64 Comments to
Woman Loses Sick-Leave Benefits for Depression Thanks to Facebook Pics

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  1. You have to be kidding me….. depression? try being self employed – we don’t get to take time off for depression! We simply have to keep working. I am so sick of people using the system because they simply don’t want to work. I side with the insurance company – if she can go out and play – she can go out and work.

  2. You don’t find recovering depressives on holiday smiling for the photos anymore than you find recovering alcoholics hanging around bars/pubs – It does not happen. She is a classic example of the trend to invent illnesses where none exist. 30 years ago she’d have been told to sort herself out and get back to work or be sacked. Zero sympathy here.

  3. How dare they?!? Having suffered from major depression for over 13 years, what we feel inside and what we show on the outside can so often be poles apart. A photo is a captured moment in time – it does not show what a person is truly feeling inside. Just as a photo can’t show if a person has epilepsy or cancer, nor can it show if you are suffering from depression.

    Depression is paralyzing in so many ways. So often we put on a brave face when around others, as we don’t want to bring them down. We can’t “pull ourselves together and snap ourselves out of it” – would that it were so simple. Yes there are people who use “depression” as a reason to rort the system. But those of us who are genuine would give damned near anything to be “normal” again.

    Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, like diabetes. To all you narrow-minded, judgemental, ignorant people out there who think that we’re faking it, think of this … if you were diagnosed with Diabetes, would you expect people to say “snap yourself out of it”? No??? Well neither can people suffering from depression.

    It is one of the most evil of illnesses. So many of us diagnosed with depression do shut ourselves away from the world. Just because we’re seen in public with, God forbid, a smile on our faces doesn’t mean we’re fakes. Most of us are trying hard to smile so people won’t know just how bad we feel – and sometimes smiling make us feel a little better for a few minutes … and stops us from crying our eyes out. Last time I checked with my psychiatrist, that wasn’t a crime!

    So before you are OH SO READY TO JUDGE depression as a fake illness, and sprout your ill-informed and hurtful views, take the time to research it more. Talk to people who are diagnosed with depression … read books about it … because like so many of us, one day it may happen to you & then you won’t know what hit you!!! You shouldn’t be so quick to judge until you’ve walked a mile in our shoes!

  4. I think, it is not wise if judging someone just by looking at photos. image alone is not enough to say that someone suffering from depression or not. photographs can provide a mental picture, but can not serve as a reference point. The most accurate is the diagnosis from a doctor

  5. I agree with the other posters here. If this woman can take the time to post on FaceBook/MySpace, can take the time to take a trip and hang out with strippers, then she can get a job and work!!!

    She is just like some of the people here who post on Psych Central’s message boards. They claim they cannot work and yet they post several times a day to the boards whining about their lives.

    Get a job folks… if you can type 20 messages a day on a message board, you can work!!!

    It’s time to stop being lazy!!!


  6. Peppermint: that’s great, I’m so glad there are jobs out there for disabled and infirm, that are the equivalent of posting 20 messages per day. Please do point them out for us.

    Sometimes belief in oneself is half the battle, and for someone living with depression, that is hard. I have physical disabilities as well as long-term relapsing depression, and it has taken me a long time to believe I am capable of doing a job of more than a few hours per week. I am now awaiting a start date for a new job, I am happy to say. But I got there by thanks to a lot of support, and a great deal of psychological help.

    Comments like “stop being lazy”, are precisely what kept me so low, and prevented me from taking on more work, for years.

  7. I did genealogy for a long time. If I do a google search of my name, it will pop up posts I made in a newsgroup 15 years ago. If you post on line, in any way, you have no privacy and should not expect to have any privacy. Regardless of what the settings were on a social networking account or not. If you interact on the Internet with the expectation of privacay or confidentiality, you’ll eventually be sorely disappointed.

    Having been clinically depressed to the point of planning a suicide…if I had had the energy to go on vacation, I would likely not tried to overdose. If the idea of being around ANYONE, let alone strippers had not been repulsive and I avoided company and contact at all costs, someone might have figured out that I was going to try to kill myself sooner. It was a friend who was trying to get me to go out and have lunch that saved my life by not taking ‘no’ for an answer and coming to my house.

    In the three months that I was depressed I had one pix was taken and I looked like a ghoul. Posing for a picture–in a bikini? Regardless of whether or not a picture is just a record in time, it’s the entire concept of being WILLING and ABLE to have the picture taken in the venue that it was taken…..

