Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. I actually didn’t know and only found out because two of my favorite YouTubers dedicated their videos to this subject. They did this because they suffer from depression.
You know that I write about this topic from time to time. Especially when I feel down and depressed myself. This article has mainly two goals:
- To show that it is widespread and that a “successful” life is in no way an inhibitor to become depressed, and
- To show that suffering from depression doesn’t equal not being good enough.
Depression is a nasty illness. It sucks the joy of life out of a person and often you don’t know why. You might have heard about the death of celebrities such as Robin Williams or Avicii who both suffered from depression. More and more stars are vocal about their mental health problems and I think it helps to shed more light onto that topic. Moreover, some very successful YouTubers suffer from depression such as Anna Akana, Chris Ramsey, Dan Mace, and John Green, who is the author of the bestselling book The Fault in Our Stars.
Now you might think that these people lead a very good life and they would agree with you. They earn a lot of money. They can be creative and in general follow their passion. Sure, it is hard work, but still, many people work hard in jobs they don’t enjoy. Which raises a question. Who else is suffering from depression we don’t know? Depression is still a taboo subject and many people rather suffer alone than coming out and risk to be judged or pitied. I know myself how hard it is to accept for myself that I have a problem AND then to tell others about it. And I am thankfully part of a family which is already rather open towards this topic.
But it also shows one thing. Even when people suffer from depression, what they do can be and often is just great. Writing a bestselling book is a long and hard process and you cannot simply say: “Okay, I’ll just not suffer from depression for the next year or so“. That is not how this works. People suffering from depression do at least as good of a job as their colleagues who don’t. And I think that sometimes, this suffering, can create beauty, because those people can use this sadness and they transform it into something that connects people.
Being vocal about being depressed should not cause judgement and exclusion. It should also not cause to look down on those people or to think that they are not good enough and cannot do their jobs. Millions of people prove you wrong, every single day. You just don’t know it.
What you can and should do is to ask how you can help. They might not know, but they will feel that you care and that they are not judged. This already can make a huge difference. And remember, it is an illness. You won’t judge someone for having cancer or calling in sick because they have a cold. I think that this is a problem we can only solve and overcome together.
Take care, Stephan