For long-term listeners, Dr Gabor Maté needs little introduction. This episode will be his fourth appearance since we first met in 2018 and I cherish our meaningful, valuable conversations. Gabor is a fellow physician, renowned author, speaker and friend. His is one of the most important voices globally on health, trauma, stress, addiction, and childhood development.
Gabor believes that many of the physical and mental conditions doctors see can be traced back to our earliest experiences and subsequent environmental influences. In his most recent book, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture, he joins the dots between individual trauma and the pressures of modern-day living.
We begin by discussing what’s behind the current mental health epidemic. In the UK, one in six people over the age of 16 report moderate to severe depression; eight million people have an anxiety disorder. The statistics are more startling in North America. It’s almost ‘normal’ to have some sort of mental health dysfunction. Gabor and I explore our current day mental health epidemic, discuss the causes and potential solutions.
Gabor explains that the most important factor for good mental health throughout life is the parent-child relationship, especially in the early years. Children need parents and caregivers who are present and emotionally attuned. Sadly, these days, the stresses of modern life can prevent some parents from being able to provide these things, despite their best intentions.
We discuss the various ingredients that all human brains need for healthy development, the critical need within all of us to be able to express our authentic selves, why blaming and shaming is unnecessary and unhelpful and the importance of being open and vulnerable.
We also discuss, in depth, Gabor’s recent live interview with Prince Harry, which received a significant amount of negative press. As is often the case, parts of the interview were used out of context across mainstream and social media, and what in my view, was a thoughtful, enlightening exploration of mental health became widely misrepresented and misunderstood.
This public criticism certainly took its toll on Gabor and he openly shares what he has personally learned by going through this experience. We also explore what Prince Harry’s story (and the polarising views that surround it) can potentially teach all of us, both individually and societally.
This really was a special conversation. A conversation that, at its core, has a message of hope and optimism. It is only by recognising where we currently are, that we can move on and create a better future. Gabor and I discuss the practical steps we can all take in order to better our lives and heal.
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Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/362
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