Perspectives on getting help

38 26.07.2014 21-27-36

I was woken up this morning by bright rays of sunshine flooding my bedroom. I was not awake enough to think yet and felt happy and cosy. I grabbed my phone, like I do every morning. Scanning the news helps me wake up and start the day. And there were the headlines: Robin Williams dead. And I was shocked, as if I had known him, I could not believe my eyes.

This post is not about Robin Williams. The eulogies are already everywhere and it is not my place to say anything but “The actor will be missed”. The person he was though will be missed and mourned by friends and family, and not by me. But these news make me wonder and try to understand what’s behind this wish to die. Because there are many more Robin Williams in this world, people who struggle and suffer every day and whose death might not even be mentioned in the local newspapers.

There are a few people I know… knew… who chose not to live anymore. There was this guy I met during a vacation when we were about 16. He was always funny, always the clown. I never saw him being down. When he was 18, he got into his Dad’s car and shot himself. There was this guy who was in my class in school. He was gloomy and one of a kind, but he never seemed really down. I remember running into him in the local pub and him telling me about his plans after university. He was found dead on the railway tracks six weeks later. There was this guy I knew from way back in kindergarten. He was a nice guy with a very positive presence. He hung himself in his student dorm. And the list goes on and on!

Every time something like this happened, I started asking and analysing like most people do. Why did he do that? If he had problems, there surely would have been ways to solve them! Nothing can be that bad! He was so successful! Lovesickness goes away! Time is a great healer! I have been depressed in my life, but it goes away!

Growing older I learned about different mental conditions. I experienced how powerful your mind can be during my time with anxiety. Your mind can drive you so deep into a feeling that it does not only seem real, it IS real! Luckily, I have never suffered from depression, and I cannot claim I understand what people who are affected by it go through. What I do know is that no “Snap out of it” or “Stop making a fuss” is in any way helpful! I do know how lonely you feel when every one around you sighs and secretly roll their eyes and tell you that none of what you feel is real. That you just need to stop. If it was that easy, people WOULD stop, believe me!

And it makes me furious that there are people who use depression or burn-out as a fashionable excuse for a break. I ran into my next door neighbour a few weeks ago and right after “Hi, how are you” he started telling me that he was suffering from burn-out syndrome. I asked whether he went to see a doctor and whether he was on sick leave and he said “Oh no, I am working, but I am REALLY stressed!” A former (sic!) friend told me in length about how she was stressed and overworked and then let me know that she did not want to live anymore. I tried to reach her the day after that conversation. And the day after that. I was ready to call the police when she called me back eventually. When I told her how worried I had been, she just laughed and said “Oh no! I would never do that! It’s just something you say!” No it’s not!

I think I will never fully understand what people who suffer from depression go through. And I don’t need to. I have followed two blogs lately that explain depression and suicidality very well: Phoenix – the rebirth of life and Not a Punk Rocker. If you are prone to triggers, please refrain from reading them! But I understand how important it is to listen and get help! So if you feel that someone you know is caught in depression or suicidal tendencies, get help – if must be, against their current will! And if you feel that there is no way out of your darkness, please try to reach out! Someone will hear you!

I will end with a quote by Walt Whitman. It was quoted in the “Dead Poets Society” and given to me by a friend many years ago. It has been on my wall ever since:

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Yours truly, madly, deeply!


All photos used in this blog are mine unless stated otherwise. Feel free to use them if you like, but be decent and link to this site!



3 thoughts on “Perspectives on getting help

  1. Hi there! I saw traffic coming from here and came over to see what was up.

    Thank you for sharing this message and for having the compassion to try to understand and learn more about depression and related conditions.

  2. Depression is a tricky thing. I have recently learned a lot more about it, although I have suffered from mild depression all my life, with episodes of medium and sometimes severe depression as well.
    I recently met a man in his late 50ies who you’d never even suspect to be depressed.
    He was always cracking jokes and laughing. Very pleasant company. But that was just his way of not taking life and especially himself and his unmet needs seriously, it was his way to cope (along with heavy alcohol and drug abuse). When he was diagnosed by a competent therapist, he had a hard time believing it himself at first. He is currently undergoing long-term therapy in a specialized clinic.

    There’s a great joke my therapist told me on how a depressed person sometimes has an unrealisticly dark view on everything he encounters in life and even welcomes it, for example in arts and music… (Disclaimer: No intention to hurt anyone’s religious feelings here!)

    Mr Jones was quite a bad boy all his life, and after he passes away, he finds himself in front of Hell’s Gate. His knees are shaking terribly. The door opens with a sinister creak. “Oh, Mr. Jones! We’ve already expecting you. Let me give you the tour. My name is Lucifer, by the way.”

    As they step through the gate, Mr. Jones is nothing but puzzled: Agreeable climate, rolling green hills, birds singing in the sky, small idyllic villages in the distance.

    “I beg you pardon, Lucifer, but… I’ve been expecting something rather different down here” – “Oh, we hear that a lot”, Lucifer smirks, pointing a finger upwards. “You know, there’s a lot of bogus talk about us up there.”

    As they move on, they approach a rather sinister looking building made of rough black granite. Getting closer, screams of pain and terror and infernal weeping can be head. Mr. Jones goes pale. “Oh no… I … I knew there had to be a catch!”

    “Oh no, don’t worry Mr. Jones!”, Lucifer replies. “It’s just the catholics, they simply want to have it that way!”

    Hope you are doing better than last time I heard of you, Lunatique! *hugs*

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