Early this week we heard of the sad demise of one of Hollywood’s finest – Robin Williams. A lot of tributes started pouring in for him on social media networks, there were reposts of links to his videos, his finest moments, within hours people had put together short videos of his best moments, his picture alongside poignant quotes started popping up everywhere and for one whole day, life suddenly revolved around him. The next day, all I could see was the previous day’s pictures and quotes but they were a lot less. By Wednesday there was hardly anything and life seemed to have moved on.
Then came the quotes about depression and people urging everyone to examine how they feel and to talk about it. I even saw someone pull down a Rest In Peace Robin Williams post because someone told her that children were dying in Gaza and that she should focus on them and not some suicidal celebrity. I chose to keep my opinion to myself at that point. If you can be swayed with someone else’s thinking and have to rethink your compassion then it also probably means that others think for you.
I’ve suffered from clinical depression but I got help for it. Having said that, it doesn’t make me some sort of a hero. I have been riddled with self-doubt and my esteem has had issues for many years, and sometimes I still fall short on the confidence levels but not as terribly as before. The thing is, you don’t realisee you are depressed most of the time. There’s change in appetite, moods, the way you dress, not wanting to socialise, not sleeping well, anger, and so much more.
The old adage says a problem shared is a problem halved but in the mind of the person suffering, they feel their problems are huge and they don’t want to burden anyone at all. This creates the cycle of keeping it all inside, not letting out how you feel, not seeking help, thinking the whole world is against you, nothing is working out at all in your life, when in fact, someone somewhere is looking at you and thinking what a great life you have and wishing they were in your shoes. It’s always a vicious circle.
Looking for help once you realise you need help is the next hurdle. Where does one go? Who does one see? I had to Google this and saw there are several NGOs that are based in our country and they can assist you if you have a problem. It takes a lot to push someone to just end their life. It is said that committing suicide is something cowards do but instead of judging someone so badly, get to know what pushes someone to have this need to end it all.
Be kind, be gentle. Everyone somewhere or the other is fighting something in their lives. A kind word, reaching out, just being there for someone will make a world of a difference. If you are able to see these signs in someone else, please reach out. You may be met with aggression or hostility but don’t give up on them. They’re at their worst and all they need is to be told everything will be alright. Assist in finding solutions to problems, nudge in more positive directions, encourage new hobbies, don’t leave them alone for too long, and above all, tell them they’re loved. Sometimes that’s all someone wants to hear.