A million years ago our ancestors lived together in caves. A thousand years ago they lived together in small villages. A hundred years ago children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all lived on the same neighborhood block. Today, we are lucky if our relatives live in the same state. As a consequence of our increasingly mobile society, we no longer have the social and family interaction that we need to be happy and healthy. Loneliness and lack of connections with others is leading to increased depression. Our new forms of communication such as texting rather than talking, much less getting together and interacting in person, has only increased our social isolation. Almost daily, I have someone come into my office telling me they are depressed because of a chemical imbalance. Although there does tend to be a hereditary connection to depression, there is no medical test to show a “chemical imbalance.” Counseling helps because much of depression is caused by not having someone you feel safe to confide in and trust. Many people leave their first counseling session saying, “I feel so much better.”  Most likely, you don’t need a pill, you need a friend. Depression doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, rather it’s a disconnect between the social person you were meant to be and the isolated society we live in.

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