When I first started to work as a physician we had lots of patients in mental health services who were depressed and exhausted. Sick leave was often discussed. This is certainly the case nowadays, too. But that time, the common understanding in the society was that negative events and bad circumstances in private life were so burdening that people could not find the strength and energy for work life. Intimate partner violence, infidelity, severe illness in close ones and alike burdens were consequently discussed to understand why life has crushed the person so that s/he felt unable to work. Over the years, the story has been totally reversed. Nowadays, the common understanding is that work life is the problem. Work is too demanding and too little fulfilling, workmates negative, dreams broken because of work; therefore, people cannot fulfil their commitments in and enjoy their private live. Work is dangerous.
In Finland we appreciate (adore) strong leaderhsip. In work life, leadership has for quite a long time been emphasized more and more, and along this, responsibility for everybody’s success, work performance or personal happiness has been increasigly placed on the shoulders of anyone who is a manager, a boss, or a group leader. But the pendulum has obviously reached the far end and is turning to the other direction. Seminars of how to be a constructive employee have started to emerge.
Everything is moving on pendulum. This is well obvious in fashion. Skirts become shorter and shorter until they start to get longer and longer again. Shoulder line becomes broader and broader until everybody looks really ridiculous, and then a more natural look starts to feel fresh again. What was earlier a vice or a sin becomes a virtue, for example daily drink (althout disagreement persists whether or not it only can be quality red wine), eating chocolate (but it has to be dark!), masturbation, and infidelity in relationship (although it is presented as a duty to follow your heart). Being selfish is an important skill to learn, and keeping your home neat and tidy equals to OCD.
Psychiatry has a long and unpleasant history of blaming mothers of all kinds of mental disorders people can have. I don’t know if this was connected to the notion that mothers have to be perfect and that motherhood has to be the fulfilment of a woman’s life, so that a mother who is tired or dissatisfied is a failure and a disgrace. Then we became aware of maternal depression, and then we accepted that even mothers may have personal needs and ambitions beyond being a mother. Then we accepted that many mothers are tired and that nursing a baby may be quite hard, psychologically and physically. And now it is almost a must to suffer from motherhood and feel frustrated and terrified of losing your own life and disappointed and overwhelmingly tired so that if there is a mother who is happy and mentiones the best time of her life, she will be verbally stoned. Mothers spoil the life of their children has turned to children spoil the life of their mothers.