braving the storm

Braving The Storm

 

Robin Williams did not kill himself; a powerful statement, I know, given all the information that we are privy to.

The depression that invaded him is what shortened his life in this place. The thing that most people don’t understand about suicide is that; it isn’t that the person doesn’t want to live…but, instead, that they don’t want to be in pain anymore. These types of pain, mental and physical, can be devastating; but just imagine how dire a situation would have to be, in order to cause a person to take their own life. Imagine being so bogged down in despair that you no longer want to breathe. Now imagine your oxygen supply being cut off…that is real pain.

Mental illness is real. It’s as real as diabetes or high blood pressure. But this topic goes without conversation. We don’t want anyone to think that we are crazy, after all. We have the opportunity to stand up and speak out, but sadly we sit quietly…hoping that no one will notice how withdrawn we have become. We avoid crowds, loved ones and basic necessities. This is a gradual downhill slope. We often don’t see it coming. Sometimes, we wish someone would notice; would see…us clearly; so we wouldn’t have to mask the pain

Depression starts out slowly, it is possible that it happens before the person living with it… even realizes it’s there. Like most things, when it starts slowly, we may not even understand the impact that it is having on us. Perhaps we haven’t left the house in an exceptionally long time; or we lock themselves in our room all day. This is not laziness, this is how the disease works. It preys on our weaknesses, until we feel like weakness is all that we have.

It can lead us to believe that nothing is as it seems…people, places, things…everything has now become suspicious. The dark cloud gets thicker…with fewer rays of light and love being able to infiltrate it. The sadness can be overwhelming, but for some reason we do our best to cover it up. After all, who would want to make someone else feel bad…over a situation that we should have had control over? Somehow we must have failed…the destructive thoughts that depression brings, can be exactly that…destructive.

We may feel like failures or perhaps we have stopped feeling altogether. We hide our war with this cruel enemy; which is perfectly content watching us self-destruct. And this is exactly what can and does happen….all too often.

We must open the floor for discussions when it comes to mental illness. We have to wash away the stigma attached to it and move upward and onward. Mental illness is nothing that we are responsible for…it happened to us…not because of us.

We must learn the warning signs and symptoms. We must, as family and friends, watch out for our loved ones. Ask questions and get involved. Leave no room for regret…but be aware that life is fragile. We have such a small window of opportunity when it comes to this disease.

For those people who feel the need to criticize and ridicule those who have succumbed to suicide…we will pray for you. I find no greater offense than speaking ill of the dead.

Let us not spend so much time and energy condemning those, like Robin Williams, who simply could not hold on anymore. Instead, let us celebrate their lives and the way that they loved us. There are far too many of us Braving The Storm.

Listen in at My Rays of Light Radio on Tuesday at 10pm EST

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