A theory on why people suffer from mental illnesses

Movies that hold a plot twist need to be watched a minimum of two times to be understood and such is the case with the cult movie “Fight Club”.  Although it is a great movie, I do not recommend it for people that have a lose grasp on reality because oh boy, you might go mad for a tiny little bit!

A short summary of the movie!

The narrator (for he is not referred by his name) is living a monotonous life where he burns himself out in his passionless work, buys furniture that he does not need for his house, suffers from insomnia and finds relief by going to every support group there is by pretending to be sick from every disease there exists. He then meets Tyler, a cool guy who sells soap *cool is in quotation marks because every guy wants to be Tyler the cool* and right after that, his house explodes in a fire and he is forced to go live with Tyler. Tyler shows him another world where to find relief they fight with each other. Their fights are brought to the attention of other people and soon, many people join their ranks and thus the “Fight Club” is born as a way to get out the anger people have with their lives.

Voilaa! You know the rest how it goes and if you have not watched it then it is okay because the movie is not the central point of this writing.

In the movie, people find relief by fighting with each other and one of the rules is “When the person yells to stop or faints, the fight is over.” This is the main point I am focusing on. In a world hit by capitalism and a need to buy and buy to feel happiness and feel validated, these people find relief from their failures by fighting almost to death. Yet, although they are getting hit, and blood is bursting out of their mouth, and their whole muscles are tense and working to a maximum, they know there is an emergency button. Yell and it will stop! The whole point of the fight is to feel your adrenaline rushing in your veins as your life is getting hit to the marrow and your brain turns on all the lights while in a “Fight or flight” mode! The adrenaline caused by this mode that is lead solely by an instinct to protect your life or flee from getting hit is the medicine to frustration and depression.


We need adrenaline. We need to be confronted with death or a situation where our life and goals are on the line so we can be truly happy and relieved when we survive and we can exhilarate our feeling of being alive. We are surrounded by comfort and worthless products that we cannot and are not allowed to truly feel relieved to be alive. We are sandwiched between laws that protect others and protect us and then we fall into depression because there is no adrenaline. They have created a system where we think buying a cute car will make us happy but this happiness does not last. The body is alerted to feel good when we reach the goal of purchasing a car, but the body never reaches adrenaline, and thus we seek something bigger than a car and the cycle goes on and each time we want something more expensive but the catch is, it is all worthless for our mind and body will never reach what it is seeking. What we are seeking is actually in the slums. What we can achieve through this capitalist lifestyle is only depression or whatever name you call it.

Are animals depressed?

It is difficult to study animals in the wild but it is assumed they do not feel depression and do not experience any other mental illness. Meanwhile, animals that are living in cages and are getting their food by this white-and-blue-dressed man through the bars, can actually feel depression. So, why is that?

They are depressed because they cannot feel adrenaline. They are not being chased by their predator, their body is not going into fight or flight mode. They are not being allowed to drink from the cup of sweet life oh life!

This is why humans are suffering from severe depression and do not feel satisfied by life. Yes, in order to be civilized and not become victims or predators, we need a system of laws and we need something to create a sensation similar to the adrenaline one through jobs, products, success and whatnot.  

But being confronted with a job problem, or a bankruptcy does not lead to fight or flight mode. These daily issues, although nerve wrecking, are just not big enough to lead to adrenaline. Thus, when the body is alerted to something exciting going on, but not exciting enough to reach adrenaline, then it eventually leads to depression. And when the body is never alerted to anything that can make you feel happy to have survived, happy to drink from the cup of sweet life, then this also leads to depression. That is why animals in captivity can suffer from mental disorders and acts of unexplained rage, but animals in the wild do not.

I am remembering some articles I read of two lions that were kept in captivity together and one day unexplainably one of them attacked the other and killed them. I do not want to suggest anything because this territory is very sensitive (but I guess I am assuming something anyway), yet I keep thinking of an explanation to these psychopaths that go into rage sprees (although their rage sprees are most of the times a calm process, hmmmm) and of suicide bombers. Maybe this is what happens to some animals (humans) that are kept in captivity and their brain snaps because they have no adrenaline and then boom! This is just a flawed theory and I do not want to justify them btw (people need a reminder all the time or they jump to other’s people throats).

