By James Cowley, Marketing & Administration Intern

Depression is  one of the more common mental illnesses. Almost anyone  can be diagnosed with it. It could affect someone’s day to day living, causing them to be less productive and unable to carry out daily tasks. People who go through depression can also isolate themselves and may avoid social situations and events. Surprisingly celebrities such as Owen Wilson and Lady Gaga  can struggle with depression.

One thing to consider is if you or someone you love struggles with depression it could affect more than just their mood. For example, a manager of a Fortune 500 company notices that there’s one coworker who always calls in, shows up late for work and meetings, or just has a hard time finishing assignments. The manager is pretty familiar with this particular employee’s work ethic and knows it differs from what it used to be in the past. The employee used to always come in on time, finish his work, and would always be someone to count on. Concerned about these changes, the manager calls him into the office and has a discussion with him. The coworker tells him as of lately he hasn’t been himself. Finally he opens up and lets his manager know he has been recently living with depression. Now the manager better understands that not everything is the employee’s fault, and he better understands the employee’s work performance.

Another  example would be Charlie’s depression. Charlie just recently got a divorce and it has taken a big impact on him. Charlie used to be known as a hard worker and he was always someone you could count on. As of lately he has been diagnosed with depression. Because of that he has been getting less and less sleep and having a harder time getting out of bed. Charlie has went from being pretty outgoing to someone who would like to just keep to himself which has caused him to lose contact with a lot of his friends.

Charlie experiences one of the many symptoms of depression which is isolation. Just like Charlie and many others experiencing  depression, socialization is no longer an enjoyment. For instance, when someone is going through depression they could be labeled as the wall flower or the lone wolf. The wall flower is someone at a lively event who mainly keeps to themselves. While everyone is dancing, socializing and having a good time that person is keeping to themselves. The only way that person would interact is if someone approached them. Really it’s not that person’s fault because it is hard to interact and be the life of the party when there are things that are going on in your life.

Like many mental illnesses it is always hard to know who is going through what and what someone might be diagnosed with. If you’re not a trained professional, do not go and “diagnose” someone you know or you don’t know. So if you see Charlie at the party keeping to himself, do not walk up to him and say, “Hey Charlie, I believe your diagnosis is depression, and you should get help.” Maybe Charlie is not necessarily depressed, but he much rather keep to himself, he is shy, or simply doesn’t know anybody. So in other words labeling everyone that keeps to themselves as depressed might offend them, or at least come across as weird.

Even though sometimes that is the case, you shouldn’t just simply ignore a person who is in distress or is depressed. Sometimes it could be obvious that a person might not be themselves or is dealing with something. That is when you should be a supportive friend or bystander and maybe offer them that shoulder to cry on and try to help them if they are open to it. If you want to know more about how to help someone living with depression, visit National Mental Health America’s page about how to get help for someone you know who may be facing a mental health challenge.

Celebrities are also known to struggle with depression. One of the celebrities that struggle with depression is Owen Wilson. Owen Wilson’s depression became known when he attempted  suicide. After he attempted suicide he later admitted that he was struggling with depression. No one really knows why he suffers from depression or what caused it. Another prominent celebrity that deals with depression is Lady Gaga. Even though Lady Gaga has a flamboyant personality and an out of this world fashion sense, she also struggles with depression. So sometimes even celebrities who make millions of dollars a year could struggle with depression. It goes back to that old saying that “money doesn’t really buy happiness”.

Sometimes there are reasons why people become depressed. It doesn’t always come out of nowhere. Certain things such as job loss, divorce, deaths, and even environment can cause someone to be depressed. Not only can depression be triggered through unfortunate events, it could also be hereditary. For instance, if a family member has depression, you could also struggle with depression as well. Another way depression could occur is through drug abuse. Drug abuse could cause someone to become depressed because for instance, if someone tries to become clean, the withdrawal alone could leave someone feeling empty. Even though these events can cause someone to be depressed, they can be coped with and treated.

There are a variety of ways to treat depression. Treatments may involve a prescription of antidepressants, counseling or therapy, or healthy habits, or a combination of all three. Each person is different and will respond to different treatments. Healthy habits may involve eating right and exercising. Another habit may be to find a hobby that you like and try to make time for it. Whether it is knitting, going for a walk, or volunteering, it can help you connect with new people, get out of the house, enjoy nature, and offer a healthy distraction.

So anyone thinking they are alone when it comes to depression they are not. Many people struggle with depression and a lot of them either struggle with it alone or go untreated. The best thing to do is not deny the fact that you are feeling depressed; let someone know what you are going through and seek help . Because remember no matter how hopeless you feel, you are never alone.