When you live with depression, you become very good at hiding your feelings and wearing a mask. Depression doesn’t have a face.
Sometimes you try hard to overcompensate with exaggerated optimism. At other times you can’t get the energy up to socialise at all and you withdraw completely for a few weeks.
But things will change. You’re not alone. No matter who you are, there are people who care. You will get through the lows, but it’s easier with people supporting you. In the meantime, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to admit you need help. You’re human.
If you need to talk to someone, call the South African Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837.
Greetings strangers, I apologise for the deafening sound of crickets in my eight-month absence from the blog. For my first post back, I am taking the easy way out by (just) showing you a video of my talk at this year’s Lead SA Change Makers Conference, held on Saturday 20 August. The conference being about leadership and inspiring social change, my talk attempted to link the concept of leadership with the need for us to change the conversation about depression from one of stigma and shame to one of understanding and compassion. Watch the video and let me know what you think:
The keynote address at the conference was given by Advocate and then-Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, while some of the other speakers were UCT Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation Mamokgethi Phakeng, Unilever Corporate Affairs Director Sibonile Dube, former CEO of the Steve Biko Foundation Nkosinathi Biko, 2015 Lead SA Hero of the Year Marlon Parker, and Heal The Hood’s Emile Jansen, who won this year’s Lead SA Hero of the Year Award. Needless to say, they all were phenomenal and I came away moved, inspired and blessed to have been there. You can read a summary of the day’s talks on the Lead SA website or watch the videos of their talks for yourself on the Lead SA channel on YouTube.
Last week Al Jazeera screened a roundtable discussion about mental health on the Stream, its online TV show. The chat covered the impact of mental illness on people around the world, in particular the youth, and some of the global issues causing mental health to be a taboo subject in many societies.
The studio participants included a teacher with obsessive compulsive disorder, a psychologist, a mental health advocate and a senior counsellor from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. I also had the honour of sharing my perspective in a video clip featured in the show. This episode turned out to be an illuminating, well-balanced conversation on one of the most relevant and controversial topics in healthcare. Please watch it when you have a moment.