I guess this is the idea around Fight Club as well. Yes, they had rules in order to not kill each other, but nevertheless fighting helped them reach a higher level of adrenaline than is otherwise possible in our society. Adrenaline kicks in just to avoid potential injury as well.

This is another sensitive territory and I do not want to offend anyone, but I was thinking whether people who seek suicide as a solution to their inner struggles, feel adrenaline during their last moments. At that point, it must be too late for them to fight or flight, but they still must feel the joy of living at its fullest. I guess the reason why suicidal people find relief with cutting is also behind this. They try to damage themselves, to produce the conditions of a hunt in the wild, except in this case they are their own predator and they are trying to fight against their mind. First they start with cutting, and then they want more and more until it is not enough and they end up dead because they are taking it from the wrong side of tracks.

Why do adventure movies and TV shows become so popular?

Adding more to my theory (is this a theory?). So what we are seeking in life is adrenaline which will make us realize we are happy to be alive. Maybe this is one of the reasons why TV-shows like La Casa de Papel, Sense8, Game of Thrones and such are so popular. When we jump and our heart clenches when the characters of La Casa de Papel are facing a life or death situation, we are experiencing something similar to adrenaline. It is like a medicine that fakes in our brains the feeling of adrenaline and we are excited for a while. But watching adventure and action movies and TV-shows is not enough. Nairobi from La Casa de Papel says in one scene “We are adrenaline junkies”. This is what we all aim to be. This is the reason why we all think of adventures (that we may or may not do) and ways to break the law but without breaking the law (because we like the comfort of being safe despite it being the root of all our problems.) This is why we do not remember with much joy the memories when we were holding this golden cup because we won the race, but we remember with joy the memories when we were sneaking in or out of a place and we were in fear of being caught. We all want to be in dangerous situations (but we prefer an emergency button either way).

Yet, I remember that Yossarian in the book Catch 22 was in a state of depression due to him having to fly missions and risking his life every time he rose for the skies. When he was flying, his brain was feeling adrenaline and he was trying to survive and fight with all of his cells. But when he was on land, away from the risk, he just wanted to go home and was going insane from fear of dying on his next mission. This makes me think of soldiers. Do they feel adrenaline? Do they feel joyful for living yet another day? Why so many of them fall pray of depression when they come back from their missions? Why so many of them are frustrated? I guess one needs a set of conditions set forth to truly enjoy the feeling of adrenaline.

Thus, to conclude, the fact we are not surviving and our basic instincts are not being put to much use, is the cause of our downfall. Since we seek consumerism as a medicine, all other problems follow. We are not anymore happy because we bought this expensive bag and in an effort to feel something near adrenaline, we pollute the environment as well.  

I am not saying we need to break the law to feel good. I am only suggesting that in order to live in a state of safety and comfort, we have sacrificed our joy of life. Yet, I would not want to be hunt down by predators and I enjoy watching an action movie in the comfort of my home. But oh my, oh my, surely enjoying little adventures with your friends where you try to feel something near adrenaline by sneaking out, or jumping fences is harmless stuff.

Yet, I wonder if creativity is one of the most positive by-products of our saga of consuming, working and being unhappy. If we were seeking adrenaline without reins, we would probably not create. I wonder why!

Sometimes I fear expressing everything that goes on through my mind because people are sensitive and also because of the fear of implanting a dangerous idea into the brain of some people. In the movie Inception, they talk about how implanting a small idea in the form of assumption in a dream can have huge ripple effects in real life. I just hope people do not take my writing literally and realize that it is too flawed and disorganized (although I wonder if anyone read till the end xD). I realize I need to do some research before coming forth with these ideas but here we are and I have not. So long amigos!

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