Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Choice? Yes. But ALSO a disease

Dear Blogger,

Good morning. How are you today? Probably a bit angry with the response you received to your latest post. I would be too if 75-80% of the people who responded were insulting me and my intelligence. BUT, read through the anger, there's a reason it's there. You chose to address the death of a beloved man. One who made so many of your reader's childhoods just a bit unique. One who was, according to ALL who knew him, kind and generous. Who wouldn't think anything of helping anyone who needed it. One who cheered up others in their darkest moments even when he was fighting his. I agree with you to a point: A disease didn't take him, a choice did. BUT, what you seem to be glossing over, is that the choice was caused by a disease.

Have you ever had a moment where all you can hear is the negative? Where you feel as if you're sinking deeper and deeper in? Where you'd be willing to do ANYTHING to get out? Where you suddenly think, "I can end this permanently. I can take my life and then I'll never have to face this moment EVER AGAIN."? I have. In fact, the first time was when I was 11. Yup, 11. Luckily, I'm afraid of pain and I'm afraid of others thinking I'm a coward, so I've never followed through, but the urge has been strong. Don't you DARE belittle a disease like this. Having Depression is very different than being depressed. Very, very different. It's a constant battle. You'll have years where you'll think "I'm done! It's defeated! I haven't had an episode in over a year. Now it's a distant memory and I can focus on helping others past this." Then, suddenly, it's back. Sometimes it comes back in whispers and sometimes it comes roaring back like an express train. If you've lowered your defenses enough, thinking you'd permanently won the war, it can come back hard enough that it almost tips you over the cliff. That cliff comes up so quickly and the things you have to go through to get past it seem so scary, that jumping off it seems like a relief. The release you'd feel and the light you'd find would have to be better than the darkness you're battling.

It's not just you. I wish it was, boy do I wish it was. There are so many people who completely blame the person. Many of them are children of suicide victims. I get that. In that case, I'd blame the person too. It's hard to be objective when you're the one that was left behind. But, if you haven't been through that particular life-long trial, you don't have the right to judge. You have the right to help though. Offer a helping hand to someone who's having a rough time. Let people know that it's NORMAL to struggle, that there are ways to find the light through all of the swirling vortex of darkness that they're swimming through. In short: help normalize mental illness. For centuries people have chosen to ignore that it happens. For centuries the agreed upon way of handling it has been a special form of "don't ask don't tell" or "ignore it and it will go away". These teachings are dangerous. Personally, I believe that this way of thinking has lead to the significant increase of suicide by adults. People you'd think would be old enough to "know better" start thinking that the have no where else to turn so they take the only option they feel they have- they end it all.

I'm taking a stand. I'm putting myself out there and saying "This is me. I am who I am and some days I really don't like it. Some days I think the only way of dealing with it is by NOT dealing with it. Some days I have to almost physically fight to stay above the darkness. I am a face of Depression and I'm not afraid to own it.I will fight for others who have this and I will do whatever it takes to normalize this." No one deserves to go through what Robin Williams' friends and family are going through right now. No one deserves to have to try to rationalize the person they knew making a sudden and decisive choice like this, just as no one deserves the thoughts that lead him to this choice.

Please, have compassion. Please, use your blog for good. Use your platform of hundreds of thousands of followers to take a stand and say "It was a choice, caused by a disease, how can we help make sure no one makes that choice again?" Please, at least think about it.

Sincerely yours,

Hannah Horne

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to see you followed up with a response to the last post.