Have you ever been told that your depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain and that you are powerless to change it? We have this happy little neurotransmitter in our brain called serotonin, and when we experience a deficiency of this neurotransmitter, we feel sad. What’s the solution? We are told to go to the doctor and ask them to prescribe us an antidepressant; the doctor will explain that the antidepressant will help increase our serotonin levels and as a result, we should feel better. This solution works for some, many people actually, I would say those who suffer from depression as a result of a chemical imbalance will experience relief from their depression with antidepressants. What about those antidepressants that do not work? My intention here is not to argue the efficacy of antidepressants but to suggest; there could be other reasons that you might feel depressed.
Most of us desire a meaningful and fulfilling life; the problem is many of us are unsure of what that means or how to get it and yet it is there, that innate desire for connection. What if depression is a response to the lack of meaningful connections in life? A solution to depression then, could be, increase the meaningful connections in your life and voila! Could it be that simple? What then does a meaningful connection look like? Let’s take loneliness it is an emotion that we all too often experience. In a time of social media where our ability to connect is at our fingertips, we report being more lonely than ever before. A good question you might ask yourself is how many close friends do I have in my life that I can genuinely confide? Let’s consider work, a place where the majority of Americans spend 40+ hours a week. Wouldn’t it benefit us to know if we find our work meaningful and fulfilling? Ask yourself. Then there is Mother Nature, how many times have we heard when we are feeling down, “a walk-in nature will cure our woes.” Besides the apparent vitamin D and fresh air, nature provides us with a perspective, that there is more to life than outside ourselves. It is incredible how difficult it is to feel depressed when you are standing on a cliffside looking out over a valley of green that stretches as far as you can see. Next, comes our future, how many of us live paycheck to paycheck with the uncertainty of job security? Ask yourself, would I be depressed if I had my dream job? What’s the point, you ask? The point is, we all possess the power to change.
The problem is that we are looking in all the wrong places. If its a chemical imbalance in our brain then we are at the whims of our brains, but if it is a bad relationship we are in or an unfulfilling job that is a cause of our depression then we should be able to make changes and improve our depression, right? That is what I am suggesting, feed that inherent desire for meaningful connections in your life.