Do Successful People Experience Depression?

One of the greatest myths which prevail in our lives is the myth of being without. We are constantly programmed to believe that we are missing something, something which could make us better, make our lives better, or make us happier. This myth leads us to believe that while are are missing something, other people have that one thing or the many things we believe we are lacking. Those people, we falsely assume, couldn’t possibly be lacking in a single area of their lives, let alone their happiness. Whether it be looks, fame, or wealth, we see what they have as making them successful and what we don’t have as making us failures. If we can just be successful, we convince ourselves, if we can just have those things, we won’t be failures and we won’t be unhappy. Such a delusion can drive us to depression, anxiety, self-destructive behaviors, and more.

Being at the ubiquitous “top” isn’t all that the myth of being without makes it to be. Take, for example, C-Suite executives who are at the top of the hierarchy in their prospective industries. After working laboriously for many years to achieve the title, status, and responsibility of being in a C-Suite position, many executive professionals find themselves struggling with depression. “Business leaders and entrepreneurs might even be more vulnerable because of the outsized stresses of their jobs and the traits that have brought them success in the first place,” writes CNN Money. The old cliche “it’s lonely at the top” does have a place in the discussion of depression among executives. Being a C-Suite executive comes with unrelenting pressure to perform, to uphold company standards, and to put on a strong face for employees, fellow executives, and investors. Moreover, in the modern digital age of social media, executives are faced with a greater public pressure to “keep up appearances”. Though mental health is becoming a more normalized, mainstream topic, it continues to carry damaging shame and stigma which prevent executives from speaking about it authentically.

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