A Different Look at our society and what may cause depression / anxiety and stress
I was invited to a talk at the PowerHouse in Brisbane last night, the talk was given by Johann Hard on his recent book “Lost Connections”. It was a powerful couple of hours in which we sat listening to him talk, not only about his journey through depression but about his research for this book.
To sum it up, Johann and I am pleased to say possibly many others in our community, states that yes there is definitely a biological aspect to how we feel, but this doesn’t explain why when in Australia we live such blessed lives but have the highest rate of anti depressant use in the world. One in ten of us are now medicated for depression or anxiety and the rate is getting higher. The World Health Organisation states that Depression is going to the be biggest risk factor by 2020 and suicide kills more of our young people than motor vehicles!!
Johann states that there are 9 reasons for depression and anxiety and so 9 different methods of treating them. All he says should be called anti depressants, because all work to alleviate the pain and suffering these conditions bring.
Here is a list of the causes and I would like you to have a guess at the anti-depressants” he says we should prescribe:
- – Disconnection from Meaningful Work
- – Disconnection from Other People
- – Disconnection from Meaningful Values
- – Disconnection from Childhood Trauma
- – Disconnection from Status and Respect
- – Disconnection from the Natural World
- – Disconnection from a Hopeful or Secure Future
- – Genes and Brain Changes
He ends his book by saying “You need your nausea. You need your pain. It is a message, and we must listen to the message. All these depressed and anxious people, all over the world- they are giving us a message. They are telling us something has gone wrong with the way we live. Ne need to stop trying to muffle or silence or pathologist that pain. Instead, we need to listen to it, and honour it.”
CALM is a one day suicide intervention prevention program which does all of what Johann talks about. We stop the world and slow things down, we focus on the person and their perspectives and their understandings of their world. We don’t judge, instead we listen with empathy and care. We don’t assess how high or low their risk is, instead we acknowledge their pain and then empower them to harness ways to keep themselves safe, whilst they work out what they can do to live a full and meaningful life. A life that is hopeful, based upon meaningful values, lived in a community where people care and are connected.
I acknowledge that not everyone with a mental health condition will consider suicide, and not everyone who considers suicide has a mental illness. But all have pain, a pain I think the word “psyche ache” captures well. As somebody who is on anti depressants I am in no way saying people shouldn’t access the help they need, but from this talk I have been reflecting that maybe that help is to be found in our world, in our hearts, rather than in a bottle.