Sorry for the diatribe, but this is something I felt I needed to say in light of recent events. So, let’s take a moment away from talks of beauty, clothes and makeup, shall we?
The knee jerk reaction by so many when they hear that someone committed suicide is, “What a selfish act. This person had a family, they should have thought about them. This person was so stupid to throw it all away.” This string of thoughts is easy to connect for the person saying it because they are in a rational state of mind. Depression that leads to suicidal thoughts and actions comes on like sleep when you are exhausted. At first the eyes are heavy, and before you know it you are there. You are in the middle of that dark place without even realizing it and all rationality has left. There is a fight or flight response the body goes to when it is in danger or injured. The mind is the same way. When the mind is filled with these distressing thoughts the only thought is to make it stop. To get out of that darkness as fast as you can and make the hurting stop. Unfortunately, for many the choice isn’t to fight, to push through and find someone to talk to. For some they are in so deep the only response is to run.
Of course another reaction from people closest to that person is “I should have known, or I could have helped.” My first year learning how to be a counselor I was told that out of every three people I would counsel that suffered from severe depression and suicide, at least two would attempt again, and of those two, at least one would succeed. That is despite my training, despite helping, despite trying. That doesn’t mean that this is hopeless. Like any disease we are trying to better understand, there is no cure. But there is hope. There are counselors that care, and medications that help. But you know what helps the most? Understanding that this is a disease and making the person suffering from this understands this as well. Let them know there is no shame in what they are going through, and that there is hope. Not telling the person to just cheer up and get over it, as if this is something they can take control of by reading the right book, saying the right prayer or doing the right hobby.
Robin Williams was a comedic genius. That comedy confuses people, because someone that looks so jovial doesn’t seem to coincide with someone that could ever be that sad. On the contrary, that comedy comes from a very dark place. Trying to make someone laugh often comes from a place where you feel that this is the only place you best know how to garner enough praise to feel normal, or to feel okay with the world. The jokes often come from a hard life, or a dark place. Making people laugh is an enjoyable and awful experience, because it comes from a place of pain and is delivered in vulnerability. I am saddened at the passing of Robin Williams, and I am saddened for everyone walking through life uphill, as if they have a weight on their backs. My only hope is that people will know there is hope. Talk. Talk till you can’t speak any more. Get it out. Let someone know you are hurting and you are vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to take those steps to help yourself. Going to counseling, taking medication, falling of the wagon, falling into a depression does not make you a failure or weak. It makes you human.
Thank you for taking a moment out of your day to read this, and thank you even more for sharing-
Joni Garcia aka TheFractalBeauty
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline