If you've never suffered from severe depression... if you've never stood by helplessly as somebody you care about battles depression... if you've never made an effort to understand what depression is or what it does to you... then please, for the love of God, shut the fuck up about it. Your ignorant commentary adds nothing to the conversation and only serves to make things worse for people living with this drastically misunderstood mental disorder.
Because if I hear one more asshole like Shep Smith (who obviously knows jack-shit about depression) call Robin Williams "a coward" for killing himself, I'm going to lose it.
With depression you don't kill yourself because you're selfish or weak or a coward... you kill yourself because a non-stop feeling of utter desolation means you can't muster any self-worth and feel as if everybody you care about would be better off without you. That's the opposite of selfishness... the opposite of weakness... the opposite of cowardice. It's having the strength to choose ending your life in order to give those you love a better one.
Which is crap, of course, but that's the way your brain works when you have severe depression.
So comparing this disorder to "being sad" is ludicrous. It's not sad. Everybody gets sad from time to time because they're given a reason to feel sad. Depression is feeling sad to the point of despair for no reason and every reason with no end in sight. It's feeling completely lost without knowing why. It's feeling utterly alone when surrounded by people who care about you. It's the agonizing feeling of not being able to justify your very existence. And it is unrelenting. It simply does not stop. It overwhelms your every thought every minute of every damn day.
And unless you've been through it... or had to watch somebody endure it... your mind just can't comprehend what it's like. So stop it. Stop acting like you have a fucking clue.
"How could Robin Williams be depressed when he had millions of dollars?" — Money can't buy your way out of depression when nothing you can buy will bring you happiness.
"How could Robin Williams be depressed when everybody loved him?" — All the love in the world can't make you feel loved if you don't feel deserving of it.
"How could Robin Williams commit suicide and make his family suffer like this?" — When you feel that your depression is a burden to ones you love, suicide seems like the greatest kindness you can offer them.
Again. This is a mental disorder... you can't apply logic or rational thinking to explain it away.
And if you don't want to sound like a complete and total bastard, you'll stop trying.
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Thanks, I couldn’t have put it better, and I tried (on FB)
Dave, thanks for this.
I have suffered from this type of depression, often called intrinsic depression, where you’re depressed but you can’t label it. There is also extrinsic depression where you feel hopeless because you lost your job, your partner of 23 years traded you in for a younger model, and you get a bowel cancer diagnosis all in the same week.
I think your point is most relevant when people ‘on the outside’ think they’re both the same thing and don’t understand when you can’t blame something, or someone, for how you’re feeling.
My depression is managed by medication and the support of a big family, some of whom share how I feel. You’re right; if you want to help someone you care about who is depressed, don’t say, “I understand.”, when you don’t or “I want to help.”, when you can’t.
Be honest. Say, “I don’t have a fucking clue what it’s like to be you, but I’m your friend, and I love you, and as long as I’m alive that will always be the case.”
Plus Shep Smith is an idiot. A good calculation of an idiot is how many times the person has been featured on The Soup and Shep has been on it many many many times.
More honest words could not have been blogged! Thanks for your effort to educate, although I suspect that most of your readers already ‘get it’. Chemical imbalances can’t be eliminated with wealth, beauty, or love alone.
Very eloquent. Thanks.
Very well stated. I wish more people would understand this before they speak and paint themselves as some expert.
Absolutely. No one can ever truly understand unless they’ve been there… and even then, it’s different for everyone.
One of the things I find most insidious about depression is a stat I read that your chances of committing suicide go up as you age, which actually makes sense if you suffer from depression chronically.
i don’t get these reactions. yes, it’s selfish to take your own life, but if you’re not in your “right mind” when such a decision is made….
I am STILL pissed off that my sister and my cousin’s sister both said my cousin was “selfish” after he killed himself. The man was struck by a sudden, brutal and crippling depression. He went from being an active, friendly, loving, athletic guy to someone who did not eat, shower, or go out of the house. He was so obviously ill and in torment. Yet these two decide unilaterally that he was selfish.
I had a period of suicidal thoughts, too, and what I realized is this: the suicidal thoughts are a way of making the pain smaller. You wake up and think “I will kill myself later today,” so you don’t have to deal with the pain of tomorrow and forever. It’s kind of like any addiction – you don’t have to suffer the pain of forever, you just have to suffer til you get your next drink or fix or shopping spree or sex partner or whatever it is that distracts you from your pain. It’s just that some people end up following through.