|Copyright Chris (Simpsons artist xox)|
Today I am sad. Not in a ‘ahh saddo’ sort of a way, but a genuine feeling of cheerlessness. Suicide has claimed another life, but this time it’s a big Hollywood star. Robin Williams, known for Mork and Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, One Hour Photo, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting (I could go on) is dead of apparent suicide. And it’s really very sad.
Williams had well known battles with drink and drugs, and had checked into rehab again as recently as July this year for ‘fine tuning’ of his sobriety. His publicist stated he had been battling ‘severe depression’. And now, the usual comments regarding celebrities who suffer depression start:
What did he have to be depressed about?
I’d switch places with him, a little bit of depression but all that money!
Why didn’t he seek help, I mean he could afford the best psychiatric care.
How selfish. What a selfish person, leaving his wife and kids like that.
I could go on. These are statements that are trotted out whenever someone in the public eye takes their own life, and quite frankly they piss me right off. Depression can strike anyone, whether you’re a big Hollywood star or a little ginger nobody from Coventry.
My experiences of depression I have had people say:
‘What are you depressed about? Look at all the killing and famine and war in the world, and then tell me you’re still depressed about your life’.
‘Snap out of it’ (a stone cold classic).
‘You’re just doing it for attention’.
‘I might tell my GP I’m depressed, I could do with some time off work’.
I could go on, but I won’t because it makes me angry and upset.
Followers of this blog will know that I have also contemplated suicide in the past. ‘But that’s so selfish!’ I hear you shout. It might seem it to you, the person not suffering with depression, but to me at that time, I was absolutely convinced it would be the best thing for everyone if I wasn’t here anymore. David would move on, he and my family would mourn and not forget me but then I wouldn’t be there sapping any positivity from them, being a burden on them, the constant crying for no reason, not wanting to leave the house, not getting out of bed… have you ever lived with a chronically depressed/suicidal person? It’s hard fucking work. So I thought they’d be better off without me.
And as for cowardly; not at all. One of the hardest things to do, I would imagine, would be to actually take your own life. Standing on the edge of a hill on the Isle of Skye, the thought of throwing myself off kept running through my mind – and I didn’t do it because I was frightened to; it was scary, so people who succeed are pretty brave in my opinion.
Now we will have to wade through the hundreds of press reports stating the method in which Robin decided to take his own life; the Samaritans Press Office have a statement for the press to read regarding how to report on suicide (e.g. don’t state the method) which is almost always routinely ignored.
Can we not just leave him be? He had his reasons for killing himself and whilst it is actually a tragedy, if it opens dialogue about depression, addiction and suicide, then maybe that might be a blessing.
As for me, I’m still receiving treatment for depression but have recently cut down the dosage of my antidepressants from 40mg to 30mg. Might not seem a great deal but it was something I had wanted to do, but was scared to. I’m coping, though. I’m still here, and for that I am thankful.