Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ new song “Kevin” hits the proverbial nail on the head.

As a mental health and personal growth professional, I was shocked and impressed by the profundity of Macklemore’s and Ryan Lewis’ commentary on the “medicalization of normal life” in America with their new song ‘Kevin’. Since I’m not used to seeing the truth as I see it laid out so clearly, yet in a poignantly emotional way, my attention was immediately captured and my heart was racing as I listened to his words.

Although I’m under no pretense that the endemic lies just within our borders (nor are the artists, surely), their lyrics presented in context at the American Music Awards pushed the envelope at a time when the world recovers from the shock of recent, well-televised terrorist attacks. I can imagine, as with any emotionally traumatic event, people turn to whatever coping mechanisms allow them to continue their life as normal, not wanting to rock the boat for fear of losing the delicate balance of their existence, maybe so they can retire someday and then, truly start to enjoy the life they put off for so long. Some of those coping mechanisms are prescribed drugs that people take whenever their experience of life overwhelms, and in times of crisis that are global, regional, or personal.

Yet Macklemore and Lewis challenge us, not to completely throw away the drugs that keep us sane, but to question the ubiquity of their influence on ourselves, our relationships, and our lives. Ask yourself, what DID humans do before prescription drugs to process the effects of stress and trauma on their bodies, and on their psyches? Far be it for anyone to say what is ‘normal,’ so let’s really clear the slate and ask ourselves what is really needed, versus what enables us to continue an unsustainable trajectory of growth and consumption.

What’s the solution? I don’t know. But I think the conversation is valuable, and I encourage my community to keep it alive until we’ve rebuilt the healthy social supports that enliven us, rather than treat symptoms in ways that kill us.

Thanks @macklemore and @ryanlewis. You are leaders, and an inspiration for a higher standard of living.


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NB: The referenced links above do not represent my perspective on these issues, they are just resources to keep reading on this issue.