Saturday, August 16, 2014

Murder or Mania, where does your tragedy rank?

I've read updates from a couple different people saying how Robin William's death is sad, but what about (other horrible world issues)?  

I want to know, why do tragic events need to compete for what's worse? Now there's way more going on internationally than I know about (and frankly, more than I care to know about. There's only so much emotional heaviness I can handle without it negatively affecting me). 

Admittedly, I am awful at keeping up with the news. A few things of which I am aware: kids being kidnapped & sold into sex slavery, people (of many faiths) being tortured, falsely imprisoned and persecuted, and racially motivated violence and oppression - these are all horrible.  AND the suicide of a dearly loved and revered entertainer who suffered from depression is also horrible. He made us laugh, made us feel better, and helped us escape whatever reality we needed a break from. His life was no more valuable than any other person claimed by mental illness, (or "enter tragedy of choice here"), nor was it worth less than any person killed by ISIS.  What his death does offer is a light on a platform that usually remains hidden and dark, for people to speak out about depression and other mental illnesses, and where there hasn't been one like it before. 

When Patty Duke bravely opened up in her book, Call Me Anna, about her bipolar disorder, (then still called "Manic-Depression" it was 27 years agoCarrie Fisher did the same...21 years later. Little by little, more people are opening up about their struggles, but there is still so much shame and stigma that surrounds it.

I was talking with my husband about it and he said, "People still feel so much shame over depression and mental illness, because they are treated with so much shame! No one wants to organize a fun run for depression."

These days, our culture has a short attention span.  One topic gives way to the next, one tragedy for another, one meaningful subject pushed aside for a Kardashian. Even now in light of his Parkinson's diagnosis, I'm reading, "oh that's why" type comments.  I'm sure that contributed to his depression, but rationally thinking people don't commit suicide. And at least in my experience, when you are overtaken with depression, clinical depression, major depression, depressive episodes, whatever you want to call it, all you hear and believe are the lies Depression tells you.

I don't think one important topic bests another, and I don't want this moment to be wasted. I want us to take advantage of the spotlight that depression and mental illness currently has while it still has the attention of the fickle public. 

We need to keep being vocal until people will listen. At minimum, we will identify each other and band together in solidarity.

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