Michael Landsberg: depression doesn't always look the same

According to Michael Landsberg, when he first went to his family doctor about his depression the doctor said, in effect, “You’re ok, I see you on television.” Many people make the same mistake that the doctor did. That’s because you can’t diagnose mental illness with an Xray or a thermometer.

Landsberg, a former sports broadcaster and journalist, spoke at CropSphere this week at Saskatoon to share his experience with mental illness. He told his own story, and the stories of others that are also struggling with their mental health. Along the way he offered some very helpful tips about how to seek help for yourself and others.

One thing that it is hard for people to understand is that depression is not just being sad. Being sad might be a symptom of depression but it might not. Landsberg explains it this way: “Some people who are sad have depression and some people who have depression are sad.” He goes on, “For me, I would say, I am very seldom, if ever, sad. It’s a totally different thing”

Landsberg says that another, better way to describe depression is a total lack of joy. He says about those who suffer depression, “We all lose the ability to experience joy. Not – we all lose joy in our lives – because that could be a reflexion of our situation in life.” People who are depressed can not simply be made happy.

Landsberg intends to continue to speak, travel, share the message of the #sicknotweak campaign, and speak out on the topic of  mental health and depression. Even if there is just one person in the room that acknowledges their problem and seeks help, he feels he is making a difference. As he says, “The worse thing about depression and mental illness is suicide, obviously, but there’s other things which are almost as bad, and one of them is living your life without experiencing joy.”

Listen to the interview with Michael Landsberg below.

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