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Featured Article: Let's Learn Something From Robin Williams' Death

Posted by - 07:03 AM on 08/13/14
"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. Itís not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone"

Whilst it's been great to see so many outpourings from people about trying to fight depression, we should try our best to not allow this care to just exist through a series of statuses and tweets and for us to just forget about it in the coming weeks. No matter how much we tell people to try to fight depression and never give up, the most important thing is for the people around them to just be there. Depression isn't something one can just fix about themselves, the responsibility also lies with those around them to show that they care and there is a reason to live.

We live in a society where we try our hardest to seem strong and create the best possible version of ourselves through social media and so on. We try our hardest to seem nonchalant about everything and to never allow ourselves to be publicly upset. Men are told to not feel emotions because it undermines their role in the world and women are seen as weak and fulfilling damning stereotypes if they're emotionally open. We, at worst, laugh when we see people cry and we, at best, feel uncomfortable. When young people are sad, they're told to get over it and are taken the piss out of for being angsty or over-dramatic and it all gets laughed off.

We need to stop solely using phrases like 'never let it get to that stage' or 'you have to fight depression'. Of course, these sentiments are important, but we have to stop making mental illness seem like it's only an issue for those who suffer from it. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to make sure that the people we love are okay. We have the responsibility to not just try to avoid the topic of mental health, because sometimes it makes us feel awkward. If we think there's ANY possibility that someone we know is struggling, all it takes is asking if they'd like to talk or even just asking if they'd like to get a coffee and maybe just chill out. Even if you can't get someone to open up, the very fact that there is someone there that cares about them beyond the surface level of being someone who's there for banter and nights out can make all the difference.

Even if you have no idea that someone is struggling, because depression can manifest itself in different ways, there are so many ways we can act which would be constructive in just helping everyone feel a little better. Show your friends that you love them. Show them that you actually love them and they aren't just drinking buddies or whatever. Don't be a dickhead to people for absolutely no reason. Don't just do things that hurt people's feelings for no reason other than it gives you a bit of a laugh. It doesn't matter how much time we spend saying that mental illness and loneliness is a terrible thing if, on a daily basis, we contribute to those feelings in other people. Depression may be an unstoppable force but if we actually try, we can show people in our own lives that there are reasons for them to not allow depression to take their lives and that they have a reason to live, even if it doesn't seem like that sometimes.

That can be all it comes down to in the end. Showing people that they have a reason to live, that they are loved and wanted and that the demons in their head are lying to them. Please don't let the compassion and love that people are showing in the aftermath of Robin Williams' suicide disappear alongside the retweets and Facebook likes. We never know how much our actions can impact someone's life.


Helpful LinksIf anyone knows of any other useful links, post them in the comments and I'll add them to the original post.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)
American Foundation For Suicide Prevention (USA)
Suicide (USA)
To Write Love On Her Arms (USA)

Samaritans (UK/Ireland)
Young Minds (UK)

Beyond Blue (Australia)

Tips on helping a loved one with depression
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 46
07:11 AM on 08/13/14
#2
texan4lif281
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Great article.
07:18 AM on 08/13/14
#3
smowashere
I am Groot.
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Mental illness, not just depression, is serious and needs to be treated as such. A lot of people do not understand it and ought to do a little more research. I was fortunate enough to have learned about it through my Psychology bachelor's degree, but the general public has a right to know more.
07:23 AM on 08/13/14
#4
Kelly Doherty
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Mental illness, not just depression, is serious and needs to be treated as such. A lot of people do not understand it and ought to do a little more research. I was fortunate enough to have learned about it through my Psychology bachelor's degree, but the general public has a right to know more.
I'm not sure if that's targeted at my article or the world in general? But, I do entirely agree with you.
07:48 AM on 08/13/14
#5
Anthony Sorendino
Don't you dare ever give up...
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Great work, Kelly!
07:48 AM on 08/13/14
#6
Ailite
one bright dusk
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Hey, this is really important and well said. Thank you for writing this, Kelly.
07:56 AM on 08/13/14
#7
speakhandsforme
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I think the most troubling sentiment that keeps getting recycled is that mental illness is just like a broken bone or festering wound that can be so easily delineated and neatly distinguished from the person it affects (and by the person it affects nonetheless). It's not. It's the very mode through which a person exists.

Anyways, well said.
08:11 AM on 08/13/14
#8
mbao
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Quote:
Don't be a dickhead to people for absolutely no reason. Don't just do things that hurt people's feelings for no reason other than it gives you a bit of a laugh. It doesn't matter how much time we spend saying that mental illness and loneliness is a terrible thing if, on a daily basis, we contribute to those feelings in other people.
Fucking this. The problem though is what if that hurting people's feelings thing is also a result of hidden depression?

I'm starting on taking an Abnormal Psychology class this semester. Robin Williams's passing is motivating me to really push into studying mental illnesses like depression and maybe pursuing it as a career.
08:34 AM on 08/13/14
#9
Spencer Control
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His death was so tragic... But it's started a conversation, and I really appreciate that.
08:41 AM on 08/13/14
Readyorknot13
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Great article. Thank you for writing this.
08:49 AM on 08/13/14
hopscotch
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Such a great article.

Here is the Australian organization that works with depression : http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
09:21 AM on 08/13/14
Adrian Villagomez
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Thank you so much for posting this. This might sound corny, but "Lean on Me" sprung up on my shuffle last night and it made me sad thinking about Robin Williams' suicide.

"If there is a load you have to bear, that you can't carry, I'm right up the road. I'll share your load. If you just call me. Call me."

09:23 AM on 08/13/14
Stephin_DC
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Unfortunately in our society depression is viewed as a weakness, not an illness, hence why so many people suffer without help.

Nothing will change until that point of view is altered, but I honestly don't know if it can.
09:25 AM on 08/13/14
spinalcountdown
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Very good stuff, Kelly. Licensed professional counselor here. I just want to mention that, based on personal experience, I think that people who call suicide victims "selfish" are often adding to the problem. Maybe their intention is to scare depressed people out of it, but I think iit ends up adding yet another demon to what someone is suffering from. "So on top of everything else now I'm also selfish for being depressed." Just another reason for someone to keep everything inside and not seek the help they need and deserve. I've noticed that this kind of speech often comes from people who were born in a different era, and their solution is to just man up and get over it. Sometimes they're open to dialogue about it, but other times they're too closed minded to consider any other points of view.

Just my two cents about the social stigmas of mental illness. I'll just leave this here on my way out:
09:26 AM on 08/13/14
DeeEee1985
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It has taken something like Robin Williams death to make us talk about this, and I hope from here on there is more recognition to depression. I myself have never suffered from it, nor am I going pretend what it must be like, however, I do have friends and family close to myself who are sufferers. These are all different kinds of people, it doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, how strong you think you are, depression can get anyone. Could be any of us some where along the line.
It was described to me as: "I may look smiley and happy, but deep inside I'm hurting, and literally for no reason I can think of. Unfortunately when you feel like this, you don't want to be a burden to anyone, which is partly why people do silly things".
It just goes to show that if you show you care, it can make all the difference. I think this blog is very much spot on, and I seriously hope depression gets a lot more awareness from here on.

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