It used to be that you’d dream of winning the lottery so that all your money problems would be solved and you’d live a comfortable life of leisure for the rest of your days. More money, more problems? Never heard of it.
But there’s an unimaginable pressure that comes with fortune, and according to CNNMoney, experts are now saying wealth is a driving factor in causing depression for men and especially women.
Dr. Steven Roose, a psychiatrist with the Hope for Depression Research Foundation and whose clients mostly come from Wall Street, explains:
“There can be a kind of isolation for those people at the top … Wealth does not protect you from this illness any more than wealth protects you from cancer.”
Myra Salzer, a financial advisor and owner of The Wealth Conservancy, works with inheritors above the multimillion-dollar net worth range. People who come into large amounts of money quickly, she explains, become depressed.
“What people don’t realize is when there is a life-changing event — even conventionally good news like an inheritance — that their life changes and the life that they knew up until that point exists no longer … They don’t realize what’s wrong with them. They’re supposed to be happy and partying and buying drinks for everybody.”
Investment bankers on Wall Street are prime targets for depression. Peter, a current patient for depression, came from a wealthy family, has an Ivy League education, went to law school and now has a job at a top consulting firm. He has it all it seems, but he still finds himself in a hole of depression.
“It’s all tied up with the perception of lack of control and how that does not mesh with roles of power or high status … You’re saying, well gee, I’m the CEO or I’m the Goldman Sachs partner or partner at McKinsey or whatever the high status thing is, and I’m supposed to have my life under control and people look at me for leadership … this is not supposed to be happening to me.”
And yet, it does. Peter has unfortunately watched as friends and colleagues have also suffered from depression, describing how one friend who came from a similar background finally “locked himself in his car and stuck a hose in the tailpipe,” leaving behind a wife and three children.
Depressive tendencies are even worse for women who are rich, according to a study published last year. Women in jobs with authority may be more depressed than their male peers, partly because of “prejudice, discrimination, unfavorable stereotypes, negative social interactions, lack of communication and support from superiors and coworkers, and pressure to perform better than men to prove competence,” researchers explained.
We might always say we’d never let the money change us, but it’s not the kind of change we can control. You can still remain generous, kind and modest, but for others who know you are worth millions, how they treat you is something you can’t control. Money is responsibility in paper form, and the more you have of it, the more you might find you can’t handle those responsibilities.
If last year’s heartbreaking suicide of Robin Williams showed us anything, it’s that even when you might have everything anyone could want — money, fame, respect, and most of all love from your fans — depression can still destroy even the most beautiful of people.
Don’t ever look for happiness in wealth. Just like how Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma hates being rich, you might find the key to happiness in a simple and modest life.