  8. Are you serious! Nothing is sacred on the internet. Have you forgotten about hackers and big brother?

    If the Dr. prescribed the sun and vacation, she should be allowed the benefits.

    Have a wonderful day…..:-)

  9. My only question is, how is the lady ever supposed to get over her depression if she DOESN’T try to go out to the beach and get some sun? Go out to the bars and meet new friends, maybe even get laid? Do they expect her to become a shut-in, never leaving the home, popping prozac after prozac until a miracle happens and she can magicially return to work, a new person?

  10. Haha good point Desiree Nothing is sacred on the internet!!

  11. Can’t believe how small minded some people are who have posted. Ive suffered from depression for 25 years, Ive got plenty of photographs of me smiling when Ive been dying inside. Im smiling mainly because I dont want to spoil the fun for others or bring them down. I hope to god that you never have to experience a major depressive episode. I get myself into work but thats only because I have a boss and colleagues that support and understand me. Thank god I dont work for the small minds out there.

  12. Wow…the broad spectrum of responses here is, in many ways, more saddening than the story itself – and indicative of a common larger problem.

    Depression (and mental illness in genral) is still taboo in our society – this does NOT help the sufferers, or our society as a whole. Major Deprsesive Disorder cannot be overcome by sheer will. We don’t know the story behind the story. Perhaps this woman tried forever to gather enough enthuasiasm for life to try to force herself to take a vacation, for instance. I was a very “successful” executive in my field when I was diagnosed. I lost my job and spent a year off work, and another year-plus doing reduced work, trying to get back into my career, etc. I was in a part time program at the hospital and worked with a number of professionals (psychologists/doctors, etc). One critical part of my recovery plan was to focus on summoning the strength to act as if I weren’t depressed…by finding the things that I used to find pleasurable, and doing them anyway…even though this probably won’t bring me any joy for some time. So I did. Somedays I still couldn’t get out of the house. Somedays I was good enough for day trips, I worked up to going to the beach for a weekend. Point is – I could have been the woman in the picture. And I was far from ready to work again at the time. I look back on it and feel fortunate that depression didn’t claim my life as well. I’m lucky, more than you know.

    Now – imagine if this woman had been off work because she was tired from cancer treatment – or another illness that wouldn’t be judged out of ignorance. I doubt many of the sceptics would be as critical. Perhaps this was a break between rounds of chemo, for instance. Regardless, I think more of us would agree that the pictures do not constitute damning evidence.

    Perhaps this woman left the pictures up intentionally, having fallen out of all her social and professional circles due to the illness – I suspect that she may have been relieved to have a single picture to post to stop the rumor mill, reassure worried people that she was recovering, etc.

    We have all ready about the severely depressed person that, left untreated and at the lowest depth of the illness – abruptly start acting cheerful and normal again. Immediately prior to suicide! This is not as uncommon as you might think. Surely, these people are extremely disabled despite the fact that they seem otherwise on the outside for a period of time.

    Moreover, adjusting to antidepressants usually comes with alot of side effects (you can’t drive, sleep properly, etc). You must get through them and wait for them to subside before you know if the drug will help you. During this time, you wouldn’t be able to work or do anything that requires accountability/consistent behaviour – but it’s entirely plausible that you could vacation.

    I felt personally ashamed of myself when I was diagnosed. I never though of myself as someone who could be clinically depressed. I bet the cynics are in the same shoes as I was. But I wasn’t at fault, any more than I would be with a diagnosis of diabetes or anything eles. Why do we regard mental illness with such bias and ignorance? Just like we can have a range of ailments (and levels of disability) with our physical bodies (from a cold, to a flu, to a disorder to a more debilitating disease)…wouldn’t it naturally follow that we can have a spectrum of mental illness and related levels of disability too? But people that contend with the later deal not just with the disability (and depression can be very physical as well for the record) – but also the social stigma and fear of being judged badly for something that is not their fault. Ironically this makes people sicker, and delays many people from getting a faster diagnosis.

    The gall of some people…I am sure she has proof of a medical diagnosis, and her doctor would attest to asking her to try to take a trip to aid the road to recovery – to be cynical is to discount not just the woman/victim, but it also implies that you’re diagnosis is superior to that of her own doctor. Such ignorance and stigma is all too common. Future generations will look at our misconceptions/ignorance of depression as unthinkably backward and marvel at how society has changed.

