Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression and Suicide: Reflecting on Robin Williams

I've been watching the back and forth of the various voices out there who have weighed in on Robin Williams' untimely and truly sad death. I've stayed silent, processing each side. And frankly, I feel THIS ARTICLE (well ok, technically it was an original post and then a response) is probably the most comprehensive way to describe how I feel about this situation.
Contrary to critics, it doesn't blame the deceased or say that depression is "curable" or anything like that. In fact, it points to the fact that depression and suicidal tendencies are at their very core incredibly deep rooted, multi-symptomatic and multi-causal, difficult things to deal with. But even at the very end, there is a choice, and I would hope to God and all things holy in this world that my family and friends, as well as my own self, would choose to try and find life the acceptable route to take! There is always someone out there who loves you, someone who appreciates having you around and would miss you when you were gone, even if you feel like there isn't.
Our job as human beings is to try and spread joy and happiness, rather than perpetuate the myth that we are all unhappy. Yes, life is hard. Yes, it's unfair. Yes, sometimes it just flat out sucks! But I have to believe that there is something more, something to strive for, even if I feel like everything is working against me.
Before you say I don't understand - trust me, I do. I do in a big way. Every day is a challenge and another pink pill (or two) along with various other therapies. I've been at rock bottom before, where I just couldn't see the light or the reason for life. But the fact was that I could tell there were some people who cared - not a whole lot of them, and some of them for the wrong reasons - and I knew that if I hadn't been taken out of this world via the hand of God, then I really had no right to do it to myself. Even though I wanted to. BADLY. I wanted the pain to end, the darkness to fade. And honestly? I wanted people to realize that maybe I was someone special that they should have cared more about. That was selfish of me, but perhaps even more indicative of the people I was surrounding myself with who weren't spreading joy and happiness or who saw me as a dispensable part of their lives - and guess what?
I made new friends. I found a small piece of happiness every day, even though some days that was something like junk food (yep, I'm a binge eater when I'm depressed - yet another side effect that many people don't talk about) or the fact that I hadn't punched anyone in the face (hey, sometimes people deserve a good punch in the face!).
Oh, and I don't think you have to be religious to avoid suicide. In fact, at the point in my life where I was the most suicidal, I also considered myself to be religious and attended religious services frequently (and even did a few stints at Christian summer camps as a junior and senior counselor). One of my most religious friends committed suicide. I know plenty of atheists who have found ways to make the choice to live. Either way, it's a spiritual thing as well as a mental and emotional thing - it's too complicated to confine to the worldly plane, so I think even atheists can agree there is a component that sits in your soul.
So, this message goes out to all of YOU - those who struggle, and those who don't but love someone who does. Let's promise to be a better support system and spread joy and happiness as much as possible. We can't go back in time and undo the suicides that have already happened, but we CAN be an ACTIVE part of suicide prevention - for ourselves, and for others. Let's make the choice.

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