To the Real Celebrities
November 17, 2012 § 5 Comments
Yesterday I went to this fund raising lunch to support research into depression. The guest speaker was a relatively prominent member of a national football code. His talk was interesting, a good speaker and personable enough but to be honest the content was pretty shallow. While I have no doubt he suffered from a depressive episode his recovery sounded as simple as waking up one day, deciding not to be depressed, going for a jog around the block, changing his diet and getting back on track with his professional football career. Thankfully for him, he only had to see a psychologist 4 or 5 times and he didn’t require any medication. Of course the audience ( most of it) found his talk ‘inspiring’ and his honesty in ‘outing’ his illness similarly inspirational.
Perhaps I am a sceptic but having suffered multiple episodes of depression throughout my life (including years of medication), two incidents of anorexia nervosa (including a three month hospitalisation), domestic violence/abuse at the hands of a partner, several failed relationships, at least two failed businesses, significant financial loss, cancer and a daughter who herself suffers from mental illness (depression and anxiety) - I couldn’t help but think that neither he nor the audience had any real insight into the reality of depression and mental illness more generally. I know that people look to celebrities as sort of role models including as evidence of strength against adversity, but there are so many more of us that really experience very serious life challenges and who manage to get through them pretty much by ourselves and with our families, whose efforts go unnoticed. This is not to say that I think we all need this kind of celebrity attention, but that there are many of us who should simply give ourselves more credit for facing and overcoming the challenges we face – sometimes on a daily basis. I say this because I know there are many people who read this blog who deserve that acknowledgment and who should be proud of the simple achievements they have made. You guys are the real celebrities. Cheers to you !!!!