Tuesday, October 1, 2019

We must seek genuine connection

Say "Amen!"

That was my reaction to Johann Hari's Lost Connections. In a world of health-insurance companies, Big Pharma and connection gone wild, Lost Connections emerged to point out that depression isn't all in our heads and to be remedied by pills.

The book came out last year, and I responded to it spectacularly and blogged about it on Easter 2018. The main point of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression — and the Unexpected Solutions is that the real causes of depression are more cultural and external than with the conventional thinking with an individual's chemical imbalance.

The lost connections that lead to depression are a disconnection from 1) meaningful work, 2) other people, 3) meaningful values, 4) childhood trauma, 5) status and respect, 6) nature and 7) a hopeful and secure future.

Living a well-rounded life is a work in progress. Since I read Lost Connections, I have tried to improve these seven connections. For me, the surprising one that I didn't realize I needed help was nature. As a self-pronounced city boy, y'know kind of like Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, I have connected with nature more, and that does actually help me feel better.

One thing I love about Lost Connections is that it offers ideas and solutions and is not just an indictment of Big Pharma, which needs to be indicted — literally, although we can just do that to specific companies. I see the new tobacco companies are now Big Pharma, Big Tech and politics. The three are serving up fear, anxiety, sickness and death of the body, soul or brain. Sadly, this is not hyperbole.
So Hari examined this landscape, looked at his own past prescriptions and put together a tour de force of what is actually happening. I have found that way too many Americans take pills for low-level anxiety or what I call natural depression. I believe it's OK to feel anxiety and depression, to a degree. The average person does not need Big Pharma to work out low-level anxiety and depression.

This is where I get upset about what I have seen with a few friends who have gone down the rabbit hole of meds, even though it was borderline if they should have been prescribed any in the first place. Once the meds start, it can be extremely difficult to stop.

The United States has become a fantasyland of sorts with many "connected" through artificial means, like the phone, as opposed to actually being connected. A lot of what we perceive as connections are not connections. I am inspired by Hari to seek genuine connections in my life, and when those happen, I feel more alive and human.

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