This post comes on the heels of reading Johann Hari’s brilliant book “Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions“. Hari, J. (2018). Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression – and the unexpected solutions. London, Bloomsbury. Here’s a link to it at Amazon.ca And here’s the link if you use Chapters/Indigio.
In the book Hari delves into the many causes of depression – veering away from the medical/pharmaceutical model, and into, finally (for me), a much more systemic model. He posits nine causes of depression and anxiety – all around the axis of disconnection: Disconnection from meaningful work, other people, meaningful values, childhood trauma, status and respect, the natural world, a hopeful and secure future, and combines changes in your brain and the expression of genes as the eighth and ninth (Hari, 2018). So as you can see, some of us believe deeply in our complexity as beings, and thus in the fact that depression can not be “cured” with one simple thing – and certainly not a pill.
It stands to reason then that help for depression MUST come in many forms. It must revolve around connections to what we have lost. It must be understood in our experience of alienation from the things that would support us, make us feel valued and whole in our lives. Depression has a fantastic way of making us turn inward, of isolating ourselves, thereby keeping depression’s voice strong and unassailable. It works hard to make us believe in our unworthiness, which it needs to survive. Depression is very sneaky that way. It filters out what’s good and necessary in our lives and makes those necessary things seem dangerous, unkind, or not useful. And thus it thrives. When we reach out to those who love us, those who would support us, when we reach out to what once nurtured us, made us feel whole, things that corresponded with our value system when we were well… well then depression doesn’t stand much of a chance really. It really doesn’t.
So .. I will leave you here. I will implore you all to read the book. To my therapist colleagues… please read this and allow it to inform your work.