In the midst of the fire

(Trigger Warning: This post references suicide and depression. If you need help please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.)

robin-williams1

My favorite priest once gave us an analogy. He said to us that someone once told him that people who are depressed with suicidal tendencies feel like they are standing in a burning building with flames all around and the flames are growing bigger and bigger, closer and closer. They can’t run through the fire, the flames will engulf them. They stand on the edge, waiting for the moment the flames die down, but sometimes the flames move so close that they cannot escape them any longer and the only way out is to jump. The jump isn’t designed to hurt anyone else or even themselves. The jump is designed to escape the fire that is all consuming. People jump from burning buildings. We instinctively search for an escape from the pain that we know has the potential to destroy our lives. Sometimes the pain is physical. Sometimes it’s mental. Sometimes it’s both.

I think what’s important here is that we must seek help. We must do something to remove the flames, to put out the fire. Mental health is so important, but so gravely overlooked. It is underfunded, under researched, and services are nowhere near what they should be, but they do exist. Help is out there. And it’s important to remember – you know those moments when we are sick with a virus or an ailment where we are in so much pain we can’t move, we can’t take care of ourselves, we can’t get things in order on our own – that’s what it’s like when a mental health issue takes over. It’s not that people don’t want to fight it, it’s just that it seems impossible to do on our own. We have to create support. We have to care about one another. We have to remove the “why can’t you just get over it, we all have problems” mentality and move towards caring about one another and ourselves again. Treat people well. Be good people. Help one another. That’s what we are here to do.

It saddens me tremendously to lose someone who provided so much joy, love, and depth to so many through his work.But thankfully, those things live on. And hopefully we can strive to give those things to those around us – share in the joys and the sorrows, spread love and hope. We all have something to offer. Let’s offer it all with love.

About laurenc129

I'm a mom. Sometimes my hands turn orange. Other times I write. On twitter: @laurenc129

Posted on August 12, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. This is an important post. The analogy is perfect.

  2. Reblogged this on bears goats and strawberries and commented:
    Or a friend. If you commit suicide I will haunt you for all eternity…find him. Direct order! She controls 4 militarys. Sweden, France, Quatar & Russia. Hard to ever die.

  3. Beautifully said. I think if there’s one “lesson” in Williams’ death, it’s the thought that we can’t know what’s going on in another person’s mental/emotional life… unless we reach out to find out! (And that it’s critical we DO so with our loved ones.) There was a guy who always seemed manic in his cheer and humor, but wow, look what was beneath that surface.

  4. I had to reblog. Thank you for such an important message. When my brother committed suicide several years ago, I even had family members request we lie about his cause of death. That’s the worst thing we could do.

  5. Reblogged this on Living Lightly and commented:
    This blog addresses an important issue. Let’s keep the dialogue open on depression and suicide. If we talk about it, the stigma may slowly change.

  6. Thank you for this post, it is very well written and so true. I really like the flame analogy-I have had a hard time explaining to others just how bad depression can be-it hits the nail on the head. (Could I borrow it, both for an explanation and perhaps, for a later post?)
    Thanks for stopping by and following my blog.
    Blessings!

  7. Thank you for posting this, it said everything that I was feeling. “The Just Get Over It” mentality that the majority of people have is a problem, ignorance of depression and/or addiction creates even more problems, Medicating people so that they just don’t feel any more really worries me, that might actually be the zombie apocalypse that everyone seems to be talking about. The only way I have found to make things better is to talk to someone that has been through it, been through what I am feeling, AND to be there for someone else that needs help.

  8. I was very saddened to hear the news, but not completely surprised because I knew he was bipolar and (I believe) also manic depressive. Everyone seemed a little subdued at work today and the morning DJ played a tribute to him.

    There are posters on the metro, here in L.A., that drive home a very important message: you often hear people talking about how they had no idea someone was suicidal. Many people learn to hide it and they hide it well. It’s not unusual for friends and family to have no idea.

    I can say, from personal experience, that I knew how to hide it very well. I knew how to put on a show. Even now, although I’m no longer depressed, I know how to put on a smile and hide my true feelings when I’m having a bad day. I did it for years prior to, and following, my divorce. I’m a corporate trainer, I had to put on a “brave face.”

    But, by that time, I’d also learnt how to trust the people around me and to lean on them when I felt I needed to. Because if there’s one thing I learnt from wanting to fall asleep and never wake up, twenty years ago, it’s that “sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”

    Some day I’ll write a post about it. I’ve yet to find the strength to do it because I know how much it will hit me when I do.

    The world has lost a bright light. Let’s not let it be in vain.

    • You’re so right about how well it can be hidden. And a lot of times people don’t realize that sometimes the warning signs are the antithesis to what we might expect, such as the appearance of happiness and ease – when individuals become less stressed and report feeling completely better – can actually be a sign that the problem has worsened. It’s so difficult to understand. And early intervention is so important. I hope we can soon figure out a way to do a better job with creating mental health resources early on. That we can start encouraging treating one another with respect early on and learn how to better understand the neurological processes involved. I actually think there is a lot of hope in laser therapy – however, that has a lot of negative possibilities for misuse as well and is in need to attention and regulation.

      I’m so happy that you have been able to work through things as you have, though. And it’s good that you know your limitations in regard to writing about it. I hope you all are doing well!

      • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding warning signs – I couldn’t remember the wording on the poster when I wrote ny reply but it goes something along the lines of “my friends thought I could keep it all together but inside I was falling apart.”

  9. Well said. I have had someone close to me in my life suffer manic depression and it is very difficult. The one thing hardest to bear is that they often do not accept the help they need.

    • This is one of the saddest, most frustrating parts of it. Not being able to do anything or force anyone to get help. I hope the person you know finds a way to seek some help and work through the debilitating effects.

  10. Well said and terribly true. The most helpless I feel as a physcian is when I cannot find help for some suffering from a mental health issue. And it seems that for those who need it most, whose lives are torn apart by it, are further marginalized from receiving care by our broken system.

  11. Beautifully put. Depression is a dragon, and the clinically depressed have to fight that dragon every single day. Sometime, the sword and armor simply get too heavy to carry on your own.

  1. Pingback: My Thoughts | joatmon14

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