Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

A cop’s fight with depression: I was successful, depressed, but unaware of my illness

depression-main Major depressive disorder, an advanced stage of depression, is also known as clinical, unipolar, recurrent depression. (Pic for representational purpose only)
Express News Service | Posted: September 3, 2014 11:44 am | Updated: September 3, 2014 11:49 am

Major depressive disorder, an advanced stage of depression, also known as clinical, unipolar, recurrent depression, is a mental disorder in which people experience persistent low mood accompanied by low self-esteem and a loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities.

According to a World Health Organization-sponsored study, around 9% of people in India suffer an extended period of depression within their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from Major Depressive Episode (MDE).

Simply a low mood, or a rough patch doesn’t mean one is suffering from depression; the person suffering from depression cannot snap out of the condition over a prolonged period and the condition adversely affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health.

In the United States, around 3.4% of people with major depression commit suicide, and up to 60% of people who commit suicide had depression or another mood disorder.

To prevent suicide, it is imperative that people who suffer from the illness get medical attention. Typically, people are treated with antidepressant medication and, in many cases, also receive counseling, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). If left untreated, it can prove fatal as the person may be inclined to commit suicide.

In India, people don’t really talk about depression and continue to suffer in silence. In an attempt to create awareness, starting today, we are launching a weekly series, wherein we will feature true stories of people from across the world, who decided to fight back and not succumb to the ‘deadly’ illness.

First in the series is the story of a cop who fought with depression first with his creativity and then with this willpower. Hats off to the man.

Read his story here:

‘I was considering suicide, a doctor unknowingly saved my life’

By Jim Russell

My name is Jim Russell. I have been in law enforcement in Florida for over 21 years. I have a mental illness. I have major depressive disorder.

Those things are not supposed to go together. A police officer is supposed to be in control at all times, and must in all circumstances, be a person trained and equipped to work with and interact effectively with the mentally ill, not be one of the mentally ill. That is the supposition, anyway, and it is completely wrong. And unfortunately, this belief is what causes many officers to avoid seeking help, and ultimately die by suicide. When I started my career, little did I know that this fact would become a driving force in my life, not merely as a cause, but as a very personal purpose.

Now, when I began my law enforcement career in 1993, I had no idea that I was already experiencing symptoms of MDD. In fact, looking back at my early years, I likely was ill at 16 or 17 years old, as my artwork dating to this period was often very emotional and continued…

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