Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Laughter Does Not Equal Happiness

This week the entertainment community, and dare I say it the world, was shocked when the comedic genius Robin Williams committed suicide.  I've read the news reports, and I've seen the comments.  So many of them are so misguided and so harsh.

People are saying they don't understand because he was always so funny, or that suicide is so selfish or cowardly.  I am here to tell you that no, you don't understand.  As someone who has been so low and in such a dark place as to feel there is no way out but to commit suicide, I can tell you it is not a cowardly act and it is not selfish.

When you are in that place your mind is so twisted that you truly believe you are doing the world a favor and that those you love will be better off without you.  You believe you are doing the right thing.  And it takes more courage than you can ever imagine to take the actual steps and make the commitment to take your own life.  I was lucky, I didn't succeed and I got help.

Another thing people are saying is that how can someone be so sad who was always laughing?  On the day I tried to die I went to school, and I laughed with my friends like there was nothing was wrong.  Nobody suspected a thing.

One thing those of us who suffer from depression are good at is putting on a mask and faking it for the world.  What we need is for those who are closest to us to look for those small clues that things really aren't okay.  Have are sleeping habits changed?  Are we acting a little more withdrawn?  Have we stopped doing some of our favorite activities?  Have we stopped having sex (for those of us that were having it regularly)?  If we were on antidepressants have we stopped taking them without talking to a doctor?

These are all reasons to be concerned.  Don't confront us though.  Ask if we need help.  Ask how you can help.  Let us know you are there for us.  Let us know we are loved and needed.  If we push away don't give up.  Keep offering.  If you are really worried for us, and we say or do anything that makes you think we will harm ourselves or others please take action.  It's better to have us alive and angry at you for a little while than not.

With that said I only hope that Mr. Williams has found the peace he was looking for.

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