The sad suicide of popular comedian and actor Robin Williams on August 11, 2014, at the age of only 63, has been linked to depression, which he had been seeking treatment for. They also believe he had been diagnosed with a serious life-threatening medical condition and chose to end it all rather than face the ravages of the disease.
Whatever the exact reason, his depression clearly had a part to play in his decision. In his own words, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
WE can start to change the world after this tragic loss and that of countless others due to depression through educating ourselves and others about the true nature and cost of depression. Depression is now the #2 cause of disability in the world, after loss of vision & hearing. It has been discovered in people of all ages, including children as young as three.
Depression is a treatable condition. One should not be reluctant to seek help for this health condition any more than one would be reluctant, embarrassed or ashamed to seek treatment for cancer.
Depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance, or another health issue, or even medications being taken. It can be triggered by the hormonal chaos of pregnancy and giving birth, in which case, it is referred to as post partum depression. About 1 in 6 new moms suffer from post partum depression, but think that the ‘baby blues’ are a normal part of the process and do not always seek treatment until it is too late.
Depression is also common among people serving in a caregiving role if they are isolated, with little support, and/or start to feel burned out because their own needs are not being met. Caregivers are the unsung heroes of society; yet we can’t function without them.
Depression is very treatable, and does not usually need a bucket of potentially addictive medications in order to give the person relief. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as talk therapy, is extremely helpful in relieving depression.
Feeling down or sad from time to time is a normal part of the full spectrum of human emotions, but if symptoms persist for more than a few days, or you feel listless and lose interest in many of the things you usually enjoy, it might be time to consider getting help.
If you think you might be depressed, or know someone who might be, remember that depression is a health condition, not a character weakness or something anyone can just snap out of if they pull their socks up. Take steps to treat any depression as you would cancer, without guilt or shame, and we can all soon end the stigma that tends to surround mental illness and mood disorders.