Why We’re All Going To Die

Depression and suicide rates are at the highest they’ve ever been. No one quite understands why these rates have skyrocketed as much as they have. What exactly causes depression? What has allowed this illness to grow so much in recent years? 

Depression is commonly thought to be caused by a deficiency of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, however, many experts in the field disagree. The statement that serotonin deficiencies cause depression is a gross oversimplification that ignores mountains of research. The book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression- And the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari talks about how this narrative of serotonin is largely pushed upon us by drug companies trying to sell us their product. Hari writes about how most of the causes of depression go much deeper than one neurotransmitter.

Hari details seven different causes of depression that seem all too familiar to most Americans: disconnection from others, disconnection from childhood trauma, disconnection from meaningful work, disconnection from meaningful values, disconnection from status, disconnection from a hopeful future, and disconnection from nature. All of these causes are so commonplace in our lives that it is no wonder depression rates are sky high. We are constantly disconnected from others, choosing to rather live with our phones than with our friends; since we have very few true friends, we suppress our trauma and tell no one about it; we go to work at a job we don’t enjoy; we work at the job every day to buy meaningless material goods; we work under a boss who doesn’t respect or care about us; we barely scrape by on each paycheck and don’t know if we will have enough to get by on tomorrow; we do all this trapped indoors in a small claustrophobic cubicle or desk devoid of nature. Even one of these causes is more than sufficient enough to cause depression. However, many of us face not just one, but frequently, most, if not all, of these causes every day. 

What is the solution? It depends on who you are. Look for the things in your life that are distressing you, and try to change that aspect of your life. Reach out to friends and family for help. Join an online community of people who are also struggling. 

Most importantly, don’t give up.