Updated: Jul 12
Epic Quarters for J.P. Morgan, Fentanyl, Depression and Anxiety.
Incredibly, at the same time, Texas Governor Abbott reported at a Dallas press conference in June that the Fentanyl business had an “epic” increase of 800% over the previous year. The Texas Department of Public Safety seized 21.5 million lethal doses. In the first five months of 2021. US deaths from this massively aggressive commodity harvested 42,687 lives in 2020.
I spoke to a brilliant academic administrator who had been a dean in three Ivy League universities. She told me how the majority of her time was spent finding and hiring mental health counselors to deal with the “epic” epidemic of anxiety. She described what she saw on these Ivy League campuses as a “A cesspool of Anxiety”. She left academia to become a psychoanalyst and help those she saw each day in her work. She became a personal part of the solution.
In a Pre-Pandemic survey of UHNW families conducted by Paracelsus Recovery and Campden Wealth, more than 70% of respondents said they face a mental health or addiction issue in their family. As many as 84 percent said they are concerned about potential damage to the family’s reputation. Without exception, all expressed concern about the destructive potential of bad decisions fueled by substance abuse.
Statistics from 2020 are still being tabulated but the percentages have received a major boost. The Pandemic has been devastating on the mental health of many and long-term effects are predicted to compound them even more over the coming years.
In Part 1 of this blog, I want to posit some questions about these three “epic” realities. In Part 2, I will continue and discuss personal responses and answers to help individuals, families, leaders, wealth managers, family offices and others deal with their own challenges and opportunities. In part 2, I want to talk about the “epic" devastation addiction is wreaking on our youth and society.
In these articles I want to present an integrated and interconnected response to these three epic issues:
1. EPIC increase in the financial positions of many in the U/HNW* demographic. (U/HNW - Ultra/High Net Worth)
2. EPIC increase in the supply of death-delivering and legacy killing drugs.
3. EPIC increase in the onslaught of anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
In the first article, two questions call for our attention:
Question 1: It is Possible to Leverage “Epic” #1 to Help Us Personally Deal with Our Own Challenges With “Epic” #2 and #3?
In a word, no! The belief that having the financial influence to gain access to the best professionals or programs, will result in relief from deep pain, anxiety, depression or life destroying substances is seldom true. Money cannot ever buy relief for our suffering.
A client of ours recently told us his old uncle had been in over 47 rehabs. They were the best money could afford. His parents, who had been paying for the rehabs, told him that they would not be available to pay for number 50 which was likely just around the corner. They cut him off from any further financial help.
How is it that our own anxiety can sky rocket even while our portfolios are doing the same? How can we feel smaller and less in control when our financial future is so secure, growing and opening more possibilities? It is a condition I have observed regularly. Maybe you have experienced it.
We must engage the human psyche at a deeper level in order to effect the deep change we all know is needed. One of the most powerful laws of life is this: We are more likely to find our own healing when we give from our own basket to help others who are struggling along, who have less than us, and struggle on the same road we are travelling on.
“Man can only find meaning for his existence
in something outside himself.” Viktor Frankl
One of the great truths of life is found in looking outside our own pain and problems. When we are in the midst of our own pain and confusion, we must stop, disengage. We need to look outside ourselves and become aware of others who share our struggles, pain and confusion.
Having resources and options to help manage our own issues will seldom be enough to bring lasting healing. We are left wanting more but never attaining it just like my client's uncle.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
When we only look inward, refusing to first engage our power to touch and impact the lives of others, our souls gets smaller. I believe that when we begin to look beyond our own pain and invest in the lives of others in need, we begin to change, heal and grow.
The simple act of engaging with others and asking how they are doing even while we ourselves are in pain, begins a transformation. We realize we are not alone and that others struggles might in fact be far worse than our own. When we focus on others and how we can impact their lives, we often find our that own issues moderate, our pain lessens and personal clarity results.
Extending your hand and wallet like The Good Samaritan is a great model to follow. The Good Samaritan didn’t just ignore the man in pain like others who had just walked by. He didn’t just throw some money at him to relieve his conscience and sense of personal responsibility. He stopped, talked to the injured man, assessed his condition, took him to a hotel and paid for his recovery. The Good Samaritan looked like he was a busy man, on his way to work or important destination. He could have simply walked on by, feigning ignorance or simply factoring the injured man would find a way to care for his own injuries. He reached out with his life and resources and helped restore the man to life.
Having much doesn’t make you any more human or worthy of special care than others. If you are blessed in this way, you should be very grateful for it. While expensive and high-quality care may be available to you and you may be free from the care of wondering how you might pay for it, this very fact does not and should not blind you to the needs of those who have less than you.
I wonder how “epic” you would feel by looking beyond your own needs to see deeply into the lives of others. How “epic” would your life be if your resources were not simply given to an organization that “helps others” at a distance if you were to reach out personally instead to someone you know or come across. If you were to throw yourself into their struggles personally. If you were to walk with them in their walk through life, your own life would radically and forever be changed.
Question 2: How Much Pleasure Can Our “Epic” Portfolios Buy That Will Distract Us, Numb Us, Satiate Our Senses or Simply Create the Prescribed Escape?
How often have you seen people attempt to buy themselves out of anxiety, depression and addiction? I have met many. I have given it a go at times in my life. Here are some of the things we try: Removing ourselves to some exotic location, going on a shopping "safari" to add to our already huge collection of never worn shoes, clothes or toys, buying the company of "friends" to party, playing and distracting ourselves or maybe flooding your senses by being pampered at some 5 Star Spa experience. Don't forget the easiest and quickest option, substances, legal and illegal.
These strategies may work for a while, but they only deliver more hopelessness when we hoping we rely on them to meet the deepest needs of our souls.
The more you believe money has the power to insulate, isolate, entertain, pleasure or protect you from the maladies of those with limited resources, the more disillusioned you will become.
“When a man cannot find meaning, he numbs himself with pleasure.”
A prime example is the recent tragedy of Tony Heish, billionaire founder of Zappos. Tony was the happiness guru who authored, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose”.
Let me tell you about a man names Tony. Tony was suffering from depression, addiction and other deep personal issues. His response was to surround himself with “advisors” whose job it was to keep him company, create distractions, supply him with drugs and procure sexual partners.
Tony’s life ended like a Shakespearean tragedy. His house burned (likely a suicide), his life extinguished and his friends scattered.
Great economies, massive increases in wealth and amazing success cannot cure what ails the human heart and mind. Many at J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and other corporations are living in a world of increasing and “epic” success. That success builds portfolios and enhances the options and experiences of life. At the very same time addiction, anxiety, depression and even suicide are concurrently trending upwards at similar or even higher rates.
We have long embraced the illusion that money and the power it can procure for us create options that can somehow fix our families and possibly our own lives. We have found ways to hide out in Malibu or a European rehab/spa. When we begin to number our visits and those of family members, they climb quickly.
How about doing something magnificent! Why not think about and plan, an EPIC QUEST, where you do something so amazing that it touches the lives of lots and lots of people. Why not you? If you have "Epic" resources use them to make an "Epic" impact.
There are hurting people everywhere. There is so much you can do if you simply open your eyes and heart to those around you. Be one of those who takes some of what the markets have blessed them with and change a life forever.
Mark R Demos
Founder - The Legacy Forum
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