The Flawed Concept Behind “But You Have Nothing to Be Depressed About”!

The Flawed Concept Behind “But You Have Nothing to Be Depressed About”!

 

anthony bourdain
Photo courtesy of CNN

I was saddened to learn that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died by his own hand. When the news broke, I was in Paris for a work trip; he was also in France filming his show “Parts Unknown”. He has always been someone I wanted to meet. I’ve read his novels (Gone Bamboo, Bone in Throat). I followed his shows from Travel Channel to CNN’s Parts Unknown. Anthony had the coolest adventures, dove into a country’s politics head first, and provided me with even more countries for my travel bucket list.

 

In the last few episodes I watched, I thought he didn’t look good. He was thinner, more gray, and seemed to be going through the motions. The joy was no longer in his eyes. He was less of a prankster.

The signs were there – something was wrong.

As I realized in the last couple of years in my own life, travelling for work can be perilous. It seems glam at first —but after the newness subsides, it gets really overwhelming. Another hotel, another bed, the air conditioning in the room is not quite right, preventing a good night’s sleep. By always being away, you miss friend’s birthdays, events, dinner parties. You start to feel isolated. Add depression to the mix, and it becomes a deadly combination. You do it because you love the work (hopefully), but it can be killing you.

It’s possible that’s what happened to Anthony.

People often look at celebrities, or regular folks and say “but what do they have to be depressed about?! So and so has money, fame, a beautiful house and spouse.” The trappings of material things do not address internal emotional pain. The mindset that one has “no reason” to be depressed often serves as a barrier to either giving or getting the help that is needed.

Depression can result from any of a number of things — a “reason” is not required.

Depression is incredibly horrendous. No matter how awesome your life may be on the outside or on social media, your heart may be breaking. When you’re deeply depressed, death speaks to you. It’s like the siren’s song. It says “come sweetie, I’ll make you feel better. I’ll end this pain”. After drinking, drugs, or a painful event, she’s even more seductive. You need the voices of friends and family to drown it out, as well as a great therapist — sometimes including medication.

Depression is not something that can be prayed away, or ignored. You don’t just “get over it”. It takes work, and you literally have to fight for your life. You will have setbacks. You will have days you can’t get out of bed. Sometimes the medication prescribed to you doesn’t help, and you need a new formula. The fight is worth it because it does get better.

If you have never been in this much pain, you are lucky. It’s not because you are strong or better than someone who has been there. It’s like being in a car accident. Some people never have had one; others have. Some people get horribly depressed, others don’t. But just the same way you do not judge someone for having a car accident, you should not judge someone for depression. It’s easy to say about Anthony “oh how selfish, what about his child”. In his pain, he may have thought he was doing her a favor. Remember, depression has a powerful voice in your head, grossly distorting reality.

Never underestimate the pain of another. Be kind to others. I read a beautiful thread on Twitter of how a group of friends came together to help a friend that was suffering from depression after the death of her father. Although she was shutting everyone out, they literally came to her house en masse, cleaned up, brought food, and made it a party. It helped her tremendously. It’s risky, but is an idea on how to help a depressed friend.

If you are constantly on the road for work, try to maintain your connections at home. Take time to rest, use your vacation time, and if possible, try to take your loved ones on the road with you.

If you are in pain, seek help, and disregard the opinions of others who try to dissuade you from therapy. Fight that mute button that depression places on your throat. It’s a hard battle, but know you are loved and you are valued. You will be missed, no matter what the voices in your head say.

I say this to my fellow social justice warriors and people of color.  Please practice self care.  Please check on each other.  Get a therapist if you feel you need one. Being in the struggle for justice can take a horrible toll.

RIP Anthony Bourdain….and all others who have lost their battle with depression.

See resources on suicide prevention at http://www.sprc.org/.

If you are in the South Florida area and need resources, message me.

We’re all in this together.

M.

 

 

Diversity Discussions…

Diversity Discussions…

I share this post from my friends at News One — diversity should not be feared, it must be embraced! When we have close to 75% of Fortune 500 CEO’s who are white men, in 2015 — there’s a problem. Sam’s Club CEO Roslind Brewer pointed out that she continually walks the walk; she mentors, and she challenged other companies to be diverse. Somehow, there’s a section of society that thought she was racist to do so. Sam’s Club stands behind her, and we should all accept her challenge. 

Dear White People: What’s Your Beef With Corporate Diversity?

[ione_embed src=http://player.theplatform.com/p/BCY3OC/Ha5BggifMuHL/select/media/LhZZk90eSiDD?form=html service=tvone.com width=612 height=467] When Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer discussed corporate diversity during an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, social media blew up with criticism from White people who believed the Black executive was pushing a racist agenda. We know, however, that a much-needed diversity talk in corporate America will do more good than harm. […]

http://newsone.com/3298062/dear-white-people-whats-your-beef-with-corporate-diversity/

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Sherman’s March to the Superbowl…

Richard Sherman.

I bet you had no clue who he was before last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.  I certainly didn’t. I think he would rather be remembered for this….

sherman

than the rant he gave after the game to Erin Andrews of Fox and with reporters in post game interviews.

sherman and erin

In the now infamous rant heard round the world, he insulted receiver Michael Crabtree from the 49ers.

So why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a result of his comments, he received a ton of backlash, some of it racist in content.  The nicest of the tweets and posts  called him a thug, and went downhill from there to include racial slurs. Some even called for him to be shot in the head, calling him a disrespectful (n word).

What???

Here is a reminder that clearly America is not past race.  The bottom line is this.  Did he act inappropriately? This was not a rant at an art gallery opening, or at Wimbledon.  This was football. Plain and simple.  The sport where aggression is rewarded, and the hardest hits put points on the scoreboard.  Why is he expected to act like he is in Sunday service? Other players have said inappropriate things in the moment of victory, why is this somehow an indictment of all people of color?

Newsflash: Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford at the top of his class.  He is highly educated.  He was not raised in the hood. He volunteers his time with needy children.

Take a look at the interview Sherman gave to CNN’s Unguarded. Is this the portrait of a thug? Richard Sherman on CNN

And what about free speech? I thought getting shot for having a different opinion was a premise for repressed countries. Apparently some Americans have the same thought patterns as a dictator. This also brings to mind the Duck Dynasty saga. He said nasty things about gays (that we’re not direct quotes from the Bible FYI), and African Americans (no, we were not happier getting lynched during Jim Crow), and no one tweeted that he should be shot in the head. On the contrary, many people backed his free speech rights. So why is Sherman any different? He didn’t insult Crabtree’s mother. He didn’t burn the flag. The backlash is WAY out of proportion to what he said…and the racist comments are just vile.

Was I thrilled about what he said? No.  But I also was mad that the 49ers lost. If I was a Seahawks fan, I probably would have felt differently about his statements.

Should he have conducted himself better? Of course, there is always room for improvement.  He could have been more gracious in victory. But we can’t expect players to beat each other up on the field, and seconds later, act like they are in a Grey Poupon  commercial.

mustard
“Excuse me sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Regardless, I am still #OmahaOmaha Broncos Nation for Superbowl Sunday. Richard Sherman will be fine, he may even get a bunch of endorsements out of this whole experience.

But it is still disturbing to realize that in 2014, race is very much a factor, and can erupt at any time.

M.