depression is to sad as cancer is to pimple (a few thoughts after the death of robin williams)

Reading a news story about Robin Williams' death, I saw a tweet from Jimmy Kimmel. It said, in part: "If you're sad, tell someone."

Depression is "you're sad" the way cancer is a pimple. And telling someone doesn't make it go away. For severe depression telling someone is... well, it's nothing.

I'm assuming Kimmel meant, if you're depressed, seek help. Yes. Good advice. But Robin Williams did seek help. He was in treatment. So was David Foster Wallace when he killed himself. So was... I could go on.

Severe depression is often untreatable. That's the terrible truth.

Today I'm thinking of a friend I've lost to mental illness. And I'm thinking of everyone I love who lives with the absence that suicide leaves behind.

I'm thinking of my friends who struggle with depression but are winning their battles. Please keep fighting.


James Redekop said...

It's hard for people without depression to understand just what "depression" really means.

The two-part post on depression at Hyperbole and a Half (Part 1, Part 2), which describes Allie Brosh's experience, really shows how it's nothing like "being sad".

Wil Wheaton has written a lot about his depression over the past couple of years as well (Tagged posts).

More people need to read these sorts of posts so they can actually understand what's happening to their friends, rather than just saying "cheer up".

laura k said...

Yes. They could also try a memoir about living with mental illness.

Cheer up, get some exercise, get over it, get a life, get a grip, get some perspective. You think you've got problems? Everyone feels sad sometimes.

And etc.

I'm glad every time someone like Wil Wheaton or a sports figure or anyone else who is famous and has a following talks about depression. I really think it's making a difference.

laura k said...

I would like to add that I was not a fan of Robin Williams *at all*. After a certain point in his career, I pretty much avoided anything he was in. Totally doesn't matter. How much we liked him is not the point, to me.

Nothing Clever Comes to Mind said...

so well said, Laura. Love you lots.
Other Laura

laura k said...

Love you too, my OL friend. Hope you are doing well.

James Redekop said...

Erika Moen (Dar, Oh Joy, Sex Toy) just posted an amazing piece on her depression as well.

laura k said...

I just had a chance to read Erika Moen's graphic essay. So great - thank you for posting, James.

James Redekop said...

Another creative person I follow has spoken up about depression: Toronto comic book artist Ty Templeton has posteda short comic about his recovery from depression, followed by a longer one about suicide.

Kristina H said...

Well said.