Depression can affect anyone from the poorest of the poor to the richest on the planet. It does not discriminate.
To overcome depression we need to understand depression, recognize it and own it then take action against it.
Most of us look at people living the high life, driving their fancy cars and living in a penthouse and we think they have everything going for them. There is no way they could be suffering depression like the poor lady down the end of my street or the kid who has no shoes to wear to school. We judge peoples’ potential to suffer depression by their financial status.
This could not be further from the truth. We need to open our eyes and look again.
Some of the happiest people I know are extremely poor and conversely some of the most affluent are also the most unhappy. There is no formula for who will suffer depression and who will not.
Both rich and poor can be affected by depression. Both happy and not so happy are also affected.
Yes depression can affect anyone.
Affluence is not evident in all societies.
We were in Vanuatu a few years ago and what really struck me was the poor living conditions of many of the Nevan people but what impressed me was how intrinsically happy most of them were. We have probably all been to places where there exists a large portion of the population living in abject poverty. But take a second look. Are they miserable and depressed because of it? It seems they are not. These people might give the impression of being implicitly happy with their lot. They will greet you with a larger than life smile that makes your heart melt. You just feel the need to embrace them.
We couldn’t help but love these beautiful people with their bare feet and huge smiles. What we also noticed is that they are a very giving people. They shared what they had with enthusiasm. They would invite us into their huts and offer us some local treats such as mango or taro or yam. The children were happy to play with our children in the scrub or on the beach. These people on the surface appear incredibly generous and intensely happy.
Struggling in every village are a few people who suffer deep depression and where once they would seek the help of the local village medicine man today they are presenting with all kinds of illness but depression is often the underlying cause. The arrival of modern society on these poorer communities may one day see a marked increase in people affected by depression, however our observation was that in their current state these poorer communities are less likely to be affected by depression than the more affluent western societies.
All Is Not As It Seems
More Affluent Societies = More Depression
In contrast we can return to any one of our major cities and we see a totally different story. We might see large and expensive homes, thousands of cars on the roadways and people all extremely busy racing off to whatever is on their current agenda. It is true that people everywhere can suffer depression but it is more prevalent in more affluent societies where even the very wealthy can succumb to bouts of severe depression.
Neighbors hardly know each other. The play grounds which were once filled with children playing are now empty. Everyone is busy going this way and that but are they really happy?
There is one redeeming sign of interaction and connection between people and that is the rendezvous in the street. Many of the streets in the shopping areas will have people sitting outdoors, meeting with friends for a morning coffee. However we need to take a closer look here .
Modern Society Is Vulnerable to Depression
Modern society with all its new technologies and mod cons is very susceptible and vulnerable to depression or other mental disorders. We are losing the ability to really connect with each other. Studies on depression across the world indicate that depression is more prevalent in the wealthier communities than poorer ones. This does not mean people in poorer communities do not suffer depression, they do, and it is becoming more evident in these societies as they are impacted by global reach through improved travel and communication.
Depression is a huge problem all around the world. It affects the poor and the rich, the haves and the have-nots, eastern cultures and western cultures but there are differences in its prevalence. It affects people of celebrity status and people of unknown status. It is not picky about who it affects. Depression can affect anyone.
Many studies have been done as to why, where and when depression might take a hold in a persons’ life and it has been found that for the most part there are no significant indicators. However, people from war torn countries or people who have suffered severe trauma are more likely to be affected by Post traumatic stress Syndrome. It is also evident that genetics can have a predisposing tendency to suffering depression.
I also wonder if the increase in mental illness is not associated with a decrease in spirituality but this will be the subject of another post.
According to World Mental Health, governments and civil societies around the world are being encouraged to
address depression as a widespread illness that affects individuals, their families and their peers, and to
recognize that it is a treatable condition. People should be alert to the early signs of any depressive
disorder—it can affect anyone, from very young people to elderly. It is now estimated that 350 million
people globally are affected by depression, and this alarming figure is a wake up call for us to address
this global non-communicable disease.
Own The Illness and Take Action Against It
The following is a list of strategies published by the World Mental Health Day for 2012 which are still very appropriate for people to adopt whether they are depressed or not.
Maintaining optimum health for everyone in our families and society in general will help us to reduce the incidence of depression across all levels of society.
• Consider some form of exercise daily. Exercise is good for both physical and mental health. Establishing a regular exercise routine will help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress.
• levels, important for someone with depression.
• Try to eat a healthy balanced diet every day. A healthy diet, which includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, and is low in fat, will help keep your body healthy.
• There are many relaxation techniques to lower your stress, including meditation and deep breathing, which can help with depression. These techniques, widely used around the world, are a low-cost way to lower stress.
• Maintain healthy sleep habits, as much as possible. Set up a regular routine for bedtime and morning to be sure you are getting enough sleep, but not too much sleep.
• Avoid and reduce stress. Stress, both at work and home, can increase your feelings of depression. It is important to avoid stress in your daily life.
• Keep your working hours predictable and manageable. Openly communicate with family members
Conclusion: Depression is Everywhere.
Depression can Affect Anyone at anytime and of any social status
It does not discriminate between you and I, between him or her or across cultures. We can all fall victim. We can also all take action to avoid it impacting our lives and the lives of our families. Learn as much as you can about the triggers and symptoms and overpower it before it overpowers you or someone you love.
For those who would like to take a look at a list of 30 celebrities who have suffered depression I have included a link on the bottom of this page.
I will also include a video by Gary Turk which I think is food for thought for modern society and a wake up for the excessive use of mobile phones, . This is a must view video if
This article looks at the lives of some well known celebrities, still alive today who have opened up about their struggles with depression. Among them are people like: Cara Delevingne, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Ellen Degeneres, Chris Evans, Angelina Jolie-Pitt,
This is further evidence that depression can affect anyone.
Don’t let it affect you and look out for your friends and family.