Friday, August 15, 2014
AMERICA, DON'T 'SPIN' OUT DEPRESSION
Thanks to social media and 24-hour channels, the news cycle spins faster than ever
before. Today's events become yesterday's news in a blur and quickly forgotten in our
A.D.D world. Very little shocks us anymore as the next scandal always seems to be a
just little worse than the last one.
This past week, many of us weren't shocked when a depressed man committed suicide,
after all, people take their own lives every single day. However, we were shaken when
it was Robin Williams who ended his life. How could a man who was so talented, creative,
respected, and perhaps, most importantly, universally loved, kill himself? We all questioned
how a guy who made us laugh so much, could be depressed, knowing there were no good
There are never any answers when a suicide occurs. Sure, there could be words in a note,
but they never really tell the whole story. The whole story will never be told in the case
of Robin Williams. The dime store psychologists can guess or come up with some
absurd theory that gets them on a talk show or trending on Twitter, but nobody will
ever really know why Williams took his own life. Never.
The suicide of Williams hasn't been spit out of the news cycle just yet. The death of
a creative genius and comedic legend who made so many of us not only laugh out
loud, but think, isn't going to fade away quickly.
Weren't we all glued to Williams' character and words in "Good Will Hunting" and
"Dead Poets Society". It was all part of the glitz and glamour in the land of make-believe (Hollywood). Williams talked about life and death and made it all seem so very real.
Depression is real. The pain sears the soul and disrupts the mind. The discomfort is
so fierce no amount of money, fame, power, or alcohol can rinse it away. Unless you've
walked in the shoes of Williams or those of another depressed person, you will never
know how debilitating it is.
I sincerely hope the suicide of Williams has as much staying power as the Ice Bucket
Challenge that is burning up social media. I hope it sheds light on the dark world of
depression just as all those drenched characters in videos across the globes have helped
bring attention and dollar bills to ALS, which just may be the worst of all the diseases out
I hope the world of depression gets discovered and uncovered like ALS has in the last
few months. I hope we all learn that depression comes in many forms and doesn't
discriminate. No matter how rich, powerful, and famous you are, depression can find
you and destroy your life.
Perhaps, it's the power of social media or just maybe it's the tough times in even a
tougher world that depression and suicide have become pretty common. The news tells
us of the 15-year old high school that takes her own life because she was teased vociferously
by her classmates.
There is the father of four who found the pressure of life so great, that he chose to end it,
rather than face and try to fight through it.
There was that alarming rash of suicides among former athletes like Junior Seau, Mike
Flanagan, Dave Duerson, and a bunch of hockey players that really shook us.
I hope we all can become more compassionate of those inflicted with the disease instead
of seeing them as "psychos" or "disturbed". I hope kids can learn that mocking and bullying
are just not worth the cheap laugh. They are the arrows that can poison a person's self-esteem
I hope that friends will be true friends and show compassion to someone who needs it.
I hope that people who are depressed or have some other form of mental illness can get
the help they need and not be embarrassed about it. I hope they find the trust in not only
professionals but friends who can help lift the blanket of darkness that envelops them.
Do not condemn or judge the depressed man. Help them. Comfort them. Be a friend to
It could save their life.