Relationships as Medicine
Have you seen this video? A lonely man: overweight, treated with many kinds of medications, is advised by a nutritionist to adopt a shelter dog.
The nutritionist didn't prescribe more medication, didn't reproach the man for not eating well- she suggested a relationship as a way to start a new chapter.
Therapy is kind of like that too, by the way. However, at this moment I'm thinking about how powerful it is when people can make that gesture- instead of piling up those pills, supplements, shakes, smoothies, exercise drills, even meditation- offer the promise of a relationship.
We don't know why Eric found himself in this lonely space. We can assume that something got in the way between Eric and other people which did not allow him to get support from others. Perhaps he kept his feelings tucked inside of him. He says he became more and more ashamed of himself which made it even harder to ask for that support. He did ask for support from professionals, maybe some of them further shamed him (like the doctor who advised him to buy a burial plot- gee, that's helpful). Luckily, this nutritionist who gave him advice that really clicked.
Peety and Eric formed something that was not present in the world before they met. They formed their own ways of doing things, their rituals, their jokes, their shared moments. Their relationship was three dimensional: there was Eric, there was Peety and there were all those creative, unexpected things that happened between them. I think this is what made it so meaningful for Eric and that's what makes us feel empathy, tenderness and sadness when we watch Eric's video.
Medication saves lives, exercise regimes are useful and so is meditation. However, those things lack the three dimensionality that comes with a relationship between two living things (perhaps, more specifically: two mammals).
It was the relationship that made Eric feel alive again. He felt needed, trusted and capable- which, if you think about it, are necessary components for us to keep living in this strange world.
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