There was an ache when Robin Williams died from suicide a few years ago. It shook the world. It shook MY world. At the time, I was taking medication for my severe depression and it was just a few weeks earlier that I had to up my dose because I wasn't doing well.
I connected with Robin through his movies as well as his public struggle with depression.
How People Reacted
I read how people were so confused as to why Robin could do this when he seemed so funny/happy. Why? Because he was a comedian and made others laugh? Severe depression goes deep and some of us get really good at putting on a happy face when truthfully we're dying inside.
Resonating with Robin's struggle with chronic depression, I bawled so hard at his passing. But, like most people dealing with depression, I hid my pain. Not because I didn't feel comfortable showing my pain, but because it's habit to hide this pain.
Eventually, I opened up to my best friend (my awesome husband) who despite not always understanding how depression affects someone, he was the support system I needed to get through. We had several discussions regarding depression and suicidal thoughts. I made a promise that if I ever had those thoughts I would talk to him about it right away.
The amazing voice and frontman for Soundgarden and Audioslave. I loved growing up with his music.
Music has been and always will be my outlet, my constant, my solace. There were so many shitty things I've been through in this life and music was always the one thing that would help get me through it all. Music was my therapy.
Chris Cornell's passing was yet another reminder of how cruel and real this disease is and how difficult it is to deal with.
As I mentioned above, music is the one constant I had to get through the shitty things in my life. Linkin Park's album Hybrid Theory (listen via Amazon Music's Unlimited Free Trial) got me through some really hard times of my abusive first marriage. Although it took me another 11 years to finally leave my abuser for good, Linkin Park helped give me that first bout of courage to leave my ex.
I also got through post-partum depression because of Linkin Park's amazing music. I'll forever be grateful for Chester's real lyrical talent and will miss what could have been even more amazing music. Rest in peace, Chester!
Another great 90s artist gone. I just couldn't believe it. This beautiful singer helped me through my late teen angst and early 20s turmoil. I loved singing to her songs so much.
What It's Like to Feel Suicidal
I've had people ask me what it's like to have depression. I've seen several memes and internet postings that come pretty close to describing it, but for every individual, it's a little different.
People have also said: Why do you feel suicidal when everything in your life is great? No matter how great things were in my life, this dark voice in my head was thinking the world would be better off without me. You honestly can't begin to understand this unless you've experienced it.
I've recently seen so many people saying how selfish suicide is. How selfish all these people were for taking their own lives. My ex-husband used to say this (yep, the abusive one). Read about how I got out of this abusive relationship here. I'm sure people say this because there's no way they can fully comprehend what it's like to be in this horrible state.
Why is it so easy to understand why someone would want to end their own life if they became paralyzed and had to live by a machine? But it's so difficult to get that's exactly what depression can do to your mind.
It paralyzes you.
Depression makes you think the worst of everything. It plays tricks on you, makes you over analyze everything.
Depression makes you think you're worthless and that life would be so much better if you weren't around. You may not understand how difficult it is and can be to ask for help.
Stop the Stigma
The stigma of depression is "get over it", "just try to be happy" or whatever other random excuse people try to use to help you "get over" depression (like it's SO easy).
Suicide isn't selfish. Suicide is the absolute last resort. The people who call this selfish, expect them to live in pain, misery, suffering, anxiety, depression, repeatedly for everyone else's benefit.
You have no idea what a person is going through to have to get to that extreme measure. Stop calling it selfish - have respect for the deceased and show a little compassion for those who suffer depression and those who have lost a loved one because of suicide.
Instead of belittling and telling someone to "get over it" get under it. What do I mean by that? Be there for someone who has mental health issues. Don't give them advice (unless you're a professional who can), don't belittle their feelings, just be there.
Listen, console, try to empathize. And if you have to, get them help (professionally). We must do a better job to prevent suicide through greater awareness of mental health issues, realizing the warning signs, and effective intervention and treatment. If we can stop the stigma, then maybe, just maybe we help people feel more comfortable about coming forward with their mental health issues and get help before it's too late.
Read more about how you can help someone who is feeling suicidal.
It can be difficult to realize that you even have depression. Read my post How to Know if You Have Depression to help you take the first step in recognizing you could have depression. There's a free depression quiz you can take to help clue you in on where you may be mentally.
If you know you have depression, read my post on When You Should Get Professional Help for Depression to help you decide if you need that extra help.
If you or someone you know need help, read How You Can Help Somone Who is Feeling Suicidal or please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There's also an online chat option.
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