December 24, 2012
Two years ago, I wrote the following article. Over the last two years, nothing has changed. I continue to see depressed and unhappy patients, stressed over what they don’t have and what they “need” as opposed to feeling blessed for what they have. The drive for “excess” continues to overshadow everything. I hope by re-posting “EXCESS” I will lessen the chance that 2013 will be a repeat of 2010, 2011 and 2012!
One of my readers asked me to write an article on the problem of
“excess” and its effect on our health and happiness. I have alluded to our
excess in past articles, “Four Letter Word” and “Suicide by Food”. Excesses in
food, stressors, nutraceuticals, medications, drugs, electronics, communications
and possessions have become the norm in our society. Those excesses have taken a toll on my patients and their families.
Just prior to Christmas, I treated a very successful middle aged man for depression. This particular gentleman was successful in every aspect of his life. He has a beautiful family, four children and a wife. His family has lived in luxury as my patient is also very successful in the business world. He even shoots in the low 80s on the golf course. So why was he depressed? He was affected by the Lexus commercial. The commercial showed a husband and his son waiting outside in the snow to surprise his wife with a Lexus with a red bow on the roof. My patient felt that, at his age and station in life, he should be able to give that Lexus to his wife. He saw himself as a failure despite all of his success because he couldn’t purchase a Lexus for his wife.
When is enough, enough? That is an age old question. When you have a beautiful family, roof over your head, and food on the table, do you really need a Lexus? When you are overweight and your weight is harming your health, it’s enough. In “Suicide by Food,” I reviewed the case of a patient’s excessive food ingestion causing him to go into heart failure and be admitted to the hospital. When Barrington youth are so desperate as to commit suicide, it’s enough! In “The Four Letter Word,” I reviewed how everything has become a “need” and how dangerous being needy is.
My patient’s stress over everything. In “Worried Sick,” I reviewed how
worry and stress can become a disease and be more harmful than the disease you
are worried about. All too often, I write about depression. Work and financial and family stresses are seriously affecting my patients.
Throughout this website, I have worked to involve my patients in self care. My patients are taking too many medications. Often they are on too many medications because of their personal excesses. Yesterday I worked with a patient who had a “healthy” (according to the patient), 1400 calorie breakfast despite the fact that his weight had become a major health issue.
Many of my patients want to be on “all natural” supplements. Rather than eating healthy, whole foods, they look to the neutraceutical world for health. They often come in with dozens of supplements (not an exaggeration) none of which are natural. A few patients do in depth study of their supplements and the companies that manufacture them. Most do not.
The younger generations live on the internet, Facebook, and twitter. They text incessantly and are always connected. They “need” new cell phones, 4G, and Wi-Fi to be happy. They worry about computer viruses, not the common cold.
So what can we do? In a strange way, the bad economy has been good
for my patients. People are learning that they can live with less. They are
cutting back on cars and phones and cable. They are getting more involved in
their health, trying to reduce their medication load. Unfortunately, they are
still spending money on their supplements and still texting. On November 17,
2010, I wrote “Blessing List”. What we can do is cut our losses and
count our real blessings: family, friends, and health.
Talking about health, wouldn’t it be great to have excess health? What about replacing Facebook and Twitter with research into appropriate nutrition and exercise. Try using your smart phone and computer to tract your weight, nutritional intake and output. What we can do is focus on “Living Wellthy”!
Also, we can all learn to be thankful for what we have! Have a great holiday season and a “Wellthy” New Year!
Dr Sega is the co-author of "Diets and Other Unnatural Acts" available on Amazon and blogs at www.livewellthy.org.