Thursday, 14 August 2014

Goodbye Childhood Hero

It's been a long time.  I have ummed and ahhhed about the whole blog thing for the last 18 months or more. It's all been a bit chaotic, but I feel compelled to pick it up all over again.  I kind of miss it.  And I know a few of you (just a few) have missed me too, I know this because you keep asking me if I am writing again. So here I am.

As we all know, ok maybe you don't ALL know, in fact, maybe none of you know, but anyway, my absolute, 100%, favourite actor died earlier this week.  Robin Williams did not just have one stroke to his brush.  He did a bit of everything, and I can honestly, hand on heart say he did it all very well.  He really did have a go at everything, and gave it his all.  He entertained me as a child with Mrs Doubtfire, Flubber, Toys, Hook, and plenty more, and he still entertained me as I was as adult, with What Dreams May Come, Insomnia, RV, World's Greatest Dad and many more.  And to this day, he entertains my children, he made films that are timeless.  Not to mention the stand up comedy!  No matter what my mood, what my mental health is doing, there is a movie for it all.  Whether it's enteratining the kids so I can pee in peace, or whether it's watching something that requires my undivided attention (once the dog is fed, the kids are in bed, the IVs are done, the housework.......sod the housework)

Robin Williams' death, has reported to have been suicide.  I have avoided most articles written about the event.  I don't want to know.  I don't feel it's my business to know.  I don't have a hunger to read absolutely every article that has been released about his death, or his mental health, or anything else right now.  I don't want to read people's opinions on what he did, or why.  His suicide has affected me in so many ways, that I really didn't expect at all.  He was my only childhood hero.  And that never wavered.  Only a few weeks before he died I watched What Dreams May Come for the millionth time (or so it seems) and it never gets old.  Despite not wanting to know what the various forms of media are reporting with regards to the death of such a legend, it is hard to avoid absolutely everything.  And while I am pleased that there has suddenly become such a huge awareness of depression and suicide, I feel a little disheartened at the general misconceptions around depression and suicide, that don't seem to be challenged.

The few things I have seen recently, that made me sad are as follows

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem - who knows that that problem is temporary?  Who knows the true reasons a person committed suicide in the first place?  Do you really know what suicidal feels like?  At that given moment, when you feel suicidal, you feel like there is NO other options, and while you, as the 'non suicidal person' may see 1000 options, that doesn't mean, for the suicidal person, those are viable options.  

Suicide is selfish -  This one bugs me quite possibly the most.  Really?  I understand to an extent, that people think those who commit, or attempt suicide, have no forethought about how those closest to them, may feel.  Now I have been there, more times than I can count, and I can tell you know, it's not for selfish reasons.  The thought pattern that I, and many people I know who have felt suicidal, is that the world would be a better place without you.  Your mother/brother/father/sisters/children/friends would be free, happier without dealing with a depressed person, you feel like you drag them down and are a burden on them.  Is that selfish?  And while many people do think about those they love, and this deters them, there are those who truly believe that their friends/relatives will, in time, get over it and move on, especially as their lives will be better without said person.

S/he should have gotten help -  Who says that suicidal people don't ask for help?  Some do, some don't.  Some do ask for help, but that help comes too late, or they live in an area where that help is not available, or it just doesn't help.  Sometimes the person offering the help, makes the situation worse.  And yes, some people don't ask for help (like me), and we fit into the difficult box, no one knows.  And, if no one knows, then no one can help.  But....what if you ask for help, and it doesn't help.   What if you ask for help, and someone laughs at you.  What if you ask for help and that person doesn't take you seriously, and just thinks you are 'doing it for attention'.  What if, that person, wants the complete opposite, to be left alone.  Doesn't tell anyone, because they don't want people looking at them sideways, reading your every movement and breath, worrying about them constantly.  There are often too many what if's, with undesirable consequences.  
Depression, I feel, is a word that is used WAY too often in society now.  'I'm feeling a bit depressed today' you are feeling sad.  I even hate 'this weather is depressing'.....and while 'depression' is 'sadness', to an extent, it is much much more than that.  Feeling suicidal is a symptom of being depressed.  This kind of blase use of the word depression, while many think it's a good thing, I think is wrong.  I believe, and have experienced, that 'being depressed' then becomes a bit of a 'fad'.  Everyone is depressed.  So and so was depressed monday, wednesday, friday, and alternate sundays.  It doesn't work like that.  Not for me, or many people I know who have depression anyway.  It's there, constantly, like a nagging.....naggy thing.  And every day you battle it, no matter what, some days you win, some days you don't, but it never goes away.  Never.  Even, on the best day you have ever had, it casts a shadow, and taints it in some way.

Many people believe a depressed and suicidal person, looks like one of two things.  Either,  they are expected to be pretty much unable to function.  Don't wash.  Don't eat.  Just sleep.  Stay in bed, all day, every day.  Literally do nothing.  And people assume feel sorry for themselves.  Then there is the kind of suicidal person who self harms (by the way, people self harm for MANY reasons, not just because they are suicidal), stands on top of car parks threatening to jump, explains in great detail how they are going to do it, write suicide notes, rings everyone to say goodbye, it's almost predicted.  And while I don't doubt for a second there are people like that, there are also many, many, many people who function at a completely normal level, for a long time, there are people who function under immense pressure and stress, and its when that fades, that's when they actually end their lives.  There are people who go to work, socialize, do their housework, eat properly, don't drink, don't smoke, exercise, all those things we are told to do to improve our mental well being, and yet still, think about suicide, on a daily basis.

I often don't talk about my mental health, as I feel it's a protected, and very personal thing, not to mentioned the fact I live in complete denial 90% of the time, and, as I am sure I have mentioned before, have experienced and continue to experience the most shocking level of discrimination, from the most shocking places.  However, unless you have felt suicidal yourself, you have no idea how that feels.  So don't say you do.  And, even if you have felt like that, even attempted it, and survived, you STILL do not understand how that person feels, as it's unique to them, to me.

I guess the point of this post, was more for my benefit.  I am genuinely upset that Robin Williams ended his life, and that he is gone, and although he leaves a huge legacy behind him, no one will ever forget that he ended his own life.  The world is full of judgments, and none of us will ever understand the reasons he did what he did, or how he felt.  Some of us may have an inkling, but his suicide was not for publicity, or selfishness, or whatever else I have seen.  He was a man, in pain and suffering, who could see no other way.  I wish everyone could analyse a media article, and believe, for a few minutes, that they may be fabricating or embellishing many of the 'facts', and then consider the fact that a man has died, tragically.  Instead of using this as gossip, or in a negative light, look around you, and wonder whether than lady who just walked past you is suicidal, maybe that man over there, with the huge grin on his face while his kids play in the park, has made his suicide plan.  Maybe your friend, who seems a bit down recently, is more down than you thought.  Maybe that friend who ALWAYS refuses to go out with you, is feeling alone and suicidal or depressed and just wants someone to make them a priority, just for once.  Open your eyes to the world people, it's happening all around us.  If Robin William's story does anything for this world, other than leaving an amazing legacy, let it be him that opened your eyes to the reality we live in.

1 comment:

  1. Claire you no jow I feel about you you are a inspiration and I am so glad we met through support group. This post is beautiful thank you. Lots of luv patsy