With the recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, depression, suicide and mental wellness are top of mind for people across a wide variety of industries. With so much shame around mental health issues how does society stop hiding behind masks of the perfect Facebook-worthy life? How do we acknowledge our humanity to others in a vulnerable way? We’ve found three accomplished speakers that are doing just that. They lead different lives, but have three things in common: they suffer from depression, they believe that dealing with depression begins with talking about it openly, and they want to end the stigma that surrounds it.
Nikki Webber Allen: Don’t Suffer From Your Depression In Silence
Resisting the urge to cry as she sorrowfully recounts the day she lost her nephew to depression, Nikki Webber Allen, a successful multimedia producer, shares her personal experiences with depression. She shares not only how depression affects her as a Black woman, but how the stigma affects other African-Americans as well. Her advice to those living with depression? Talk about it. Share your story. You are not alone in this.
Kevin Breel: Confessions Of A Depressed Comic
Depression hides itself perfectly. Kevin Breel knows exactly how it feels to mask his depression from those around him. He talks about living two different lives: “the one that everyone else sees and the one where only he sees.” He finds solace in the fact that having depression is okay, and that thoughts about suffering and depression are not a sign of weakness. We are only human after all.
Ruby Wax: What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?
Loud comedian and mother Ruby Wax talks about her mental breakdown during her daughter’s sports day and the shame that comes with it. With great energy and humor, she reminds us that laughter is a great remedy. She doesn’t talk about her mental illness in depth, though. Instead, she uses humor and props to demonstrate how mental illness affects the brain and the human body. Ultimately, she confesses with sincerity that, “your pets are happier than you are.”
If you or a loved one is in crisis, there are options available to help you cope. Confidential support is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for everyone in the United States. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255.