21 Mar Johann Hari’s book “Lost Connections” makes so much sense to me.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll know that I’m reading a book that has caused me to have several epiphanic lightbulb moments. It’s called Lost Connections and is by a journalist called Johann Hari. As a sufferer of life-long depression he had always been prescribed medication to treat his condition but as the doses went up and the symptoms remained, he decided to embark on a journey to see if he could “uncover the real causes of depression and the unexpected solutions”.
I should just clarify at this point that I’m not on Johann’s payroll and I paid for my copy of the book so this is in no way a sponsored post. I had to write about it though, because so much in the book made so much sense to me. I am so nervous of the future that my children are heading into: a world where appearances seem to be the only thing that matter and a person’s worth can is measured by “likes” and flattering comments on social media. It breaks my heart to think that my kids are heading into such shallow waters. Of course, if this landscape doesn’t change then they will be headed for all sorts of mental health issues themselves; something I am determined for them to swerve if at all possible.
I have suffered from event-lead depression on multiple occasions in my lifetime. (don’t most of us?) and have taken medication to get me through those tough times. There’s no doubt that there is a place in mental health treatment for those meds. But for me now, challenged with getting a new career off the ground which involves an unhealthy amount of time spent posting on social media and dealing with fluctuating hormone levels (hello peri-menopause!), it was time to think outside the meds box.
Lost Connections seems to have the answers (for me) and resonated on so many levels (and I think it should be on the curriculum in secondary schools) but in a nutshell, we all need to communicate face to face more: to create communities where there are now none: I stood drinking a cuppa in my kitchen the other day, watching everyone else living their lives perfectly on Instagram, and I felt REALLY lonely. My best friend lives eighty miles away and I have no community to meet with in person to speak of.
We need to dump advertising that tells us we will be more beautiful, popular and skinny if we buy these products. We’re worth it, after all…
I want my children not to be bombarded with messages that tell them what they should have, what they should wear and that they won’t be cool without those things. I want them to grow up with different values and not to care what anyone else thinks of their choices. Hunter recently told me some of his school friends had made fun of him because he had painted toenails. I told him that next time that happens he should say to them “why do you care?” because kids shouldn’t care what other kids are doing or wearing and Hunter shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks of him and his choices, unless of course, it is unkind. Live and Let Live is surely the mantra we should be teaching our Smalls.
I am going to try and live my best life from here on in. I am going to try and wish everyone on my path the very best in life and I am going to try really hard not to feel envious of my peers (even when I scroll through pictures of their beautiful houses on Insta!).
I’m going to try and build real, fulfilling relationships and a community around my family. I’m going to try and give something back to the world around me and I’m going to let go of my ego as much as I can and maybe try to do some mindfulness and meditation to keep my head space a happy place.
If you, too, struggle with the ways we live in this Brave New World, then you could do worse than give this book a read.