Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.

When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.

The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…

But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.


Tom Clempsom (via mollyfamous)


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I’ve been sitting here for awhile now, staring at the blank white computer screen with the black cursor blinking at me, waiting for me to type my thoughts on this blog where I have been coming for many years. I’m struggling to put my emotions into words and to make sense of what I’m feeling in the aftermath of the death of Robin Williams. The dialogue on social media has been heartbreaking for me, and for the most part I have kept my distance because it opens up wounds that I’m trying to heal. I have been held in the vice like grip of depression. Twice I attempted to take my own life, and both times I was angry that I didn’t succeed. At the time, I certainly could not see my own worth, and believed my husband and children would be better off without me. I had slowly been trying to starve myself for years, so once I had become nutritionally stable and weight restored, I had a whole new ball of wax to begin to deal with, and the descent into hell came quickly. I had numbed all of my emotions through my eating disorder, so on top of dealing with a new body, I was also being bombarded by emotions I had never before allowed. I was seeing a trauma therapist for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and also an eating disorder therapist, but I couldn’t tell anyone about my continuous thoughts of wanting to end my life. I tried hard to go to work everyday with a smile on my face, although I felt I was drowning in quick sand, and the effort it took to get through each day became more and more excruciating. You cannot simply tell someone to see their own value, and expect that to happen. Life is not that simple or cut and dried. I’m not a role model. I didn’t want to live, and for months after my attempts, I did not want to be here. I was far from grateful that I survived. To tell you the truth, I have no idea when I made a conscious decision to live my life, and I certainly didn’t do it alone. It was such a painstakingly slow process that I didn’t even recognize that the thoughts were dwindling away. I do know that it is damaging for people to hear that suicide is selfish and cowardly. It shuts down communication, and makes it even more difficult for someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts to reach out. It was the very reason that I couldn’t reach out, so if any good is to come from the passing of Robin Williams, I hope it sheds more light on the subject of suicide and mental health, so that more sufferers will get the help they need.  I wish I could tell you that the thought of suicide never crosses my mind, but I would be lying. I still struggle at times, but the difference is that when those dark thoughts come, I tell someone. We all pass judgment at times, and we are all selfish at times, but if we can at least try to be compassionate and understanding, and truly look at where our fear and anger is coming from, this world would be a better place to live. Did anyone else need to write a blog post on this subject? Probably not, but did I need to get these thoughts out of my mind? Yes, I did, and I now feel like I can breathe a bit deeper. 
"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable." ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh  ~from"Gift From The Sea"
*If you or anyone you know is in need of help please call The National Suicide Hotline 
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I’ve just recently noticed that when I’m restricting or even contemplating restriction, the sounds other people make when they are eating annoy the shit out of me. I become all in all a less tolerant person, and that is not a good thing, so why on earth do I return to this mind set at times. It is a horrible, sneaky place. 

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