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article imageOp-Ed: The ignorant reaction to suicide

By Ben Morris     Aug 12, 2014 in Entertainment
Malibu - Suicide is the coward's way out, killing yourself is a selfish act. Those two sentences hit my news feed when I got off of work and heard about the death of Robin Williams. If you are a person who believes those things, you are a heartless fool.
Friends, family, and contemporaries are mourning the tragic death of one of the most talented and gifted entertainers of his generation. Williams' performances in Dead Poets Society, One Hour Photo, Good Will Hunting and others made us laugh, cry, and think. His acting range was equaled by very few, and although many mourning his death never knew him, or even met him, his death is tragic.
Whenever a celebrity ends their own life, many trolls who have no idea what depression is like, or think their bouts with depression are the toughest anyone can ever know, will argue if they got out of it, anyone can. Magically they know what was in the heads of damaged souls like Robin Williams, without even knowing what demons they fought with for so long.
Depression and its related mental illnesses are debilitating diseases, that affect far too many people. According to the World Health Organization. in 2012 an estimated 16 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode. Anything can trigger a suicide attempt, or a period where you simply can't function. Depression simply isn't about being sad all the time. The disease has often debilitating symptoms that turn normal lives upside down.
Depressed people can suffer from a variety of manifestations that include an inability to concentrate, or remember anything. There is also the risk of developing physical impairments like a lack of energy, aches and pains, as well as insomnia, and a lack of interest in doing anything. To live with all of that is no walk in the park, it is far from easy. Try living a life when you have absolutely no energy, or any interest in having a social life. Imagine dragging yourself out of bed with the feeling like you are dragging a boulder behind you.
I know all of this because I have lived with it for decades.
I have cried myself to sleep, I have thought of ways to end my life, I have had beliefs that my life holds no value. I am a journalism graduate who has yet to find a job in a field I love. I'm not a war refugee, or a victim of childhood sexual abuse, but that does not mean I am this pathetic shell of a human who selfishly shines a spotlight on my own misery. I know I am lucky, I know I have things I should be grateful about. I own a home, I have a girlfriend, I'm employed, and I have some great friends, but depression does not care about that. Your brain does not tell you you should be happy, and feel lucky. Depression tells you that your life will not get better, your dreams are worthless and there is no need for you to consider the charade.
The improper function of your brain can cause a person to not properly respond to all of life's annoyances and heartaches. The brain functions through the interplay of neurotransmitters which relay messages throughout your brain. Those neurotransmitters are incredibly important to a functioning brain, and a functioning life. Any malfunction can cause trouble. According to research, three of those neurotransmitters, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are linked to depressive thoughts. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine regulate our emotions, our reaction to stress, along with the drive to eat, sleep, and have sex. Any deviation can halt our reaction to those key components of life. A lack of serotonin for example, can lead to mental illness.
Depressives don't just decide to be depressed, they are chemically susceptible to the disease, and the people who dismiss depression, or demean those who take their own lives are ignorant of the complicated science around mental illness. They will claim they were depressed once, so no one can claim their depression is too tough to handle. They argue all bouts of depression are the same, anyone can bounce back. That belief is routed in such stupidity, it can not be measured.
Robin Williams admitted to financial problems. Most people know he was once a drug addict. Those circumstances can wreck your mind, and even though he was famous, and earned more money most of us will never have, his fame and fortune was not enough to silence the demons. He obviously felt he could not live another minute.
The mysterious, and sad thing about depression is you never know how much time you have, or what will be the trigger that puts you in a grave. Sometimes you're lucky enough to find enough hope to drop the gun, put away the booze, or toss out the noose.
Three years ago after a bad day at work, i went home, and took a knife from my kitchen, and ran a bath. I held that knife on my wrist for what must have been five minutes, then I realized I am a wuss who can't tolerate pain, so I grabbed a bottle of Crown Royal, and a nearly empty bottle of pills. In my inebriated haze I could have found more pills, and drank more Crown, but I realized I wasn't done with life. I thought of my family, and my friends, and what they would feel if they heard the news that i committed suicide, so I slept it off.
i have survived suicidal thoughts. I am still alive, but just because I haven't had that final deadly thought, that doesn't mean anyone else can survive. It doesn't mean depression is not deadly, and those who are depressed should just deal with it. Robin Williams was in pain, a type of pain no one can imagine, or relate to, even if you battle depression every day.
To think so otherwise shows how foolish you are. To demean those who end their own lives is ignorant, distasteful, and purely asinine.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about robin williams suicide, Robin williams, Depression, Suicide, Mental illness
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