Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Talking About Depression After Robin William's Death

The suicide of Robin Williams has produced two big responses. First, everyone is saddened by the loss of such a talented and funny man. Second, people are talking about the struggles he had with addiction and depression, which lead to his untimely death. As awful as this is, I'm so glad that it has sparked so much conversation about depression.

Far too many people still don't believe it's real. They blame those who are suffering; deciding they are weak, looking for attention, or just feeling sorry for themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, the world is not sympathetic to mental illness and everyone who has been impacted by it is well aware of this. That's why seeking treatment is so scary and getting better so much more difficult. 

Can you imagine the impact Hollywood could have on breaking stereotypes and educating people about the reality of mental illness in general by simply being open and forthcoming about all of their struggles. I bet depression is much more common in Hollywood than we know, just as it is much more common in our own circles than we know. Can't imagine this would ever actually happen, after all Hollywood all about creating an idealized fantasy world. 

I guess the best we can hope for is that over time the world will become a more enlightened and understanding place, where people can get all the support and help they need to better cope with whatever mental illness is plaguing them. In the meantime, let's do all we can to help support those around us who may be struggling. 

The chronic pain community is very vulnerable to depression and something I imagine we all struggle with to some degree from time to time. I know I have. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for articulating this so well, for recognizing the reality while hoping for the ideal, and seeing the impact while feeling the sorrow. I find myself grieving what Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams each suffered and, likewise, grieving the loss of both men...superheroes, as noted.Yet, through the sorrow, as this article points out, there is gratitude in the bond of friendship they shared that helped and supported them both, and gratitude for the marks they left on this world through their character and the change they effected. To echo Mary's words, may we in the chronic pain community "help support those around us who may be struggling" and may we seek to effect change in whatever way possible.