Tragedy has hit the news recently. A celebrity, one who touched many hearts, a household name, has passed away. Technically, how he died is very clear cut. However when talking about it, it’s much more disputed. Was it suicide, death by his own hand, the noose around his neck, or his own choice? Or was it simply his depression, from which he suffered, the reason he passed away?
Suddenly, what once seemed so clear cut, has turned into a massive debate.
It’s ridiculous that it takes something so awful to bring such serious matters, like depression and suicide, to the forefront of most people’s minds. Yes they are terrible topics to discuss, but so even more reason to discuss them, to educate people on them, to prevent them. Maybe if people weren’t so uneducated about these things, maybe then we’d have fewer tragedies like them.
I’ve read a lot of these stories, these blog posts that have been cropping up in the past few weeks. Paragraphs about how suicide is selfish, suicide is a choice, depression is a lifestyle choice, “you can stop ‘suffering’ with ‘depression’ if you stopped being selfish and thought of others”.
I call BULLSHIT on every single fucking one.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m an open-minded person; I’m all for people expressing their own views and opinions. But what I cannot stand for however, is ignorant people. If you’re going to make such a statement, at least have sufficient reasoning and/or evidence to back it up; especially when it’s on something so life affecting and serious, like suicide and mental health. And I’d say only 2% of the ones that I read actually did have evidence/ reasoning. All the others just made statements, or else claimed quotes from some holy book as evidence. (That may have worked in your RE exams at school, but it just doesn’t work very well in everyday life.)
Depression is an illness, a disease, a sickness. It is something very difficult to explain to someone who’s never suffered with it.
And it is obvious in so many cases, when someone hasn’t gone through it. ‘Depression is a choice.’ ‘Just stop feeling sorry for yourself.’ ‘Snap out of it.’ The people who write statements like these, it’s so clear that you’ve never gone through it. Not felt the irritability or impatience, the helplessness, the hopelessness, the despair, the isolation, the low self-esteem, the lack of interest in doing anything you ever loved. Never felt like you were constantly trapped at the bottom of a pitch black pit, with absolutely no way out.
You probably will have suffered, gone through some of this at some point in your life. But that doesn’t mean you’ve had depression. When you have depression you suffer every waking minute, and sometimes it even creeps into your sleep (if you’re lucky enough to get some) and haunts that as well. No escape. You’re trapped in the pit for what feels like forever. You hope and pray for a sign that it will end, a way out. Hope that a pin prick of light will appear far above you in the pit, but it never does. You feel around on the freezing stone cold walls, searching for a ladder, a foothold perhaps. Anything to climb out of this eternal agony you’re trapped in. But nothing ever turns up.
Curled in a ball, you’re trapped, cold and alone, at the bottom of an endless stone-walled pit.
Do you really think that if we could just ‘snap out of it’ we wouldn’t? Really?! It’s torture to live like that. Do you really think if you offered us a magic potion, and immediate cure, that we wouldn’t take it in an instant? We’d gladly take it and swallow the bottle in one; anything to end the agony.
If you knew the truth of what they were going through, really going through in their mind, would you really call them selfish for accepting that magic potion? Would you?
You do. ‘Suicide is selfish’, you say. It may not be a ‘cure’ in your books, but to a depressed state of mind, it is. When you have suffered for so long, been so trapped, so low, so hopeless, it is a way out. ‘If you end it, the suffering, the agony, will end with it.’
It’s impossible to know exactly what someone’s going through; unless of course you have the ability to step in someone’s mind, and experience it with them. Hell, you could be that person’s fairy godmother, sat on their shoulder from the moment they were born. Seen, heard, and experienced everything with them, and still not know how they are suffering. Every depression is different. Every suffering is different. Every person’s hell is different.
Depression is not a ‘choice’; it is a living hell individuals are sentenced to suffer with. Suicide is not a ‘choice’ or ‘selfish’; it is a way out. A way to end the agony. Sometimes what feels like the only way to end the agony of depression. It is the only ‘magic potion’ they were offered.
Stop being ignorant and start reading, thinking, listening. Start fighting for good, fighting for prevention, fighting for help, fighting for fewer tragedies, fighting to end all these personal hells.
Depression doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Suicide is not the only solution.
Maybe if there were more educated than ignorant in this world, it would be easier for the suffering to see this, and seek out help, seek out another way out.