This year has been a shocking year in Hollywood as the many heartbreaking stories of celebrities taking their own lives after years of battling depression. As the new stories broke through our news feeds this year we have sat back stunned by the names and stories that followed. As we look back through history movie stars, writers, and sports icons have been known to commit suicide however it was easier to keep the truth hidden as the stigma that comes along with such actions was looked upon as shame and embarrassment. It wasn’t until 2014 when the Hollywood lost the funniest man in the world, Robin Williams, that society finally realized that it wasn’t a stigma it was an illness and it was a huge problem that we needed to address. The amount of celebrity rise in suicide rates this year has been heartbreaking but the truth of the matter is those numbers are nowhere near the numbers that touch those of us in “real” world. The life of nobodies, the life of plain janes and average joes. Sadly, it takes losing someone whose name is in everyone’s household, on everyone’s radio, or on everyone’s television before we realize just how serious this issue truly is.
My article isn’t to name the names of the celebrities that we have lost before Robin Williams and it sure is not to bring up those we have lost this year. My post is to reach out to those who might need to know more about depression, warning signs to watch for in your loved ones and how to reach out for help. The truth about depression is it does not care about who you are as a person. When I say that I mean it doesn’t care if you are a world-famous actor, a lead singer of a rock band, a sports icon, a teacher at a local high, or a student at that high school. Depression doesn’t care if you are 13 or 80 years old or any age in between. Depression doesn’t care if you have a million dollars in your bank account or .50 cents in your pocket. I have seen depression take down 8th-grade students, teenagers in college and people with college degrees. My point in this rambling is that depression is an equal opportunity destroyer. It can, it will and it has killed more people than our society will ever admit too because until recently we have been taught to be embarrassed to ask for help. We can no longer be embarrassed to ask for help or we will continue to log on to social media and see another loved one, another friend or another celebrity has lost their battle with depression.
I want to share some things to watch for with your friends and family in case they may be thinking about suicide.
- Withdrawal from friends and family. They tend to want to sleep more than stay awake and they choose to stay home and away from others.
- Extreme Sadness or in some cases extreme aggressive behavior.
- Expressions of hopelessness.
- Reconnecting with old friends or extended family to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions, making a will, writing notes.
- Risk taking behavior.
- Loss of interest in things that once brought enjoyment.
- Sleeping too much or always tired.
- Making comments even if joking about suicide attempts.
- Increase drug or alcohol use.
Those are just a few signs to watch for in others but those are things you also need to watch for within yourself. I myself suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. I think it may be harder to recognize these things within yourself than it is with your family and friends. For so long, we have been told it was wrong to admit that we were sad or we felt suicidal thoughts like these. We are often told to just suck it up and get over it because there isn’t anything wrong with us. My response to that is just because my depression doesn’t require me to wear a cast or use crutches doesn’t mean my illness isn’t real. Sadly, unless you personally suffer from depression or anxiety you don’t realize just how debilitating it can be. The symptoms are not just in your mind because they become physical as well. So, when I asked to write this story I didn’t want to make it about the celebrities who died on the battlefield fighting the war with depression. I wanted to write for you or your family or your friend who may be suffering. This illness is a daily battle within yourself. Every day you wake up knowing you were going to fight for your very life day after day. I wanted to write this story so that if you woke up this morning preparing to go to battle that starting TODAY you no longer have to fight it alone. Today I am letting you know that know it is ok to ask for help. We have to remove the stigma from mental illness and that it is a disease just like diabetes and high blood pressure . I also encourage you to reach out to your friends, family or the resources I have listed below because I know they will be reaching back to help you up because they love you.
Suicide Awareness Day is September 10th and often is spread throughout that week to bring enough awareness to world. However, if you do not have time for researching more on these things please take a moment and jot down this information or share this story with your friends and family because sometimes they may be suffering in silence and this might be the story they really need to read today. There are many ways to reach out if you are in need. If you would feel more comfortable texting for help you can text CONNECT to 741741 and they will help connect you to sources for help. You can also know join chats online at www.crisistchat.org. Of course, there is also the old-fashioned way call 1-800-273-TALK. If you remember nothing else from this article please remember you are not alone and we here at Fan Fest care.
Rachel is not a professional writer but she is a passionate writer. What does that mean for you dear reader? On one hand, that means misspelled words, run on sentences, forgotten words and rambling content. On the other, you will get humor, honesty, passion and hopefully interesting content.