True Causes of Depression
In Johann Hari’s book ‘Disconnected’ I gained a lot of valuable insights into the true causes of depression. For example, there is a link between being unhappy and feeling depressed. That depression is an expression of grief. Grieving because your life is not as you would like because there is a conflict between your desires and your reality. A gap that your brain tries to bridge by working harder.
That depression means that the connection has been broken and the connection is re-established as a natural antidepressant. Depression can also arise when your environment or role changes. Especially if this role or environment gave meaning to your existence.
A meaningful life
According to Emily Esfahani Smith, a meaningful life fulfills three needs:
- The feeling that your life is valuable and useful.
- There is a higher purpose that contributes to the well-being of others.
- You see your life as a coherent whole, it is part of a bigger story.
When one or more of these needs are not met, your life can feel meaningless.
Restore the connection
To know how to restore the connection, you need to know in which areas the connection can be broken. I picked out the areas that were recognizable to me. For a complete overview, I refer to the book.
Connection with meaningful work
Meaningful work is work where you feel that it makes a difference, that it has an impact. A job that gives you the opportunity to grow, that challenges you in a healthy way, in which you gain control and can realize your ideas. Alias where you can use your creativity and creative power.
Connection with others
Connectedness is something we naturally need. When we cannot share the joyful and important moments in life with anyone, loneliness arises. We want to feel that we are not alone in the world, we want to be recognized for our existence. An emergency that we overcompensate for by posting every detail of our lives on social media.
Connection with meaningful values
In today’s society, many people pursue materialistic and/or extrinsic values. They strive for more money and possessions, they are concerned with what others think of them and they are focused on other people’s approval. But inner fulfillment is never found in things outside of yourself. Without intrinsic motivations , your life will continue to feel empty and unfulfilled.
Connection with a hopeful vision of the future
Nurturing a positive image of the future appears to protect you against the development of depression. As soon as you lose this image of the future, for example by losing your partner, job or health, you lose the larger framework of meaning in which everything in your life had a clear place.
The connection with yourself
During my first depressed period, which was accompanied by my burnout and a layoff for medical reasons, I mainly had to reconnect with meaningful work and fulfilling values. During my second depressed period, which came as a result of a breakup and a change of environment, I had to reconnect with others and look for a new vision of the future that was hopeful and gave me a meaningful framework.
The first step I had to take both times was to reconnect with myself and life by saying “yes” to it. After all, the connection with yourself is the basis of every other connection!