Following the deaths of the famous actor and stand up comedian Robin Williams, the American musician, singer and songwriter Chris Cornell, and most recently, Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington, who each took their own lives, I have been hearing echoes of people saying “Oh, they had so much of money and fame, they had ‘everything’ and yet, they killed themselves.” Frankly, I can feel my blood boiling when I hear these statements. Look people, first of all, we have to ask ourselves, what is ‘everything’? The word ‘everything’ can be absolutely subjective to each individual. Just because on the outside, it may seem like these people have ‘everything’ they need, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they actually do have ‘everything’.
Secondly, and the most important point I would like to stress here is that, this is a much more deeper issue than money, fame or ‘true happiness’. This is an issue of them having had to battle some form of mental illness. Mainly, depression and substance abuse. Two very seemingly real mental illnesses that can truly alter one’s mind. Although having had to battle with Lewy Body Dementia, severe depression was also one of the major contributing factors Robin Williams had to face and substance abuse was also something he had to deal with on and off.
Depression (i.e. clinical depression), as defined by the English Oxford Dictionary, is, a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep. Substance abuse (i.e. alcohol or drug addiction) on the other hand, has been defined by this same dictionary as an overindulgence in or dependence on an addictive substance, especially alcohol or drugs. It is always viewed as a form of mental illness in the world of psychology.
Although underestimated by many, these mental disorders can appear to be very real and tormenting to the person suffering from it. Therefore, simply telling them to ‘snap out of it’ isn’t going to help in any way. These mental illnesses are mostly caused by a severe chemical imbalance in the brain and hence, one can’t just ‘get over it’ with just a snap of a finger. Having studied Psychology, I have begun to understand the nature of various mental illnesses on a whole new level. It is indeed very complex to understand, especially for those who have never been through it themselves. However, the following link gives us a concise and well narrated summary of what happens in the brain of a person suffering from Depression https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GOK1tKFFIQI and on the other hand, another link which leads to a great explanation of what happens in the brain of a person suffering from any form of addiction and some of the ways in which they may be able to overcome it https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=P3pES8SDaiI 😊
To all those suffering from Depression or Addiction, please do seek professional help and remember that there is always someone out there to help you if you make the choice to help yourself and though it may seem utterly impossible at times, please try to bear in mind that suicide is just a temporary fix to a lifelong battle you are suffering from.
Stay tuned for my next articles where I will go into these mental illnesses in greater detail and also highlight some of the ways in which you can help someone you know suffering from them.
Till next time,