The Silent Killer

In this ever changing world of ours – A world where everything seems to be moving rapidly at a faster pace. Meetings, life commitments and your general everyday “to do list” – seems to be growing longer and longer.

As a society we have made astounding developments in technology as well as in many areas of the medical field. However, in my opinion there is one area which still up to this day has a sorely huge stigma attached to it. Many people choose to never admit that they suffer from it. Many corporate companies tend to feel that it is a liability if an employee suffers from it. So sad! But so true!

What am I going on and on about? It is depression! Depression is a treatable medical condition. Many fail to realise that depression has a lot to do with a biological cause, however many tend to search for external factors, thinking that by finding the external factors they can get to the root of the issue.

The sad reality is many people suffering from depression never seek help. Left untreated and undiagnosed the depression can get worse – lasting for many years and very possibly leading to suicide. How often have we been so surprised after hearing a person who we knew very well, commit suicide? I feel that people in general are insensitive when they pass comments like, “Suicide is such a selfish and cowardly thing to do.”

Before a comment like the above is passed, one needs to realise that it is so unfair to even pass a comment like that. A person in a depressed state resorts to suicide due to the fact that his/her depression has progressed so severely that the depressed individual cannot realistically see any other way out of their depression.

As a society, we need to come together and help with the fight against depression. As much as there are many depression support groups, there needs to be much more. Besides having more support groups we need to tackle this medical condition from grass root level. Yes! That’s correct from a school-going  child, we need to plant the seed that it’s okay if one suffers from depression. It’s okay to seek help!

It’s due to society not handling depression in the way it should be handled, it has and will continue spiralling out of control. Even in the work environment, I have heard of cases where employees were stigmatised after coming clean with depression. As much as the law is on the side of the employee with regards to depression, the heartache and pain that goes with admitting one’s depressive state leads most employees to resign and walk away from the unaccommodating employer. “How long is a piece of string?”  (Implying how long does the company need to wait or give the employee to recover from this depression and get back to normality) That is a question which a South African manager working in a well-known corporate company asked the employee. This question was posed to the employee about a month after the employee openly admitted to his fight against depression. For his own sanity, this employee needed to resign as working conditions became unbearable. Just thinking about this story makes me very concerned that there are probably many cases like this. South African companies need to address depression and more especially focus on training management on how to carry out themselves when dealing with employees suffering with this condition.

When it comes to this subject of depression, one can go on and on. One blog would never ever do justice to this topic.

Another area of depression is the stigma attached to men suffering from depression. Many men and society to a large extent deem it less manly to admit depression. “Men supposed to just snap out of it and move on.”

In my commitment in making  a positive difference, last year I founded a Non-profit organisation called Speedy Speed which primary focused on fighting hunger  in underprivileged schools. I have always said that Speedy Speed is focused in making a positive difference in both children’s and adults lives.

With me having so much of exposure on depression on many different levels, last year I committed to taking up studying psychology. This is another area in which I’m so very passionate about making a positive difference in. Okay, I guess some of you may be wondering how much further I’m going to take this to. Well…since Speedy Speed is a Non-Profit organization focused on making a difference, I’m committing  to branch out this organisation. So going forward, Speedy Speed will still continue our fight against hunger in underprivileged schools but added to our cause will be the fight against depression. Yes, it’s going to keep me more busy but this is something I feel will also make a positive difference in many people’s lives. In the coming weeks and months I will reveal more on the way forward. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in being a part of this initiative in any way whatsoever please email info@speedyspeed.co.za. This invite includes psychologists, students studying psychology or even people currently fighting depression.

Together we can make more of a positive difference! Life is too precious not to be treasured and cherished. Let’s do this!

Blog Post by Suren Naicker