I am not a numbers person. Contrary to my stereotype, I was horrible at math. But consider this:
- 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression.
- The National Alliance of Mental Illness estimate that 25 million American adults are affected by depression in one given year, but only half of them receive treatment.
- 30,000 people commit suicide each year.
- 750,000 people attempt suicide.
With numbers like these, you would think that depression would have been more widely accepted as a real disease. Sure, people are talking about it a lot more (which is great), but how long will that discussion last?
Will people take Robin Williams’ passing as the final kick in the pants and continue the discussion after his unfortunate suicide fades from headlines? Or will we forget about it and go back to our merry lives until another celebrity lends their voice to the issue or passes away?
The choice is yours.
I know where I stand because I’ve been on the verge of ending my life before. I’m still battling the demons of depression.
The hardest part was not the swallowing of the pills. It was not sitting for hours on a therapist’s sticky leather couch. It was not suppressing the urge to cut every time the medicine hit my system.
The hardest part was staying.
Staying alive for my friends and family.
Staying alive and hearing things like “It will get better,” even though life kept giving me reasons to throw the towel in.
Sometimes letting go is easier than staying.
I know that I didn’t believe that my life could get better. All I saw was the reality in front of me. And that reality was that my life wasn’t fun.
You could argue that suicide only benefits one person and leaves so many hurt people in the wake of tragedy. But I know that when I was thinking about dying, I wasn’t thinking about how selfish I was. I was not thinking that suicide would be a free pass. I was thinking about how I would no longer be a burden to my family and friends.
You could call Robin Williams selfish, but I’d be willing to bet that he held on for as long as he did because of his loved ones.
My friends are the only reason I’ve held on for this long.
Robin Williams was the one who said that we are all given “a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
What will you do with your one spark of madness?
6 thoughts on “The Truth Behind Depression & Suicide: My Thoughts On Robin Williams’ Passing”
What did (or didn’t) your friends say that made a difference to you when you felt that way? What advice can you give us for how to respond, or just be, with friends who are in a similar way?
Thanks for sharing this post with us. 🙂
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Very powerful words, Ali. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for your kind words, Liz!
I will keep speaking up. Depression has been a close companion of mine for many years. I’m very fortunate to have had access to and funding for therapy. Even still, I spent many years slicing my arms open (or other areas, but primarily my arms) to try to feel something or to try to make the pain go away.
I talk about going to therapy openly. I write about my mental health issues on my blog and on facebook. I do everything I can to show that I refuse to accept the stigma. I try to be that safe place for others who aren’t ready to speak yet.
Thank you so much for speaking. It matters.
Stopping by from SITS Sharefest.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sorry it took me so long to respond here. It’s wonderful to see that people like you are being so open. I’m still working through many of the issues that this has brought to the surface, but your comment gives me so much hope for the future. My hope is to do something similar for Asian Americans. It’s not an issue spoken openly in their communities, even in the states. Thank you so much for commenting!
Thank you for sharing your story, for sharing facts, for fighting ignorance and stigma.
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