Ten for Tuesday... Featuring One and Only One Link

Normally my Ten for Tuesday post includes a list of links that have inspired, delighted or challenged me.

Not today.

Today I only have one link to share, because I want everyone to listen to it. It’s that important.

Johann Hari

Johann Hari

It’s an interview with Johann Hari by Dan Harris on the Ten Percent Happier podcast.

Hari is the author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions.

Three minutes into the episode, I had already bought Hari’s book.
Sixteen minutes in, I knew the book (which I still haven’t read) would change my life in some pretty profound ways.
After the interview ended, I immediately went back to the beginning and listened to it a second time.

From the episode description:

Suffering from his own long battle with depression, social scientist and author Johann Hari yearned for a greater understanding of what caused it and what might help combat it. Hari set out on a journey to not only meet the leading experts on depression, but to observe how other parts of the world treat it. He breaks down his research into the biological, psychological and social causes of depression and presents several fascinating studies from around the world.

If that sounds dry, it’s not. Hari is a great storyteller, and several of his findings brought me to tears.

If this episode seems like it’s not for you because depression doesn’t touch your life or community, well a.) I don’t believe you—it does, you just don’t know it, and b.) the factors that Hari talks about are endemic in our culture, whether it leads one to fall into depression or not. Every pastor I know would benefit from giving this episode a listen.

Obviously this topic is a very salient and personal one for me right now. Very true. The interview makes clear that antidepressants are (or can be) a very important tool in living with depression… but that there are many others, some of which have societal implications. That’s both heartening (listen to the bit about Cambodian antidepressants) and discouraging (the amount of cultural shift that would need to happen in the U.S. is huge in order to take his findings to heart).

I will say this though. My kid has received unmitigated support from her community, from doctors to friends to family to insurance to teachers and school personnel. It’s overwhelming to all of us… even as I ponder the immense privileges at work in many of those things.

Anyway, several months ago I attended a workshop put on by the school district about parenting kids with anxiety. The workshop was free and the place was packed with parents. (You know the stats on anxiety and depression are ghastly, right?) We were introduced to brain research, received coping tools, and learned how to support our kids and build resilience. Part of me was appreciative, part of me was angry—not at them specifically, but at all of us. It was as if our kids all had really bad respiratory problems, and we were there getting the gas masks and learning how to use them, and feeling the comfort of being in a room with other parents whose kids aren’t breathing well either… meanwhile nobody’s talking about why there’s so damn much poison in the air.

If you, like I, want to know why there’s so damn much poison in the air, check out the podcast, and let me know what you think.


And there’s still time to help us get to 50 donors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Read my blog post or donate here.