Here is an article by Owen Kelly, Ph.D., outlining three fictional cases of lawyers with depression. Do any of the three sound like someone you know?
- [Pierre] He no longer enjoys things they way he used to and he feels a profound sense of sadness just about every day; so much so that he feels utterly hopeless about his future. To make matters worse, Pierre's previously healthy appetite has evaporated and he often finds himself waking up very early in the morning and unable to fall back asleep. Although Pierre has always enjoyed hockey and weight-training, lately he has found that he just doesn’t have the energy to do much of anything. At work, he has been scraping by and cannot seem to concentrate or make quick decisions, both of which have conspired to send his self-esteem and sense of worth into a tailspin.
- [Alia] has taken on an extraordinary number of cases and often works three or four days straight without sleeping or so much as a quick nap, yet she remains completely functional. Recently, friends have remarked that Alia seems to be much more talkative than usual, almost as if she cannot get out the words fast enough. Alia herself has noticed that she seems to have a million thoughts racing through her head at any given time and that she is hopelessly distracted. Although Alia has been generating a lot of revenue through her increased caseload, she's been prone to wild spending sprees, racking up $17,000 in credit card bills in just the last two weeks.
- Rahim does not remember a period where he has been truly happy—he has always felt a sense of sadness about himself even though he has a loving family. Although intelligent, he suffers from low self-esteem and has always been plagued by poor sleep and low levels of energy. Rahim is functional at work, however, he definitely feels that he has not excelled in his career the way he could have, which he attributes largely to a crippling talent for procrastination about making important decisions, as well as his difficulty concentrating. Although Rahim feels that he certainly isn't a miserable as he could be, he feels burdened by a nagging sense of hopeless about his situation and worries that he might get even worse one day.
These three cases respectively describe major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. As explained in Dr. Kelly's article, all three are treatable.
(Hat tip to Dan Hull.)