The recent death of the actor Robin Williams has brought up a lot of talk about depression and suicide. I’ve seen all ranges of arguments from “Suicide is selfish” to people saying that people who kill themselves needed more support and love. I personally fall somewhere in the middle and that is what I’m going to be explaining in this blog.
In Canada suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds. At any given time, almost three million Canadians have serious depression, but less than one third seek help.
Suicide and depression are a very hot button topic, especially lately. But while that may be true it is also a topic that tugs my heart strings. I have family members who are affected my depression in a way that makes them wish they weren’t living. My girlfriend killed herself when she was 17 years old and I myself have suffered from severe depression. I was lucky enough to never get to the point where I wanted to kill myself. I was so fortunate for the people in my life who supported me and helped me seek the help I needed, but there are literally millions of people who arent as lucky.
Depression is a mental illness. If you think you have depression please see a doctor. As someone who has had depression it is very hard to pull yourself out of it by yourself. Like i said before I never got to the point of wanting to kill myself, but I did get to the point where I felt that If I were to die I wouldn’t care either way. Some mornings I couldnt get out of bed. I just lay there. I ended up having to drop out of my last semester of grade 12 because I wasnt able to function like a human being. Some days I didnt eat. Some days I didnt leave my house. Depression is a crippling disease but unless you’ve experienced it first hand youre not going to understand.
Ive had people tell me that “depression dosnt exist” and “sometimes I get sad too but I pull myself out of it.”. Those people have never had depression. I can promise you that. Unless youve felt the extreme blackness inside your brain that you cant escape by playing some happy music or going out in the sunshine youre not going to understand that every way is black. Not just the way youre looking. To those people I say please try to understand, I know you cant. But please try to empathize. Depression is often times a chemical imbalance in the brain. Who would WANT to be sad all the time?
Caitlin was my best friend and girlfriend. We had been frinds since fourth grade and together since we were 16. We were very close and I loved her. Caitlin had severe depression, and an anxiety disorder. She self harmed and she starved herself. She had a very skewed version of reality that no matter how much I tried to help she wouldnt “snap” herself out of it. She was medicated and she saw a therapist. She ended up being hospitalized after a failed suicide attempt (not her first attempt). I came home from school one day and I remember my mom saying that we needed to talk. I sat down in the living room on my couch and my Papa said “Andi, Caitlin killed herself last night”. It was like in the movies. You know how the world just sort of stops and you cant hear anything and you cant see anything? It was like that. My best friend in the entire world was just gone. Just no longer on this earth. I think this is where people perceive suicide as being selfish. And in a way it is. But you have to remember that the person committing suicide isnt thinking of it as a way to get back at the people they love. They see it as the only option. They aren’t doing it to make someone else unhappy. Maybe its because I’ve been in the situations I’ve been in that I see it that way. But thats the way i feel.
I know depression and I know that deep hole with no end and no light. But I was able to get help. I was medicated and saw a therapist for quite some time. It is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Helping yourself get better is priority number one and you should do whatever it takes for you to do that. There is light I promise. I still sometimes start to fall again but I know that there are options and I’m ready to use them if I need to. Please if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or even depressed. There are help lines you can call and people who care and want to talk to you
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
RIP Robin Williams. You were well loved and will be missed.