According to the World Health Organization, depression is a common mental disorder. Depression could be genetic or caused by emotional stressors, and is characterized by low self-worth, exhaustion, loss of enthusiasm and interest, and poor concentration.
Depression is perceived to have the capability to impair the function of an individual in his/her everyday life. At its peak, it may compel the depressed to indulge in suicidal thoughts, and worse, even commit suicide. People suffering from mild depression could be remedied without medicine prescriptions. However, when depression becomes recurrent over a long period of time, professional help must be sought to progress medication.
Famous people and highly-regarded artists and writers have suffered from depression. Among them were Charles Dickens, whose productivity was hampered by periodic depression; Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Ernest Hemingway, whose depression was described as “suicidal” in the book “An Intimate Portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Those Who Knew Him” by Denis Brian; Leo Tolstoy, who started suffering from depression when he was writing “Anna Karenina;” Woody Allen, whose films became his productive outlet in battling the disorder; Hans Christian Andersen, who, like Woody Allen, veered away from his negative and dispiriting thoughts through his creative output. Andersen was the literary genius who penned famous fairy tales such as the heart-gripping “The Snow Queen.”
In addition, Isaac Newton, the mind behind many of the mathematical and scientific discoveries also suffered from depressive episodes. Edgar Allan Poe‘s literary works suggestive of melancholy were rooted from his lifelong duel with depression. Friedrich Nietzsche, the German existentialist philosopher was also plagued by the same disorder.
Without a shred of doubt, fame and money are not guarantees of escape from the mental disorder. It could happen to anyone.
Reportedly, diagnosis of depression is growing at an alarming rate. Statistics show that there is greater risk of depression among women, as compared to men. An infographic illustrates descriptive statistics with regards to the number of people who suffer from such mental disorder but opt not to receive help nor treatment.
Recently, the death of Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams brought to light discussions about how depression can eat away someone’s life; all the more so because his publicist said Williams had been suffering from depression before his death, which was due to an apparent suicide.
The world shook its head in disbelief as it tried to comprehend the possibility for a comedian, whose acting prowess brought laughter to the viewing public, to be afflicted with the inevitable agony brought upon by the mind-crippling disorder. The people marveled at how Williams was able to conceal his melancholy onscreen.
True enough, a lot of people do not understand the complexity of depression as a mental disorder. Often, when informed about somebody’s depressed state, be it a friend or a mere acquaintance, majority would shrug off and say it was the choice of the depressed to be in a sulk, and that the inflicted could choose to appreciate life should he/she wish to. At other points in time, the same people would suggest that the sadness would pass eventually, and depression was nothing but a minor problem.
But depression is not something to be dismissed oh-so-easily, especially when it becomes a recurrent plight. A depressed person becomes devoid of life, often utterly helpless to find meaning in his/her everyday existence. Depression is not just a one-day combat; It is a mile away from loneliness. Often, it is a hard-fought match, and it is a culprit most hard to battle.
Much as one should wish for his name to be spoken alongside the likes of Dickens and Hemingway, one would never aspire to be injured by the sharp claws of this life-siphoning mental disorder. It’s a price too much to pay for anyone in exchange for anything. After all, not everyone who suffers from it has productive outlet like that of Allen and Andersen. Not everyone could turn to other hobbies to lift his/her despairing psyche.
It is not surprising that a number of people suffering from depression do not show signs around friends and family. Depressed people would always run the risk of being judged when they come clean about their predicament. Thus, they are more inclined to put on a happy face instead, not only to avoid questions, but also to try making themselves believe that they are indeed happy.
The depressed has enough to deal with, already. Sometimes, constant attempts to implore him/her to look at the beautiful side of reality would make the individual feel even more misunderstood. If we could not do anything to help them, we should at least have the decency to respect what they’re going through without judgment or prejudice.