I just recently read a book entitled “Lost Connections“. Interesting read about why there are so many depressed and anxious people around. I really enjoyed the first few chapters of the book. I always thought that mental health professionals were too quick to prescribe mind-altering drugs when the came across people with these two problems. It’s an easy solution.
Johann Hari is the author. He spends a lot of time looking at what he has gone through in terms of the treatments offered to him for his own depression. The main thesis of the book is that there may be others reason for depression and anxiety other than a chemical imbalance in the brain. He then spins it back to a series of lost connections: loss of connections to society, loss of connections to friends and family and others.
One interesting section of the book discusses our obsession with smartphones and other technology toys. The issue is how it’s changing us:
If you are a typical Westerner in the twenty-first century, you check your phone once every six and a half minutes. If you are a teenager, you send an average of one hundred texts a day. And forty-two per cent of us never turn our smartphones off, ever.”
He elaborates further to say that when we look for a reason, we keep being told that there is something in the technology itself that keeps us hooked. It’s like a salty snack that hooks us so that we keep eating more. Look at this fellow’s website for further elaboration on how we are possibly being manipulated: Nir and Far.
From personal experience, I can attest to that. I have an obsession with smartphones. I buy them, try them, sell them, return them. I have done this constantly and repeated. And I know of a number of other individuals who have the same “addiction”. I look at smartphone reviews (some of them have “views” on YouTube that number in the millions, so I’m not alone out there). There are many of us out there.
The explanation may be that we are escaping anxiety and our depression by keeping ourselves busy with our toys. Do we escape anxiety and depression through distraction? Do we become a member of a tribe of like-minded individuals? Do we create an alternate reality to hide from our pain, our isolation? If that’s the case, it doesn’t seem to be working very well.
What’s Up With Me?
I know that in my own case, it doesn’t help a fat lot. I spend a lot of time playing with my smartphones. But over time it has become less and less gratifying. It’s become quite a bore and quite a choir. Can you imagine the effort required to get all this stuff and then return it or sell it? I can’t even imagine the number of packages anymore. And there are many online stores that will feed this pathology. For example, the Microsoft Store has a thirty-day return policy and free returns. Buy, return, buy, return. It’s nauseating just thinking about it.
I’m still feeling down and with bouts of anxiety. This “hobby” hasn’t really provided a solution. It does give me a break from my depression and anxiety, but it’s fleeting and becoming more so the case as time goes by.
Hari looks elsewhere for the explanation. It’s the lost connections. I find myself feeling that his explanation is more than just plausible. I have a hole in my life, a void. I feel that void can only be filled by other people. I had a career that involved marketing/sales. The job was gratifying in that it allowed me to connect with people each and every day. That was the part that I enjoyed the most. That was the part that was lost when my career came to an end.
I’m a professional accountant by training. But when I do accounting work, I’m unhappy. It’s not that I don’t like accounting, I don’t like the solitude. Many accountants are anti-social lone wolves. The profession lends itself to that. technically, book earning and recurring you to be accurate in all that you do. I left accounting because it was just not me. When I was young, I was anti-social. But in my career, I craved and enjoyed the contact with other like-minded people. Gone! Haven’t been in that spot for almost fifteen years. It’s proved to be a slow death.
I spend some more time looking at Hari’s book. There are parts of it that are very insightful. It has given me a new perspective. Later.