Tag Archives: melancholia

Depression Kills

Via Vince Sparks

Last month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.”

I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona would commit suicide.

As more information was revealed about his addictions, his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and his dealing with severe depression, I totally understood how this unfortunate incident could occur. Of course, the naysayers had to emerge and utter incoherent ramblings about cowardice and his leftist views that made him unhappy. All of the unintelligent garbage that gets reported needs to be tossed away promptly.

Suicide is not an act of cowardice, but a result of depression or other mental illnesses.

Robin Williams’ death is a tragedy, but if it can help start a national conversation about Depression and Mental Illness than something positive can come from an untimely death. It seems that many people view mental illness through a stereotype of straight jackets and padded cells.

Mental Illness encompasses many forms and can be as blatant as someone with agitated, incoherent behavior or very subtle cue which make a person appear to have nothing wrong with them.

I understand the symptoms and the impact, because I suffer from severe depression and anxiety. It is a hard condition to understand because it affects emotions. This makes it difficult for people, not familiar with the disease, to comprehend as a real illness.

Believe me, it is just as real as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or any other disease that hides beneath the surface. It requires treatment just the same as a diabetic requires medication to keep their condition stable.

The illness is as old as recorded history.

Years ago people thought of it as melancholia. The prevailing notion would be “he just needs to pull himself up by his bootstraps.” It was an uneducated thought that if you were sad, you would just get glad again. It was a self-inflicted pity party. The more the condition was studied and as medical advances were made, clinicians realized that there are many factors and conditions involved with the illness. Depression has many causes and can stem from genetic predisposition, life events, faulty mood regulation by the brain, and medical problems.

Whatever the specific cause for depression, there are always chemicals in the brain involved. There are many drugs available for treatment, but each person can react differently due to internal chemical reactions to the medications. The complexity of the illness is daunting for practitioners. They can’t simply review similar symptoms and think that the treatment will be the same for each patient.

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