Understanding Depression

Depression, unfortunately, is still considered a taboo subject by many people.

When it should actually be something that we talk about openly and freely so that the people you are suffering from it feel like they can come forward and get help, without judgement and without rejection. According to the Worldwide Health Organisation (WHO), there are over 350 million people who have been diagnosed with depression. And that number doesn’t include the people who are suffering in silence. Depression can very easily become a killer when a person feels like the world would be a much better place without them, that their families wouldn’t care either way if they were there, or be better off if they weren’t - it’s a very easy step to end their own life.

Not everyone displays depression in the same way; many people expect to see a withdrawn person who never goes out and pushes everyone away. But the reality is that people with depression get on with life, while still fighting the demons in their minds. Look at the great comedian Robin Williams - he was one of the loudest and funniest people of his time, yet he battled depression for years before his death. It could be affecting the person serving your coffee, holding the staff meeting, sitting next to you on the train.

Suffering from depression doesn’t mean that that person is going to start self-harming and thinking about suicide - which is another misconception that many people have of this illness. There are many people out there who deal with depression in a much smaller way, often they have fought their demons and just have the odd times of depression, or it could be circumstantial. Someone who has just lost a family member can suffer from clinical depression alongside their grief, but not in a way that means they want to jump in the grave along with their dearly departed.

Not talking about depression just adds fuel to the fire of misconception and misunderstanding - it is a complicated illness that can affect a person and be dealt with by that person, very different than someone else. Some days a person could feel like they won the war, and then, in next moment, be dragged back down. It’s a horror of a rollercoaster, and the sufferers deserve nothing but our support, understanding and help. If you are a business owner and an employee of yours is suffering from depression and asks for time off work - let them. Treat it exactly the same as you would a physical sickness - because mental illness is still a sickness.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from depression, don’t keep it locked up inside. It will be the hardest thing you ever do, but the best, just to crack open that door and let someone in.

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