Depression and the Secret to Happiness | Johann Hari


“It’s no sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society”




1. You’re very sane if you’re depressed


“It’s no sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society. Our pain makes sense.”


2. Pain signals evolve for a reason


“They’re telling you something’s going on and the fact that we have this huge depression, anxiety and addiction epidemic across the Western world, something’s gone wrong.”


3. For example...


“In the circumstances were we evolved in the savannahs’ of Africa if you got separated from your group and you were off on your own you would become depressed and anxious for a really good reason: You were in terrible danger! You could be eaten. If you got injured no one would be there to help you, you would probably die.”


4. But we’ve been told this story


“...that we should think of ourselves not like that. Not as this collaborative, cooperative species but as individual economic rationalisers. The reality is that has produced a society that is lonelier than any human society. We are the first human-beings to ever try and disband our tribes and live alone.”


5. By Margaret Thatcher


“The high priestess of Neoliberalism Margaret Thatcher told us: ‘there is no such thing as society, there are only individuals and their families.’ In Neoiberalism, at the heart of it, is about promoting the idea that you should think of yourself as an individual who’s maximising their rational economic interest and maybe that of your family.”


6. That would have led to our extinction


“That set of beliefs if it had been followed throughout human history would have led to the extinction of our species."


7. But at least we got the internet, right?


“We were disconnecting from the natural world and then the internet arrives and it looks a lot like like the things we’re lost. It gave us Facebook friends in replace of friends that are in a community. It offers you status updates in place of status."


8. Johann was on antidepressants for 13 years


“I remained depressed for most of that time. One of the things that was really interesting to me was actually to realise how normal I was. Enormous numbers of people taking these drugs become depressed again.”


9. Don’t get it twisted tho, he isn’t anti antidepressants


“The average effective of chemical anti-depressants is a 1.8 percent improvement on the Hamilton scale, about a third of improving your sleep patterns over time. So that’s a real effect, that’s above a placebo effect. I’m not against these drugs, loads of people I love are on them and I don’t urge them to stop.”


10. He just wants more types of anti-depressants on the menu


“I don’t want to take anything off the menu for depressed and anxious people but we really need to expand the menu.”


11. Like a cow


Yes a cow. Watch video to find out, init.


12. And if you like the cow bit, you'll love the baboon bit


Yes, baboon bit


13. It’s an unbelievable propaganda victory for the capitalist system we live under


“ tell people you’re free when in fact you’re controlled most of your waking life... If you feel you are being controlled at work you are considerably more likely to become depressed.”


14. Something truly incredible happened in Berlin




15. Communities came together


“Opposite the council estate there’s a gay club. Initially when they opened this gay club, they said “you guys can have all the meetings here.” At first people were like you’re not going to get these very conservative Muslims to come and sit in club under posters for fisting nights. But everybody took those steps. “Learning to speak to each other. To talk to people who might be different to you in some ones but are actually very similar to you in most ways.”

16. The moral of the story


“When you are all alone and you feel like this, you think it’s just you. But then you come out of your corner fighting and you realise everyone else feels like me too, you stop being weak and you start being strong.”

Johann Hari's book The Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - And the Unexpected Solutions is out now.

The views expressed in this video belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of DDN.

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