Thursday, November 26, 2009

Getting to Grips with Depression - Ellee Seymour

Depression is one of those terrible illnesses we imagehandle so badly.
Mental illness is sadly still tabooed, and it is only when we hear about those who can no  longer live with their tortured minds and commit suicide, like Germany’s famous goalkeeper Robert Enke, or the beautiful Korean model Daul Kim, that this difficult issue is publicly debated.
But what can be done to help those suffering from depression, those poor, helpless souls who would rather be anywhere instead of plummeting deeper their dark abyss?
These were two young and talented people who seemingly had it all with their successful careers. But they couldn’t cope with their depression, like countless others. Their fame and fortune couldn’t save them.
Tragically, even when you work in the profession, it seems little help is at hand, as this poignant letter in today’s Times describes, written by the bereaved father of a man who was severely depressed:
Sir, Your leading article (“Working minds”, Nov 23) about the need for depression to be accepted in the workplace has particular resonance for my wife and me because we lost our son to a severe depressive illness in 2005. He was a clinical psychologist, but as his illness developed he was desperate to keep it secret from all the mental health professionals who knew him or might have contact with him in the future. He insisted that his career depended on this because there was a strong prejudice in the profession against anyone who had suffered from mental illness: they were perceived as not “tough enough” for the job.
We found this hard to believe — the mental health profession seemed the last place on earth where such attitudes were likely to be found — but we were assured by others that it was so. Not only did this worry add to the burden of an already terrifying illness, whose features are so accurately and movingly described by Giles Andreae in times2, but it made our son reluctant to seek treatment and, when he did seek it, prevented him from making use of good local facilities that might have helped him. The treatment which he did accept was unsatisfactory and, in the end, unavailing.
Surely it is clear that someone who survives a depressive illness is enhanced rather than diminished by the experience, and that the insight which results may be of advantage, particularly in the field of mental health.
Richard Oerton
Bridgwater, Somerset

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Ellee Seymour said...

And remember, the wonderful Samaritans are there to help anyone in this situation, they are just on the end of the phone.

natalie said...

Ah have such cryptic words!:):)
carry on!
hugs and thanks for your doggy's visit

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Hear hear!

When I did my trek for MIND it really opened my mind to the work of the charity and to all the taboos that exist in the realm of mental illness. I can't believe how many people suffer from some form of mental anguish or trauma or illness, but who are too afraid to mention it in case they are suddenly persona non gratis.
For example:
mentioning any treatment for mental illness has caused a break-up in relationships
Being on treatment for stress has resulted in people being moved about in their jobs or treated differently (or having 'stress') used as an excuse to remove them off projects
Schoolkids will get bullied if there is someone in the family who duffers from mental illness
A schizophrenic who talked about his illness on a plane was made to feel like a social pariah after another passenger asked to be moved away.

These sort of things are utterly disgraceful. It wouldn't happen so often to someone in a wheelchair, but it happens every day to people with mental illnesses.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

I meant suffers, not duffers... I need to spell-check more carefully!

Chandrika Shubham said...

The best way to escape depression is to read others blogs and comment on them. :)

Informative post.
Best wishes.

mutleythedog said...

I didnt comment at the time as it touiches personal things in my life but well done anyway!