We have a very specific dubious relationship with depression. For baby-boomers it was a big no-no. It was also an era of hard-core behaviorism – the mentality that any problem you have, will be remedied by cold shower or a military academy. Generation X started to be more open, especially the end of generation X which kind of started to border with millennials. But there is a big BUT with a single T.
So what happened? We started accepting having therapists whom we even don’t call „shrinks“ as often as we used to. We even managed to speak about many forms of depression and other psychological complications in very high-end terms and openly discuss them. What I still see happening is that it shifted to having people who supposedly managed (or really managed) to overcome the problems to have a “ten step” program to help you, because it helped them. Often it is miracle overcoming of whatever from people explaining it at their local TED show or so. All you have to do is A, B, C and voilá. Right? The web is crowded with people who have a beautiful story on how they overcame their depression or some form of a syndrome or handicap. They can help you, all you have to do is listen to them, sign-up to their newsletter, come to their seminar, better yet a webinar which is going to empower you… I think you know what I mean here.
My experience speaking with people who have low self-esteem or are depressed showed me something else. It is a continuous job that requires a very gentle push-pull techniques, trying to see what they see and trying to understand even if it maybe the most absurd thing under the sun you ever heard. Why? Why not… different is different, different does not mean wrong. Trying to understand people is one of the most important functions of marketing and marketers. Where else would you want to find insights than in listening to people, trying to understand their humanness and not only their public personas. Now the experience I have showed that people dealing with depressions are often extremely sensitive and have very good insights on things that are happening around them. This often allows them to be very talented in various fields and they tend to hide it because they feel it is not “good enough”. I am not saying it is a rule, of course not, but definitely worth giving a thought. Or just imagine, that the person is what is called a High Sensitive Person a term coined by Dr. Aron in 1996 (see another high-end term), around 20 – 30 % of people are supposedly “handicapped” this way… well just imagine the observations and insights these people can make because their neurosensory system is primed as a sponge for the world around them. Kind of like Croc Dundee when he is in his tracking/hunting mode as opposed to you not having that skill.
It is great that we can speak about these issues, but we should bear in mind that for the people that have these fights, rubbing in how easy it is to overcome it with “this ten step program” or my “new book on overcoming idiocy” or by having the right “glass half-full attitude”, etc. etc. – may not be the hype of motivation. Sometimes just take your time and try to learn about them, you might be surprised what you will find out.