Depression doesn’t have a look. Earlier this week, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s daughter, Willow shared that she had a severe bout of depression at the height of her initial career success. Back in 2011, the youngster’s hit song “Whip My Hair” caused quite a frenzy. But the success didn’t always feel good to Willow. Her anxiety and unhappiness led to self-mutilation in the form of wrist cutting—and her family never knew.
Willow’s anxiety due to grappling with success is common, whether that success comes via celebrity or in the workplace. Being a trailblazer in your field comes with a lot of glory, but it can also become a heavy load to carry. And, as in Willow’s case, sometimes victories don’t taste as sweet as one would think. Years of grinding to get your business or career to a certain level may leave you stressed, apprehensive and empty. But how do you share with others that you’re not feeling it, even after you’ve made it to VP status, or your business is finally in the black? Usually, people just don’t.
According to the American Psychological Association, nine percent of men admit to experiencing depression. And in communities of color, where men and women are battling socio-economic oppression, police brutality, and systemic racism, depression undoubtedly has more staggering rates. Dealing with depression in the midst of success can be even harder for men because they are often socialized to suffer in silence. So, how does one know whether he is depressed or just a little down? The National Institute of Mental Health reports common symptoms of depression in men include the following: anger, feeling sad, isolation, engaging in high-risk activities, aggression, insomnia, and loss of interest in once pleasurable activities.
It’s time to start identifying stressors. Excessive stress, whether it’s from something perceived to be bad or good, can lead to depression. Even the following great life moments can still lead to depression:
- Landing your dream job
- Gaining better clientele for your business
- Moving to a new city
- Having a new baby
- Experiencing a milestone birthday
Understanding that depression happens is the first step. Getting help is the next. Engaging with an expert is wise, and also understanding that you are the key factor in deciding your course of treatment. It’s also important to know that there are countless ways to fight back, such as medication, exercise, natural supplements, and sunlight.
Find out more about depression and how to combat it. #NoStigma