I saw a Stanford professor get ripped by a troll on Facebook because as he blogged about the tragic death of Robin Williams he mentioned a passage in a book he had written. “How dare you use the suicide of this great entertainer to promote yourself,” the troll said.
In fact, Robin’s death connected with people all over the world, not to mention the platforms of more than a few bloggers. Days later, many of us are still saddened by it. Without ever meeting him, we loved Robin Williams.
I lived most of my life without being personally touched by suicide other than the occasional thoughts of it myself. Then suddenly in a period of about 18 months, there were six. One so close, he could have been my son. In fact, he was my son’s best friend.
As a psychology major in college, I learned about the chemical roots of clinical depression. I learned that given enough hours, days, weeks or months, most bodies will self-correct the chemical imbalance. While it may seem like we are in despair for an eternity, we are often out of it in much less time than we think … if we survive that long.
There is such an attitude of “get over it” that many people take with depression. You can tell when they ask, “What are you depressed about?” You know they are blaming rather than looking for an answer. Depression is often confused with situational sadness. An abundance of situational sadness can cause depression as in severe grief. Depression after grief is the body’s defense, slowing our reactions while our mind is preoccupied. Yet there is such intolerance with people in a state of depression. “Leave Joe alone. He’s really depressed.” Leaving the depressed alone is often the last thing you should do.
Depression often appears in puberty and can carry on for the rest of a person’s life. Factors can certainly add to it, one of the greatest of which is alcohol. Almost everyone experiences depression at various times in their life. If you are depressed, there are things you can do to reduce the symptoms or at least survive them until your body gets in sync again. Research it or get some help. And if someone near you seems to be trying to isolate themselves away, that is one good indication that they are depressed. Excessive sleeping is another, but so is insomnia. Monitor them closely. Let them know that their body is not right, but will be again soon.
Depression is a demon that you have to fight with all your might. I’m sure Robin waged many battles not only with it but with the self-medicating he did to try to deal with it. I congratulate Robin on his many years of fighting the good fight. We only wish it could have been longer.