I'm going to get real here. I write from experience. I have suffered from crippling depression and considered suicide.
The news about Robin Williams hit me hard. Reading the reactions on Facebook has been troubling. It's only a short time since the news reported that Robin Williams is dead by his own hand, and the shame-blame games have begun.
He committed the ultimate sin.
And that's complete crap. Suicide is not undertaken because someone is weak or selfish. Suicide is the last hope far too many people have for ending pain. These people are not weak. They have been strong for so long, but they just can't keep on being so strong.
What people don't realize is that a person reaches a point when their own pain is so overwhelming that all they want is to make it stop. They are no longer thinking clearly; the pain is everything, all-consuming, and overwhelming. They believe they're doing what's right for everyone.
Blaming someone for having depression is like blaming someone for having diabetes. Blaming someone for needing medication to control it is like blaming a diabetic for needing insulin. We don't choose the diseases that invade us, and no one should have to defend the medications that control them.
And yet, that's what happens.
If you suffer from depression, you already know that many people don't understand depression. The things they say not only don't help, they often hurt. It doesn't help that you know it's not intentional; you're backed into a corner where nothing is really helping. Those shadows get darker, thicker, and it's just so hard to see anything where the light is, and it's so incredibly fatiguing to keep trying.
But I'm begging you to reach out.
Find those who DO know what to do, and who know the right words and the order in which they should tumble out of one's mouth.
Try to reach through that thick molasses of fog, the one that makes your arms feel like they weigh a ton and a half, and pick up the phone.
Believe me, this world is so much better with you in it than not. There are people who have been trained, who know how to help you cope, and will never, ever blame you.
And if you're one of those people who think depression is weakness, selfishness, and something that a good attitude check will fix, then listen up.
Depression is a disease. Blame doesn't help and can only make things worse.
In the U.S., call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also have a website.
Bookmark that site.
Call if you need to.
It's okay to call.