Sermons

Summary: There has been an ever-increasing rise of personal individualism that has led to multiple dysfunctional and destructive trends resulting in people either willingly or unwillingly distancing themselves from others and struggling to make meaningful personal connections.

"Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Gen 1:26-27 ESV)

The first human being, Adam, was created in the image and likeness of God. Because God is love, He desired a loving relationship with Adam, as well as for Adam to have a loving human relationship, so He created Eve, who was suitable for him to connect with so that he would not be alone in life (Gen 2:18; 1 John 4:8,16). Since the very beginning of the human race, people were made for connections with one another because God desires loving connections for and with them.

Long before the turn of the 21st century, there has been an ever-increasing rise of personal individualism that has led to multiple dysfunctional and destructive trends resulting in people willingly or unwillingly distancing themselves from others and struggling to make meaningful personal connections.

Today, we are living in the midst of draconian governmental mandates issued as a result of a Global Pandemic that has forced the confinement of people (with possible abusive relatives), the wearing of masks (which hide the emotions of facial expressions of joy, happiness, empathy, love, etc.), mandatory social distancing that has caused the loss of physical contact with friends and family, the closing down of businesses which are the lifeblood of countless families, and caused declining opportunities to work and take vacations, of which all have exponentially exacerbated a growing mental health epidemic and have caused the breaking of countless social connections which are so vital for a healthy society.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is now the number one leading cause of disability worldwide. The WHO projects that by 2030, the amount of disability and life lost from depression will surpass war, accidents, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Back in 2011, the WHO stated that "Mental health is produced socially. The presence or absence of mental health is above all a social indicator, and therefore requires social as well as individual solutions."

Back in 1978, a study was published which presented the hypothesis that the primary causes of depression were psychological and social (63%), not biological (37% - a chemical imbalance), which had been believed to be the primary root cause. The study showed that people with a diagnosis of reactive depression (caused by stressful life events) and those with an endogenous disorder (a chemical imbalance) had the same amount of negative experiences in their past.

Lost Connections

In the book "Lost Connections – Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions," author Johann Hari investigated the psychological and social factors that contribute to the mental health challenges of depression (which he calls "disconnections"), as well as innovative social and environmental treatments for depression (or "reconnections").

Hari had taken clinical anti-depressants for a number of years that did not bring an end to his suffering. He became dissatisfied with the 'story' that doctors had given him about having a chemical imbalance in his brain. His journey of research and discovery took him all over the globe, talking to experts in depression with backgrounds in psychology, psychiatry, and pharmaceuticals, as well as numerous sufferers of the condition. Hari found nine causes of depression, as well as seven ways to reconnect with people. There are some that have criticized Hari’s findings of how to treat depression because they were not scientific. Today I am going to focus on reconnecting to people using the research of Johann Hari and from my study.

Depression Defined

Depression is the state of feeling sad, dejected, and hopeless. It can show up as irritability, anger, and discouragement and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. It can also be complicated to recognize and is often masked behind problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, troubled relationships, excessive work hours, low grades at school, difficulty in thinking and concentration. Researchers know that adults who suffer from depression were often very anxious as children.

Medical science has created anti-depressant drugs known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors to deal with the problems associated with worry, anxiety, and depression, but not the actual root issue. These drugs are prescribed by the tens of millions, and a majority of them contain chlorine, and at one time in the past, mercury before it was banned, as their primary ingredients. Studies show that only 25% of their positive effects were due to the chemicals themselves. Natural recovery accounted for another 25%, and the additional 50% came down to the placebo effect.

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