Depression, anxiety, suicide, bi-polar disorders, substance abuse, and so on – did you know the world in a mental health crisis?
Some 20% of Canadians and Americans and 25% of British people reported mental health/illness concerns. The correct figure is probably far higher than that – I for one, would never have reported a mental health issue. I didn’t know I was seriously depressed; and even if I did, fear of the stigma of mental illness would have stopped me from admitting it.
What about you? Take a look at the following chart, do you see yourself on one side or the other. Why?
Who would ever have thought that Robin Williams, arguably one of the greatest comedians ever, could have been depressed enough to take his life? Like Robin, many of us are seen by others as a bundle of joy and positive energy; yet, in reality we are slowly being suffocated by our gloom. Worst of all, we have no idea we are suffering?
Imagine my shock when I realized I had written a book, not about stroke but about mental health and depression. It started to become clear when working people, who had read my book Rising Like a Phoenix: When Life Cuts You Off at the Knees, started saying to me things like “I thought you were talking about me!” Now I realize the real message to share.
There is a danger in being so good at masking the pain we feel as we face difficult situations at work or any place else. To many I was the most positive and optimistic person, yet I was fighting a war inside me. I felt a desperate need to leave my job, to leave my boss, in order to survive.
When I was let-go, I still kept smiling to the world, while dying inside. That was the cause of my stroke. Nobody saw the depression, not even me.
How many others are aching in the workforce; yet showing their happy disposition? They may not know they can fall into depression. They may not even know their condition of poor mental health.
Have you ever experienced this? The first step is just to acknowledge your pain. It could affect your achievements. As I have learned, it could even save your life.