I’ve just heard the devastating news that someone I used to work with killed himself over the weekend. I’m absolutely gutted. On the outside he was the joker, always partying and always making people laugh and he’d just welcomed a baby girl into the world. He should’ve been on top of the world right?
You can’t ever know what’s happening in somebody’s head. After the recent high profile suicide of Robin Williams I couldn’t believe the outpouring of misunderstanding I saw on social media. People who had never been in his position, or indeed even close were calling him selfish and disgusting and that was only the tip of the iceberg. Do you honestly think a man who had spent his whole life making people laugh was in his right mind when he took the decision to end his life?
Depression is an illness, a sickness of the brain. Someone can no more ‘snap out of it’ than they can stop having cancer. It takes medication and treatment. It even takes the self awareness to seek out that treatment in the first place. The irony of the condition is that life seems so meaningless that getting help is often the last thing the sufferer wants to do. They just want out.
I suffered from depression myself when I was much younger so I assure you I speak from first hand experience. I spent the best part of a year crying every day and it really does drive you mad. Sometimes it physically hurts. I would have given anything for it to be over, even my life. It’s not living, it’s not even existing, it’s more enduring.
Men have this so much worse than women because it’s not ‘manly’ to talk about your feelings, how’s that for sexism? Over the last few years since I’ve been running the Sassy Bird twitter account I’ve been asked to help spread the word about so many missing person cases involving men. Not one of them had a happy ending. It’s so sad.
Please men, talk to us. If you don’t feel like you can talk to your mates then please talk to someone. You could have the laddiest mates in the world but I swear down if they for one minute thought you were suffering they’d be there for you 100%. The last thing they’d want to do is live without you. That goes for women who are suffering too.
The one thing I have learnt from my experience is that no matter how hopeless life seems, it WILL get better. I promise. You’ll come out the other side of the ‘big dark cloud’ a stronger person and hopefully knowing how loved and appreciated you are.
Suicide is selfish to a person who is well. To a person suffering from depression it can feel like the only option. It’s possibly one of the most misunderstood conditions in the world.
For more information about the Man Down campaign and mental illness please visit The Calm Zone run by charity C.A.L.M (Campaign against living miserably).
For Rob – I hope you have now found the peace which had eluded you here.