Many folks were shocked to hear about the death of Lowell Hawthorne, the founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery. Authorities suspect that the Jamaican-born, N.Y.-based businessman committed suicide.
Hawthorne’s professional legacy is robust. Golden Krust is an established international brand, with franchises across the United States and Caribbean, and the death of the company’s founder is a staunch reminder that success doesn’t preclude one from sadness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.1 million adults have at least one major depressive episode annually. The holiday season and end of the year represent an additional hurdle for many due to a condition many of us don’t talk about called seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that presents as depression and typically impacts people during the late fall to early spring. Experts connect the mood disorder to the amount of sunlight one receives daily (in laymen’s terms, the early sunsets, and long, dark afternoons trigger a negative physical response that ultimately impacts mood). Psychology Today reports that an estimated 10 million people experience SAD. Additionally, 55 percent of people who are diagnosed with SAD already have major depressive order.
When you’re feeling down it’s easy to dismiss it as having “the blues” and just dig deeper into isolation—we do the same when we see loved ones struggling. But depression can be dangerous. Untreated depression can damage your personal life, professional life, your safety and the security of those you care for most. If you’re feeling down, don’t be afraid to call it depression. Most importantly, get help. There are scores of services, ranging from support groups to individual therapy sessions. Technology is also a game changer. You can use apps like Talkspace, which allow individuals to speak with a licensed professional without leaving your home— and with some level of anonymity. Share the info with friends and family, too.
Depression is tricky because it can look different in people. Here are some signs you should pay attention to and take action.
- Going too hard, like drinking, partying or smoking a lot more than usual
- Drinking or smoking often alone
- Socializing a lot more than usual
- Tapping out; socializing significantly less than usual and expressing a clear desire to be alone
- Thoughts or talk of suicide
- Binging on sugary, starchy foods
- An increased desire to sleep
- Ditching activities that used to bring joy