Something is off and it's not just "languishing."
My clients are tired, fatigued, burnt-out and incredibly lonely. You wouldn't think it's so bad in the Big Apple but isolation lies in plain sight. Stuck, confused and cynical about the future are the precursors to more serious immobility.
I keep asking myself, where is the middle path?
If a client is terrified to go out, and she instead stays in to the point of not eating or sleeping or changing clothes, suddenly a cascade of failures come before her. And she's only 25! She loves her family, but it's time to get out already! So what she grew up under the shadow of an alcoholic parent. She has a little potential to spare but nowhere to go. In the Big Apple you're either in-sync or you're not. There are not too many slices of the pie without grabbing. If you're catatonic, we have some great city-run hospitals that evaluate you, medicate you and then spit you back out. If you're energetic, you can fly until you crash. Life is a series of ups and downs. Look into your Vagus Nerve. Then roll the dice and see which i-Ching is yours. Because my friends, luck is mostly all we have; and a sliver of chocolate.
My clients don't want to go to the hospital. They know what it is to get a bill for $250K because your insurance messed up again. I know too.
So what I think we need is bring back the halfway house. Have a sanctuary for people to reclaim their worth and dignity. Have a haven for teens who can't sleep at home or need a hot meal. Drop-in places that are warm and non-judgmental. I'd love to be able to say, hey Susy, I know you're suffering and in pain. It will pass. However in the meanwhile I know a place for you to rest. They will get you whatever you need, like some American Jews did when millions of their cousins were getting vaporized in Europe. They got them papers and blankets and sponsors and furniture. Where is our humanity these days? Why are Putin and Trump at war with unsuspecting innocents? Don't let yourself lean into authoritarianism. We need each other more now than ever.
We need resources to engage therapists in the middle path. So we can take a day off and not lose benefits, so we can fix what we didn't break, so we can lend a hand, a meal, a ride, or a daily practice to our clients; so if it's evidence-based it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Free safe-havens for marginalized people to think, pray, love or heal. Someone to take you to your booster shot. So young adults need not live in fear of failure.
Oh blame the Internet they say. Blame social media.
Those are the symptoms not the causes. We need more big picture people. Those with a vision to treat patients in their homes, to bolster communities, connection and so forth. My community does this so well. Every single day there is something for old and young. But so many people I deal with do not have a middle path. They have riches and hospitals, or nothing and no one. Intensive Outpatient Programs have to expand with a single payer. Enough of holding people hostage to their jobs for health insurance. Real freedom for students to study in peace without the dread of a bill from the ER.
My friends from Sweden are not troubled by these matters. Imagine the actual joy for our future leaders if they didn't drown in debt, loans, taxes and taking care of the elderly. The cost of childcare. We are hostages to capitalism now. Just a step away from robots.