Nowadays the leading cause of death is heart problems. Heart attack, heart failure, stuff like that. But they say that by the year 2020, the leading cause of depression will no longer be heart issues. Depression. An emotion. How can an emotion become a leading cause of death? Hell, how can an emotion cause a single death in the first place? Surprising, eh? Well, emotions can affect our physical health like if you are having a bad day you get headaches and stress can cause lots of illnesses to occur also.
This got me thinking. What is it that has changed in our lifestyles or living patterns that has resulted in such a huge increase in the level and incidence of depression that is resulting it in being the next leading cause of death? Well one day I was lurking and scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed and the answer suddenly hit me. Loneliness. Our patterns of living and changes in the nature of social relationships have changed which means that now we have like become so individualistic that we no longer care about other people but ourself.
How did Facebook bring about this realization? Well I saw a quote there which I would like to share:
“Loneliness doesn’t come from not having people around you, it comes from not having people around you to share those things that seem important to you”.
What would happen is that in the past, family sizes were bigger plus there was strong social cohesion. People would interact closely with each other and everyone had someone they can call their “friend”. Because there was like so many people to choose from, everyone was easily able to find someone to hang out with and someone of their type also. But then as societies expanded and became more complex, our nature of social relationships changed. You would think that as family size declined (which personally I think is a good thing that this happened), families have fewer members so they’d be more close-knit and more attached to each other? But unfortunately that is not the case as the nature of social relationships have changed. They are too individualistic. They only care about themselves. They simply do not want to, or unable to, take out the time to hang out with family members or friends and let them share what is important to them and take an interest in it.
What is the end result of all of this? Loneliness. And what does loneliness cause? Sadness. And what does sadness result in? Depression. And we all know the consequences of depression. It is a fact of the world that people need people. Even the world’s most introverted person, the world’s most shy person, the world’s biggest schizoid, needs people. All people need people. But no people have people.
I have spent the past ten years of my life interacting with individuals online. The stereotype is that the internet is a place for lonely people with no friends. When I first joined the internet, this was not even close to being the case. But just over the course of ten years, I have been seeing this stereotype slowly come true. People’s families have moved away or they don’t get along and people with whom they were friends with have moved away or due to whatever reason the friendships have dissolved. So, as people need people, many have began to flock to the internet.
This all concludes with the quote that I posted towards the beginning of this passage. It is the little things that count. You want to share those little things that are important to you. It can be an achievement, a tough time, an incident that happened to you. Sometimes you just want to talk, you just want to share things. And due to the current nature of social relationships this is not a possibility for many people. Which results in the cycle. Loneliness to sadness. Sadness to depression. Depression to many other issues. Many other issues to death.
Solution? In my eyes the only solution is changing the nature of social relationships and taking the time to listen to those around us.