AI Self-Help Gurus? Why the Heck Not?
We already must get our inspiration from know-it-all tech bros who know very little
Just for shits and giggles, let’s take Medium.com as an example. Medium supposedly started boosting content from “real” experts and is giving people content based on their interests.
What I get on my feed is scammers trying to get me to try dubious practices to make money with ChatGPT or using Etsy to make passive income riches. I get tech bros trying to tell me how to live my life and deal with mental issues when they have neither lived a full life nor experienced mental illness first-hand.
Yet, someone like me, who has dealt with mental illness his whole long existence and has come out the other side with a different and better life and was told by doctors that he wouldn’t be normal and that I would be lucky if I survived in an asylum somewhere, is seeing his stories of surviving mental illness shunned in favor of white dudes and self-help gurus who may have a few letters after their name and a shiny piece of paper hanging on the wall.
I came out on the other side with a productive life. I beat the odds and am getting a degree, I am starting a business, I am raising a family, and beating the odds every day. And I am not the only one. There are hundreds of us telling stories of how we survived and thrived, yet we are being ignored in favor of these “experts.”
Let me tell you what these experts are doing! They are taking the combined knowledge of a bunch of old white boomer guys who wrote books like Think and Grow Rich, some motivational speakers they watched on YouTube, and spicing it up with a bit of stoicism and Buddhism, then regurgitating it all back to us like we should be grateful for all this new information.
Frankly, I started getting all my self-help from ChatGPT because it was trained on much of the same information that these self-help gurus ingested and gives much better answers to the questions. For example, let’s ask the AI how to deal with depression using a few prompt engineering tricks.
I want you to pretend you are a psychiatrist with over 50 years of experience treating patients with depressive illnesses and other mental health issues. I want you to lay out, step by step, how a person would start to help themselves out of a depressive episode. Give me 5 ways to begin.
As a psychiatrist with over 50 years of experience, I understand that depression is a complex illness that requires a holistic approach to treatment. Here are five steps a person can take to help themselves out of a depressive episode:
1. Seek Professional Help: The first step in helping oneself out of a depressive episode is to seek professional help from a mental health professional. A therapist or psychiatrist can help identify the cause of depression and provide effective treatments such as medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both.
2. Practice Self-Care: Depression can make it difficult to take care of oneself, but practicing self-care can help improve mood and overall well-being. This includes eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
3. Connect with Supportive People: Depression can be isolating, so it is important to connect with supportive people such as family, friends, or a support group. Talking about feelings and experiences with others who understand can help alleviate feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of belonging.
4. Set Realistic Goals: Setting small, achievable goals can help build self-confidence and provide a sense of purpose. These goals should be realistic and focus on activities that provide enjoyment or a sense of accomplishment.
5. Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help reduce stress and improve mood. These techniques can be practiced daily and may provide a sense of calm and inner peace.
Now, I don’t know how much of the expert material on Medium you have read, but this sounds more like tips that I could use. I have suggested some of these things myself because they are good solid advice from real experts who have written on the subject before.
But I know what this is missing, in order for this to qualify as the same drivel you get from the fake experts on Medium, you need some stoicism and “law of attraction” garbage mixed in. So, let’s see how we can help that.
Now, pretend you are still a psychiatrist with 50 years of experience, but now your intellect has been polluted by reading too many books on stoicism and the law of attraction. Now you are a self-help guru. What advice would you give someone suffering from depression?
As a psychiatrist with 50 years of experience and a keen interest in Stoicism and the Law of Attraction, I would advise someone suffering from depression to adopt a mindset that focuses on personal responsibility, gratitude, and positivity. Here are five tips that could help:
1. Practice Gratitude: Depression can make it difficult to see the positive things in life, but practicing gratitude can help shift the focus towards the good. Each day, take a few moments to write down three things you are grateful for, no matter how small they may seem.
2. Focus on What You Can Control: Depression can make a person feel helpless and out of control, but focusing on what you can control can help regain a sense of power. Identify the things you have control over, such as your thoughts, actions, and reactions, and work to improve them.
3. Reframe Negative Thoughts: Negative self-talk can fuel depression, so it’s important to learn to reframe negative thoughts. Instead of thinking “I can’t do this” or “I’m a failure,” try thinking “I am capable of doing this” or “I have accomplished many things in the past.”
4. Set Clear Goals: Setting clear, achievable goals can provide a sense of direction and purpose, and help you focus on what’s important. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps and celebrate each small victory along the way.
5. Take Action: Taking action towards your goals can provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. Whether it’s taking a small step towards a larger goal or tackling a task that’s been put off, taking action can help build momentum and improve mood.
Those aren’t half bad. I love the advice to set clear goals and take drastic action. I would give the same advice if someone asked me.
So, if you can get the same kind of advice you can get from the experts, and even from someone like me, who has been through this shit, why would you NOT listen to the AI instead of wasting your time with the new agey attraction bullshit?
What about in the future, when an AI psychiatrist is available who has been trained on the same things your human doctor has been trained on, and is available 24 hours a day, for advice, or just someone to talk to about your problems? Would you chat with an AI then instead of listening to a human expert?
You are looking at the future of mental health care. Get used to it! I, for one, am ready!
Maybe it’s time we started now and went to ChatGPT with all our self-help needs instead of wasting our time reading garbage on Medium.