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Dear Sangat Ji, I am a frequent reader of this site but I seldom post, and am for the first time ever starting a new thread. I do so because I feel that we can perhaps openly examine as a community some of the root causes of many of the challenges that posters present here, especially in the Gupt section. I post here instead of "Whats Happening" as there may be those who wish to contribute but not reveal their identities. The topics that keep coming up over and over include: Women and issues with hair (and the fact that it affects their chances of marriage) Youngsters and romantic relationships (how soon they wish to start their journeys toward Ghristi Jeevan) Depression (having nobody to talk to or share their feelings with) Isolation (lack of sangat and the impact of social politics and dynamics) Each of these can be reduced to the last one on the list: Isolation or loneliness. The need for human contact, identity and belonging is recognised as paramount to healthy human development. The impact of being "under socialised" or isolated can lead to all kinds of psychological issues. In fact, the affects of isolation in the young can lead to "Failure to Thrive" syndrome where people cannot function or catch up with their "normal" counterparts. Today we exist in greater numbers that ever in human history, have vastly greater social connections than we have ever had, (this site is one example, and of course there is the social media that surrounds us), yet it seems that humans have never been lonelier. It has also been proposed that while we have more connections, the relationships have become shallower and less meaningful as they become greater in number. We might have 300 facebook friends and 300 phone contacts but feel like we have nobody to talk to. At the same time we naturally make efforts to be part of some or other social "tribe", and try to identify and be accepted by them by acting, talking and dressing alike. The human social instincts that we have been blessed with drive us to join with others and also drives our fear of rejection. In ancient times, social rejection (from your tribe or village) was a sure death sentence. We could not survive without the protection of our social group and its function to sustain members of the greater whole. Today, rejection is unlikely to result in death yet we still fear it as such. Loss of friends, the end of a marriage, the rejection of a proposal, rejection by those we would keep Sangat with, a breakdown in communication or relations with family, we may fear and treat any of these and react in a manner as if it is "the end of the world" (read death). Fear of being alone seems to be a great driver of the challenges that keep coming up for the Sangat on this site and beyond. Women who fear rejection due to their facial or body hair are afraid that they will end up unwed and alone (or with someone who does not fit the ideal picture they might have of a husband). Youngsters drawn to the rose tinted fantasy of romantic relationships are also trying to get a head start in the race to find a partner, again for fear of ending up alone. We all want to be close to others, to have understanding and to be appreciated by someone that will find us to be worthy. If we do not have this acceptance and appreciation, we face the terrifying prospect of not only a lonely life, but death at a genetic level as there are no children to carry on our biological heritage. Parents desire the respect of their children. Those who are bullied for being different wish that they would be accepted just like others are instead of being socially rejected. All human beings want to find their place in the world. And if we feel that those needs are not being fulfilled, we end up feeling isolated and depressed. Depression is so ubiquitous now that I was told that one Chardi Kala Gursikh said to one of the Singhs in their Sangat that "People come to us claiming that they have been attacked by black magic, that they do not understand what is happening to them, when in fact they are suffering from depression". They said that Mahraj describe it in baani as "Mann Ka Taap" or "disease of the mind". And why not. For someone who doesn't know what a panic attack, or a bipolar disorder is, a sudden shift in their equilibrium can be terrifying and seem supernatural. They may develop agoraphobia, claustrophobia or any one of numerous symptoms, as result of feelings of isolation and loneliness which lead them to depression. It is important to mention that isolation doesn't have to mean physical isolation. We can feel isolated within Sangat, within the family, even within a marriage. When faced with depression people can behave in destructive manners, i.e using the five vices of Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh and Hankaar or addictions such as alcohol or drugs to try to protect themselves from the symptoms of depression. Then, we often see posts of people confessing their guilt and doing a virtual Peshi before the Sangat here, asking if Mahraj will ever forgive them, or posting that they have lost faith as they feel isolated even from Mahraj. The truth is depression is a mental illness. It has symptoms and those symptoms can be treated to correct the chemical imbalances that drive this illness. Further, it needn't be a cause of shame, any more than having the flu should cause us to be ashamed. For those who are currently facing depression I would like to add that there IS light at the end of the tunnel and there are ways of combating this. Different methods work for different people and there will be a combination of methods that will work for you. So Sangat ji, I invite you to share ways, both spiritual and practical that we might combat depression and its symptoms. I know some members will say "Do more Paath" and others will say "Get some exercise", I think it would be especially useful if those who themselves have faced or are dealing with depression to share the solutions that they have found and applied on their own journeys. I am hoping that in the advice that is shared members of the Sangat, wherever they are on their spiritual journey, will find inspiration and tools to carve their own path to well being.