When did "emotion" become a dirty word? Okay, I know with our uptight society people - especially men - have always been encouraged to suppress their emotions, but nowadays it seems to be bordering on the ridiculous.
While doctors have always had that old stand-by valium to hand out to women with "nerves," they now have a plethora of anti-depressants, anti-anxietals, and a cornucopia of other mood altering drugs. In the old days if you wanted that variety of ways to alter your perceptions, you'd have to hope to know a good chemist. Now all you need is a doctor and a prescription pad.
Of course there are differences now. Nasty occurrences while taking the medications are no longer called bummers or bad trips, but are given the lovely euphemism of "side effects". No matter what you call them, cramps, headaches, bathroom troubles, and the risk of nightmares seem to be a heavy price to pay just to control your emotions.
Before I go any further let me say that there are times when these types of medications are a necessity. For the person who just can't cope with whatever their own personal demons are, they can provide the needed respite that will allow them to work with a therapist. Anti-anxiety medications are especially beneficial in those instances as they allow the patient and doctor to work at finding the underlying cause of the problem without increasing the symptoms.
Of course there are also those people whose only chance at normalcy comes from taking medications. Those who have been correctly diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders must rely on drugs or find themselves in institutions where the drugs are guaranteed to steal more then they give back.
But there comes a time when we have to deal with emotions and not suppress them, or we loose a part of our humanity. Compassion grows out of empathy and empathy can only exist if we experience emotions. How can you empathise with someone's tears if you have never felt sadness, or their joy if you've never felt happiness?
When you're walking down the street and you see a child in tears your first instinct is usually to find out if it's hurt, lost, or anything else wrong. Why is it so different when we see an adult in the same circumstance? How many of us can honestly say they don't feel a little twinge of fear if they see an adult they don't know - or even one they do know - in some sort of extremity of emotion?