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Lost Connections - a new way of looking at anxiety and depression?? A book review.


At the beginning of March I read a book called Lost Connections by Johann Hari – as I read it and the lock-down began it became more and more relevant to our current situation. In it the author talks about depression and anxiety from a personal perspective, as something he has lived with for many many years. He talks about the various things he has tried to deal with it over those years (mainly medication) and how they worked (or not) for him. He discusses research he undertook as a way of helping himself and through which he identified several different reasons for depression and anxiety;

- Disconnection from meaningful work

- Disconnection from others

- 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

- Brain changes.

The biggest thing that struck me was that I have seen these things in both myself and others and, for me, it makes a lot of sense and I really understood where he was coming from. Now some of the evidence he discusses can be viewed as one sided but also sounds like common sense in places and it is well illustrated with anecdotal stories to illustrate his point, which really help it to come to life and make it more than just a boring book about stats.

I found a lot of what he talks about easy to read and understand, I found his writing style interesting and engaging and related to a lot of what he said. Further on in the book he suggests some ways of tackling depression and anxiety, again which, to me, make a lot of sense and include

- Re-connection to others

- Social prescribing – doing something with others with a common goal

- Re-connecting with meaningful work

- Re-connecting with meaningful values

- Sympathetic joy and overcoming addiction to the self

- Acknowledging and overcoming childhood trauma

- Restoring the future

I really connected with and understood the way he explains achieving these and can see real benefits in the things he suggests. I do however want to point out that, as ever, not everything works for everyone, if there was a one size fits all solution to anxiety and depression then it wouldn’t be such a big problem and someone would be earning a lot of money!! I would say what have you got to loose by reading it and seeing if it works for you (apart from the cost of the book of course!), have a read and see what you think, does it resonate for you? Can you see it helping you? I would be really interested to hear what you think.

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