People often ask me if I am really as depressed as I think I am because despite feeling really down I have managed most days to keep up with my work responsibilities. I also often question my own depression because I haven’t had anything specific happen to make me depressed…no death in the family, no job loss, nothing like that. Thus, I really liked this story on NPR today: Working Through Depression: Many Stay On The Job, Despite Mental Illness.
I especially liked the three takeaways at the bottom. I italicized what I could particularly relate to:
“First, we throw around the word depression too much, and it’s not specific enough to encompass everything we use it for. Someone who is mildly depressed is far different from someone who is contemplating suicide, yet we use the same word to describe both situations. I know I throw that word “depressed” around a lot very casually and I’m going to think more before using it.
Second, in the reporting for this story, we ended up focusing on someone whose depression was triggered by a lot of external events. But it’s important to remember that that’s not how depression happens for everyone. Sometimes someone can feel acutely depressed, and it’s not connected to something that’s happened. They haven’t lost a loved one or suffered some kind of tragedy, and that can sometimes make the condition harder to understand, recognize and thus treat.
Third, just because someone is thinking about killing themselves doesn’t mean they can’t still be effective at their job. This seems a little counterintuitive, because you’d think that someone who was so consumed by such despair couldn’t possibly be able to function. But they can, and sometimes, depending on the work, they can fulfill their tasks without raising any red flags, which is why mental illness can be so hard to detect in our loved ones — and in ourselves.”