    Until society becomes more educated about depression- the single biggest disability in terms of common prevalence and cost to companies – things won’t get any better. The ironic twist is that social awareness would result in faster diagnosis/easier to treat illness, less “pre-senteeism” to people midly affected but non-productive at work, and less time missed from work (and life) altogether.

  13. Sorry for the long-winded response! I just have alot to say about this kind of thing.

    I also think that it basically comes down to pictures being exactly that – snapshots. Pictures that represent glimpses in time DO NOT necessarily represent someone’s overall state. Work requires consistency, that this woman be well most (if not, all) of the time.

    Let’s be fair here..the most that we can arguably deduce from snapshots is that she is well/functional SOME of the time. It still leaves most of this woman’s day to day life in the dark.

    Perhaps the ignorant people do not know how wellness fluctuates as you struggle with the illness. It is not the same as discovering pictures of an employee with a bad back, or severe physical ailment playing sports!

    Can we (or the insurance company) legally assume that the pictures are representative of her day-to-day state? I would guess not. I’d get a lawyer if I were her. But that’s the healthy me talking! lol!

    Inconsistent performance/being well some of the time is not good enough to keep a job, I should know. I’m sure I’ve had coworkers who derided whta they perceived to be “excuses”. I just kept doing the best I could (working inconsistently) until I was ultimately fired. It would have been better for me and my company if I had taken voluntary leave earlier…..like the woman in the story.

    Guess you can’t win either way.

  14. Unfortunately when you post your life in a public forum for all to see, such as Facebook and the like, you are sure to be scrutinized by some as well as adorned by others. You have to take the good and the bad and posting pictures on Facebook of all “Happy Times” and posting them, is not the wisest decision when you are depressed and receiving leave for it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that you can’t make any determination from a few photos of someones mental health, but using a little discretion might have been a better idea in this situation. Btw, I thought that you couldn’t have your health benefits taken away in Canada.

  15. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but this is too much…
    I’ve seen a lot of depressive persons smile one day and wake up sad and drained of energy the next one.
    But other than that, we can now ask..Is Facebook the new Big Brother?
    If so…it’s our own fault…

  16. Social Media are becoming very powerful, but only as powerful as we (those on the social media) let them become. We love social media, but this is an extreme example…

  17. Thanx 2 Jennifer and those who do understand. If you hav never suffered w/ clinical depression you hav no place to judge. Im clinically depressed w/ social anxiety and Adult ADD. I dont want to be this person I’ve become. I do have days when I get out of bed and maybe even crack a few smiles and jokes. Yet 99.9% of the time I just want to lay down and DIE! Ignorant people who make comments like, “Stop being lazy” or”Just snap out of it and get a job” only make it feel worse. May you never be judged by a blind critic who knows nothing of which they speak, such as yourselves!!! BTW I have always ben a hard worker and it kills me inside that I havnt worked for several years now. If I was okay my doc wouldnt have had me locked up N a psych ward on suicide watch about a year ago. I’m not who I used to be and I am frightened to death

  18. This is an absolute joke and just shows how un-educated people are on mental health issues! I have just stumbled accross this and it has made me so mad, how can anyone actually believe just because this woman may have had her mind taken off things on holiday n had a few gud pics seriously means she’s not depressed anymore. I have suffered from depression for 5years and the help I got was diobolical. 1doctor even sed to me “well u don’t look depressed now” so obviously to be depressed in their eyes u have to be in a rediculous visible state 24/7 for some reason u can’t cover your feelings up for 10mins while u walk down the st or sit in the docs waiting room! May I also pount out that some forms of depression involve highs and lows so how can someone judge something so serious on a few pictures?? Its quite obvious to me that many of these people that deal with benefits n many more people in other professions need properly educating on something so serious before taking such drastic and to be frank cruel accusations and then cutting all her benefits. Its discusting!

  19. OMG I am on disability for depression myself, I have panic and anixiety attacks all the time…. but YES I do have some days when I smile TG or I would have killed myself by now.
    I hope she wins and I hope they pay BIG for doing this to her I heard she lost her house too

    • Oh yes and by the way my Couseller told me to take a vacation as well but I didn’t …couldn’t so TG I didnt … I may have ended up in the same boat.

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