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Undiagnosed Depression Sabotages Productivity

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

It is reported that depression affects 1 in 10 Americans at one point or another. In the past, when you suffered from symptoms of depression, you might have bought into the myths of, “Suck it up. Everyone feels down sometimes.” Or, Just think of others who have it worse than you.”

There is an ongoing media stream with advice about depression and the need to reach out and confront the issue.  It seems that those who appear the “strongest,” have the greatest difficulty in recognizing this mental health problem. They do not seek help and support from family, friends, and professionals. Recent TED talks provide poignant examples:

  • Nikki Webber Allen, a high achieving professional, only reached out after her cousin committed suicide.
  • Victoria Garrick, an elite athlete, relates her journey in recognizing and battling depression (Athletes and Mental Health: the Hidden Opponent by Victoria Garrick.

Other TED Talks provide discussions of the causes and treatments of depression.

Not withstanding media discussions, over 80% of the people who have symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any specific treatment.

If you or someone near and dear to you seems down, lacks energy, has sleep or eating problems, or has lost interest in high-interest activities, consider using a survey to check the situation.

Depression saps the energy needs be productive. Fatigued and unmotivated, you might neglect your exercise routine or over- or –under eat. A vicious cycle can occur dragging your performance farther from your potential.

If there is a noticeable change in your performance or productivity, reach out. For example, perhaps you notice symptoms at one time of the year. Here is an info graphic that helps cut through the noise surrounding seasonal depression.

What can you do if you notice symptoms? Talk to a physician or mental health professional. Talk to family and friends. Read about symptoms and treatments. Over the past decades research has demonstrated the effectiveness of  numerous strategies and medications.

There are life style routines to help relieve everyday stress and avoid too many days of “the blues.” For example, for a healthy mind and body, we are advised to engage in regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, nutritious diet, mindfulness, mediation, yoga and regular social and recreational activities are advised.

The personal stories of high-achieving persons illustrate that depression is an illness that, on one hand may not be recognized, but on the other hand is treatable.  It is time to talk about depression and, when necessary, seek treatment to enhance productivity and life satisfaction.


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