Sherlock and the Mystery of Disappearing Depression

Though I’ve not read much of Conan Doyle I’m a fan of the BBC series Sherlock. So I’m temporarily giving up my blog to Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and Freeman’s Dr John Watson to discuss a great mystery… why “mental illness” can disappear.

“Sherlock have you seen this report. Shortly after 9pm on New Year’s Day, the UK saw a dramatic remission in cases of depression across the nation as people settled down to watch the latest episode of Sherlock,” said Watson.

“I really don’t know where they get these stories from,” said Sherlock, “but the effect is well-known. It’s called distraction anaesthesia in some circles but that’s rather dismissive. It is the cause of some extraordinary recoveries from so-called mental or so-called physical ailments. You know the one I cured you of shortly after we met.”

“What ailment did you cure in me?”

“The one you were in long-term therapy for. Your psychosomatic limp.”

“You didn’t cure me. I just forgot.”

“It’s amazing what people just forget. All right, but you became absorbed into a new situation. You moved on from your thinking that made a “need” to limb. That’s what happened on New Year’s day. Millions of people got absorbed into the extra-ordinary world of Sherlock Holmes and left all their cares and concerns to one side. Temporarily depression and anxiety left.” Sherlock eyes narrowed.

“And yet there were also hundreds of thousands of people who stared at the screen and replayed in the back of their minds all their old miseries and they stayed depressed…. So it’s not the outside world that determines the effect. Do you know Sherlock every single diagnosed mental illness goes into spontaneous remission sometimes? Bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, ADD the list goes on and on and on. And it is a complete mystery why this happens.” Doctor Watson said.

With excitement Sherlock declares “And I just love mysteries. John, finally your blog can useful. Go on write something I’m investigating the mystery of disappearing mental illness. Why do these conditions go into remission? And can the remission be made permanent? What is the role of THOUGHT and thinking (perhaps they aren’t the same thing)?”

Sherlock raises his hands up in a sudden movement “Of course… it’s just like I said in that case about the fake painting. The art of disguise is hiding in plain sight. That’s what thought or thinking does. We think we would notice it but we are so hooked in by it we can’t see it. Thought changes moment by moment, but as it changes we blame the outside world for it rather than admit our thinking has changed. Hidden in plain sight.”

Several minutes pause while Doctor Watson hurriedly types and Sherlock peers over him.

“Done.” said Dr Watson.

“Have you hooked that thing up to Twitter? Oh, no. Here comes the rubbish.”

A few minutes later Dr Watson reads out one of the responses “Yes, it can be done permanently. Often takes a bit of time, though not always. Initial results can be almost instantaneous. Permanent needs a growth in understanding. Basically the ability to spot thought needs to improve, which generally involves less thinking and having a quieter mind. The faster you can spot thought and the less you are taken in with thought, the less stress you’ll have and the better you become.

“There are some cases studies on bipolar, schizophrenia and depression remissions.”

Sherlock exclaimed, “Really? How extra-ordinary. A cause of stress that many of us don’t even think about. The thinking, or our relationship to it, is the cause, and it can make all the difference between normality and a diagnosable mental illness, or remission from the same.

“Hold on. I think fast. And I’m not mentally ill.”

“Well that’s a matter of opinion.” Sherlock glared at Watson. “You say that yourself.”

Sherlock relaxes “So, I do.”

“But don’t you get your best insights when you are taking time out. You know to do that in all your most puzzling cases. You seem to do a different type of thinking then. More about letting the thoughts flow. And then you come up with those amazing insights.”

“Yes, I do think differently when I do that but I always put that down to the nicotine patches” replied Sherlock.
“As you were saying “hidden in plain sight”, I wonder how many other people are being wound up right now believing thinking that’s just an illusion.”

Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes continued to receive messages on this subject from their readers for years to come. Many of their insights can found in a different form on this blog or in my webinars.

Our mental health and well-being are also hidden in plain sight.

Details of my next webinar can be found here. Please go here to register.

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