet new people, or if you don't like using public washrooms you are sick in the head? You likely have Social Anxiety Disorder, but never fear, all you have to do is take the drug Paxil or one of these powerful anti-psychotics (or possibly a combination) and you'll be all better. Never mind the side effects, just take your drugs and you can be "normal." Oh, and don't forget to drug your child if they show any anti-social behaviour too. There's all sorts of antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs out there that you can use to alter your child's developing personality and central nervous system. Don't worry if you come down with the newest "disorder" in the books, Apathy disorder. It's actually caused by the drugs that you're taking to keep "normal," but they're developing new drugs to take for that one too. Good God, no, don't stop taking those likely unnecessary antidepressants, we'll just add on another drug to combat your drug induced apathetic haze, that way the drug companies will make twice as much off one person! Oh, you're a woman too? Well, if you have a period, you likely have Pre-Menstrual dysphoric disorder. It used to be relatively rare, but the drug companies decided that PMS would be a good thing to make money off of, so they've changed the diagnoses criteria to be identical. We'll just give you yet another antidepressant to deal with those ugly female hormones (and make more money for the drug companies too).
Yes, there are people out there who are mentally ill, people who do need these drugs. Not everyone does though, and the way things are going people who aren't drugged for something are going to be a minority. Why does every personality quirk and emotion have to be a disease, and what exactly is this "normal" that everyone is striving to reach by drugging themselves? You know, sadness is normal, anxiety is normal, a little fear, well that's normal too. We live in a scary world, bad things happen that we should feel sad and fearful about. Anxiety isn't always a bad thing, it's a natural thing and it can keep us safe. Being shy and bookish is not a mental disorder, it's the way I am, and the way millions of people throughout history have been. Yes, being a shy, awkward, bookish teenager was miserable, but I wouldn't take it back in a million years. I wouldn't want to have been drugged to be more "normal," those years helped form me into the person I am today, a person that I actually like and am proud of most of the time.
I'm trying to judge when the best time for me to pack up my family and move to a remote commune will be. We'll be the whacko's in the bush who refuse to drug their children, who refuse to be "normal." Anyone want to come with me? I seem to be able to make a mean loaf of bread...
Huh, who knew I could rant so early in the morning?