The recent death of Robin Williams has led me to re-evaluate parts of my life. More specifically, my relationships with others. When someone commits suicide it is far easier to cast blame and make a judgment than to actually think. In my mind, someone should not be blamed for taking their own life because it generally happens for two reasons.
1: A person is so overcome by mental illness that the part of the brain that governs decision making cannot function well enough to give that person the wherewithal to find another option.
2: A person feels that he truly has no other option and this is the only way to end a suffering that we cannot understand unless that person chooses to confide in us.
One way or the other, the odds were against this person and they did the only thing they felt would bring them a solution. Sometimes the solution is to simply grab attention. Though I have never actually tried to end my life, I have made threats and overt displays when I knew they would get me the attention I was seeking and put me in the hands of the people I felt could help me. This was when I was mostly alone and didn’t have anyone who would actively try to pull me from the brink, or push me in the right direction.
My difficulty in making relationships last long has nothing to do with a word written on a piece of paper by a guy with a degree trying to write a book. My personality is my own and the decisions I make are based on facts and experiences. I’m not going to unload my problems onto someone who clearly doesn’t care enough about me. Likewise, if someone I don’t know tries to drop baggage at my door, I’m likely to tell them where to shove it, politely of course. This is not because I don’t care about them or that they don’t care about me, it’s because we all have issues to sort through and no one is obligated to drop everything that’s important in their lives to help someone they have no vested interest in.
In recent years I have been very fortunate to find people who truly care about me. I know that I can knock on their door and burden them with all of my cares and my worries. They know they can do the same for me. There are, of course, cracks in the foundation as in any relationship.
Depression is a mental illness. Like alcoholism, there’s only so much you can do for someone, but it certainly can’t hurt to let them know you’re there.