Book Review

Lost Connections

Have you ever felt a horrible sense of dread when you check your Wi-Fi and see the worst two words in the world? No Connection.

Panic and disappointment set in and all that has happened is that we’ve lost internet connection, so just imagine what happens when we lose connection to the things that really matter. When we are no longer connected to our communities, to nature, to meaning and to respect. Unfortunately the warning lights are less obvious for those lack of connections.

A few years ago now I first wrote about Johann Hari, after buying and devouring his book Lost Connections where he explores scientific research on the effect of losing these connections. The book is beautifully written, a real eye opener – I highly recommend reading it if you or anyone you love has ever been diagnosed with any depression or anxiety disorders. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Being disconnected from the things that matter most to us as a species is becoming more common in the world we live in today. Even more so since I first wrote this article pre-covid. The disconnection we felt in a covid world was monumental, and we all felt it. Many of us still do and the rates in diagnosis’s of depression and anxiety are on the rise across the planet.

The Story

The story we are being told by medical professionals is that our brain chemicals are faulty. There’s something wrong with our serotonin levels, or our receptors. We are given pills to fix it, but for the majority of people the sadness still comes through. The dose increases, and we feel better for a time, but it seeps back to the surface.

This story is comfortable. It’s easy for us to like because it removes our responsibility to face into what is causing us pain. It’s our body which is faulty, not our lives, our environment, or our values.

It’s comfortable for “the powers that be” – if something was fundamentally damaging about the way are living, big dramatic changes to the status quo would be required.

And call me a cynic, but it’s very comfortable for the drug companies – you don’t make much money prescribing time in nature, laughing with friends or giving back to your community.

I need you to know that I’m not against anti-depressants, they are a good tool. I think that short-term they can give you the strength you need to make the changes required for you to live a happier life. They can help you steady your ship. What needs to go along with this is taking steps to fix what is broken or finding ways to build more joy and resilience into life so you can cope better with a shitty, mundane job or big scary responsibilities that can’t just be sacked off. Let’s face it, life can’t be all rainbows and butterflies.

I’m not suggesting that if you feel anxious or depressed that it is your own fault. It is not. I’m saying that perhaps the situation you are in is damaged, not you.

As someone I look up to often says, “it’s not so much about what is wrong with you, but about what has happened to you.”

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