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The Forum > Article Comments > Loneliness, depression and Olympic fairy-tale endings > Comments

Loneliness, depression and Olympic fairy-tale endings : Comments

By Kay Stroud, published 7/8/2012

It's hard to win, but even harder to lose.

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<From my experience, the move from depression and loneliness to fulfillment was not an easy journey. However, I now realise that my new spiritual viewpoint positively affected my relationships, my exercise habits, my goals, my health and my experiences.>
“My” “my” “my”!
That’s the trouble, in a culture obsessed with “me”, it cuts both ways; the “I” is made responsible for Olympic gold and failure
There are several angles I could criticise this article from. Depression on such a grand scale as we have in the modern West is not indicative of sick individuals, but of a sick society. Using the panacea of religion to mask the symptoms is no different to taking “happy pills”—though admittedly it’s less toxic to the body. The problem with drugs and religious placebos though is they divert attention to the symptoms rather than the disease, which is the modern catered lifestyle.
Religion has ever been the foil of privileged classes and entrenched inequalities, meekly giving “Caesar his due” and taking solace in otherworldly rewards, only today religion has to compete with palliative-consumerism for the hearts and minds of the flock. Indeed the religion Kay Stroud advocates is little different; it’s just another diversion, another commodity available to wealthy Westerners ailing under the luxury of depression. It sickens me when I read the sign down the road, “Jesus loves me; this I know”. Apparently Jesus hates the poor, who are brutalised or starve death in the “ungodly” regions of the world. One can point this out to the zealots but it’s wasted breath. They can rationalise anything. And that’s their function; they rationalise the unspeakable—which fosters their illusions in turn. Let them take up residence in one of the world’s tent cities or other places of real extremis, where feeling egotistically like a success or failure is profligate.
The Stoics had a much better philosophy; instead of presumptuously anticipating happiness and fulfilment, as if they’re God-given, recognise the God-given injustice of the world. Despise the happy pills and the placebos. Gird the loins and determine to change it—the world, not the symptoms
Posted by Squeers, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 8:37:25 AM
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Squeers, I endorse your sentiments. Humans have to learn to adjust to the reality of our world and their mortality. From this perspective, they must then change the world to make it a less threatening, more positive place.

If we replaced greed and competition with brotherly love and sharing, the world would improve dramatically. And we don't need belief in some mythical god to achieve it.

We could just use our vaunted intelligence for a change!
Posted by David G, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 9:40:54 AM
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The obsession with sports that will cause people to have an unbalanced life by devoting themselves to training and neglecting other aspects of life makes one less human. There is much wrong with society as Squeers states, and obsessions like the distortion of life in extreme athletic training do not help. The stoics had two ways of enjoining men to be wise, the study of physics (which meant the sciences and other knowledge in that time) and ethics and the frequent reference to the wise man, the undisturbed man. An obsession for sports or anything else for that matter is a mark of disturbance.

Unfortunately, those who would change the world often create tyrannies because they try to create a world to their liking which may not be to other people's liking. Although I can suggest improvements I do not have enough wisdom to say what an ideal world should be, and I don't think anybody else has either. I would resent someone trying to manipulate me to fit into their ideal world.
Posted by david f, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 10:09:00 AM
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I see it as a flaw in my psychological make-up that even by the end of the article all I could focus on was how your opening sentence, "There is nothing like the feeling of standing on the stage or dais clasping your hard-won medal in two hands to the sound of thunderous applause." was a slap-in-the-face reminder to so many paralympians they don't actually have two hands to do that.

But more than that you don' t seem to consider what motivates people who don't ever win any 'medals' in sport – as you empathetically put it, "having failed" – or in life.

You may even be right about many athletes spending large amounts of time alone and finding that preparation is a lonely time for them which may be why so many 'camaraderie' like rabbits whenever they can.

But ultimately you have to cope with the placebo effect an individual's mindset – what ever it is that works for them – or its absence creates.

An argument could be made for, at all times, imagining the absolute worst possible outcomes will occur – because they never do. So everything that happens is actually a bit better than you thought it might be.

This approach has the advantage that on the one occasion it doesn't pan out – you'll be dead – and what you think doesn't matter any more. Because you can't. Think that is.

It seems to me the problem for followers of Mary Baker Eddy is to deal with the issue that if Christ is responsible for them thinking well, why is he not responsible for them being ill in mind or body?

Here's a test for Christian Science in Queensland – learn to exclusively 'think media spokespersoning' and 'think legislative liaison' – and see how things progress.
Posted by WmTrevor, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 11:29:24 AM
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Oh god!

The main thing wrong with life today, in our western society is it is too easy.

It allows too many people too much time to sit meditating on their navel. Navel gazing is bad for most people, they try to indulge in an activity unusual for them, called thinking. All this does to many folk, is make them sorry for themselves.

Most avoid this unsettling activity by keeping busy, so busy they have no time for thought. Once thought intrudes they realise they have no idea of what they want.

This fabulous society however does allow anyone who is enough to hold their own hand, to do anything they want to do. There are no restrictions, but those we set upon ourselves.

Opportunities won't often come to you however. You have to go out & grab society by the neck, & shake what you want out of it. It is the lucky ones who have a passion, & chase it. Best of all you can get what you want without harming any one else.

I do feel sorry for those with only one passion. The joy of achieving your passion is heady stuff. I have known a couple of Olympic gold medalists, for whom life after their big moment was just one long anticlimax, so do try to develop another interest to replace your passion, when the time comes.

I am lucky, I have always had 3 other things I wanted to do, when I could find the time.
Posted by Hasbeen, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 11:32:03 AM
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Pyschology is big on self esteem. You really are a 'good ' person in fact you are a god. The fact that you have slept around, been unfaithful, lied on your worksheet, filled your life with porn is 'irrevelant'. The more we swallow this pseudo science secular junk the more people find out they are living a lie. When you can give up on trying to pretend you are good or god and receive the forgiveness of the only Good One you won't be lonely anymore. In fact you will be able to rest in the fact that your Creator loved you enough to die for your sins. When you realise that you were not made to be worshipped but to worship you might be a little less lonely. In fact a little self control might even take your mind off yourself and enable you to serve others other than yourself.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 11:55:27 AM
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