A Discussion About Depression

In the past two days, there have been a lot of posts on my newsfeed about the passing of my childhood idol Coco Lee. Coco Lee was a singer, dancer, and the first Chinese who performed at Oscar. She was famous for her work in the movie Mulan. I grew up listening to her music, as do a lot of my friends around my age. 

The cause of her death was suicide. Another celebrity suicide. She had a successful, glamorous career. She was married to a Canadian billionaire (Her wedding was reported to have cost 20 million dollars!). She lived the life of a dream of many people. So did a lot of the celebrities who committed suicide. Yet, they left this world the way they did. 

Many of them suffered from depression which has contributed to their cause of suicide. 20% of adults in America currently live with mental illness. There have been many discussions about mental health in recent years. 

Personally, I struggle with depression many times in my life too. 

A few years ago, I read a book called “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck – a psychologist who specializes in psychotherapy. In the book, the author talks about a new perspective to look at depression. 

He says depression is not a mental illness. It is a normal and basically healthy phenomenon. He describes depression as a lobster shedding shell. As the lobster outgrows its own body, it inevitably experiences pain. Depression is a natural part of growth. “It becomes abnormal or unhealthy only when something interferes with the giving-up process, with the result that the depression is prolonged and cannot be resolved by completion of the process.” – Scott Peck

If we view depression from this perspective, it could be seen as a phase or transition to the next stage in life. Depression doesn’t last forever. Many who chose to take their own lives couldn’t live through the process, to the other side of the tunnel.

This could lead to another discussion about self-love. In the same book, the author discusses self-love as not the love we give to ourselves but the love that we receive from other people. That points out how important it is for us to be connected to other people. More than that, how important it is for us to receive love and care from other people. 

Letting people know we care about their well-being and their importance in life and at the same time, letting others know when we need their love and care could be the antidote to the problem. I wish for a world where we don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help and at the same time do not hold back to express our love. Everyone is fighting a battle we don’t know about. 

With that being said, let’s call somebody we love and show them that we care, shall we?

Coco Lee – photo taken from www.asiaone.com