image source: http://rubyetc.tumblr.com/
So much awareness is brought to mental illness when someone well known dies from it. When suicide takes a life away – suddenly everyone is aware of what pain it causes – to that person and to those that loved them – and even to those that did not know them personally but were somehow touched by them.
There have been so many articles, news reports, and posts about Robin William’s death. I did a post myself. I do not think it is wrong to bring this attention – I think it is great!
My problem with it is — it starts strong — everyone cares about it. The public published the suicide hotline number on Facebook, they post that they care and are there for anyone who needs to talk. They talk about how stigma is wrong. I am not saying that they are lying in any way. I think they do believe these things. I think that losing someone that they were genuinely touched by has affected them. Once that grieving period dies down though, the “sensationalism” of the issue dies down too.
How many celebrities have we lost to suicides and overdoses over the years? How many times have we had a month or two where mental health was a big issue because of this and everyone seemed to care about it, to support it? Then suddenly – it all just went away.
Perhaps, this time it will be different. Maybe this time, the suicide hotline numbers will stay up. Maybe people really will take the time to listen and be there for others. Maybe the stigma will die down.
A few celebrities we have lost over the last few years that have brought quite a bit of attention to the news were:
Philip Seymore Hoffman – drug overdose
L’Wren Scott – Hung herself
Lee Thompson Young – shot himself
Whitney Houston – drowned – with cocaine being a factor, but struggled with drugs and this brought up great discussion after her death
Amy Whinehouse – Alcohol Poisoning …. thus joining “Club 27” – a club of popular musicians who died at the age of 27 from suicide/drug overdose and homicides.
Lots of discussion occurred after these deaths … but soon after, it all just died down. These are just a few of the deaths too. There were a lot more. A lot more due to drug overdoses, which is a serious mental health issue today. A lot more suicides over the years as well. Let’s not let these stories happen and people just forget about them. Mental illness is not something that should be in the news for a few months and forgotten. Let’s keep it in the spotlight. These celebrities should not be dying from it, we should not be dying from it – no one should be dying from it.
Since the death of Robin Williams, there has been a spike in calls to crisis lines around the US and Australia. I am not sure about other parts of the world, as I simply saw articles pertaining to these two countries, however I am sure they probably went up as well.
Calls, chats, messages, and clicks on their websites to Lifeline in America, Lifeline in Australia, Beyond Blue in Australia, the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) information line and Facebook page, and local crisis centers all around the US.
Many people were reaching out, seeking help for their depression, suicidal thoughts, and some were simply wondering how people can be depressed – how can someone look happy and yet feel so much pain and kill themselves. Perhaps with that last question, people will begin to understand depression more and even see or help someone else around them who might present happy but really be very depressed.
While they do not really know how many people were reaching out for help due to their depression and suicidal thoughts prior to Robin Williams death versus those who were affected by his death and began to feel suicidal after in response to his death (example, when you have someone close to you die, you begin to feel like you want to die) — they are glad that more people know about the crisis lines and support systems and are using them.
While I do think Robin Williams death brought a great deal of attention to suicide and mental health, I also think it is going to die down soon as it usually does even though people seem to care very much about it after such a loss. However, hopefully after all those posts of the suicide hotline numbers – this will not die down and people will remember these resources – and use them – and reach out for help when they need to.
Here are a few articles discussing the increases in spikes in crisis center calls — and there are quite a few more if you search on the internet.
Australian News Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis calls
American Aljazeera Article Discussing the increase in spikes in crisis line calls
Houston, TX News Article Discussing local crisis center call increase
Augusta, Maine Article – Discussing local crisis center call increase
What is a mistake I will never make again?
I won’t ever not ask for help again. I went for years not asking for help. Hiding my depression, hiding my pain. I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I didn’t want people to not love me or care about me. I wanted to be strong and competitive in this world. I wanted to prove I could be somebody.
Depression, Bipolar, BPD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, OCD, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Trauma, Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, Rape – whatever the mental illness or Trauma/Past is though – it doesn’t mean you are weak. It took me far to long to figure that out.
All I knew was that this world was about getting ahead. That is all that was preached to me in school – you have to do this, you have to do that. Learn this, learn that. Get into the best school, earn the highest grades. Take the ACT, the SAT. Apply, apply, apply. I was miserable, but I didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
On top of that, I really didn’t believe I was going to be alive. I really thought I was going to be dead, either by a natural death or by suicide. I didn’t think I was actually going to have to live up to those expectations anyway. So I never asked for help.
Then there was also the little fact that it was brought to people attention that I needed help, and no one seemed to care – so why would I ask for help when no one wanted to help me in the first place when others told them I needed it?
After being miserable for years though, and then seeing what my life has been like with the right medications and proper therapy — I would give so much to go back and get these things earlier in my life. What a difference I think it would have made, how much easier my life would have been.
Even though people don’t always listen when we ask for help. I still will always ask for it. I still will always plead for it. I won’t give up. I will keep asking, I will keep begging, I will keep pleading for the help. If I need help – I will get it – no matter what. Because not asking for help, will just lead to my destruction. I know that now.
Word Press Post A Day – A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?
I would absolutely love for people to just be obsessed with my book so much that they just study it for decades. However, if I wrote a book I would want it to be interesting – I would it to grab peoples attention, to let them escape the world or educate them, preferably both.
Actually I have an idea for a book, but I do not have the concentration to actually sit down and focus on it at this point. If anyone has read my previous posts, my blog focuses on mental health issues for the most part — or the majority posts—- or all of my posts with the exception of basically one.
If I wrote a book, I would want it to be about mental health, because there is such a stigma about it. I wouldn’t want it to just reach out to those that have it though. I would want it to educate everyone – those that have it, those that done, cats, dogs, birds, fish, whoever wants to read it, bite it, scratch it, peck on it, hmm maybe fish can’t swim on it. It wouldn’t make fun of mental illness, that is not something one should make fun of, but mental illness is something that you can still have fun with. There are funny things, funny stories that people can tell, we are still people with funny lives because of our mental illness. Combining our mental illness to educated others with the good things we have done, how we overcame our challenges, showing our funny side, perhaps showing our challenges while using humor, those are the things I would want to do.
It would be a best seller – all around the world. Written in so many languages – because lets be honest, mental illness affects everyone. Not just poor people, not just brown haired people, or rich people, or Hispanics, or white people, or purple haired people, or people that drink Pepsi instead of Coke.
I would love for a few people to become so obsessed the read my book for decades, and if that happens to occur with this one, that would be awesome! But most importantly, I want my book to be enjoyed by everyone – to educate everyone about the stigmas of mental illness – for people to be able to escape into humor and the lives of those that live with mental illness so they can see we are people just them.