At the times in my life where suicide has become a real and valid option, it seemed the best thing to do for everyone. When my mind reached this completely irrational conclusion, I was convinced that while my family might grieve for a while, they would ultimately get over it, move on, and be the better for no longer having to watch over or worry about me.
Farmers are committing suicide as you read this article. In countries like India, the rate of farmer suicides has become a national crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) is particularly concerned with farmer suicides because of the impact it is having on families. WHO estimates that one person commits suicide every 13.3 minutes.
Global rates of suicide are up 60% since World War II. By 2030, depression will outpace cancer, stroke, war and accidents as the world's leading cause of disability and death. Although twice as many women suffer from depression and many more attempt suicide, nearly four times as many men die from suicide every year. Why?
The urgent physical urge to stop everything now is as primal as sex. At that point, ripping off the civilised veneer that the world sees and coming out, is as contrary an idea as putting a hand deeper into a fire. Bad enough you looking at you, which you can't bear to do. To have others see you as you are, right then, is unconscionable.
Why is it such an 'out of the blue' experience for everyone that Robin Williams killed himself? Is it because we think if someone's funny they must spend their lives, head thrown back, wheezing away? I know very few comedians who in their real lives have their heads thrown back, it's not funny being funny; it's a killer.
One Facebook status that alarmed me greatly. "If Robin Williams, with all the money and resources he had at his disposal, wasn't able to recover from depression, then what hope do I have?" ... I'm going to give you five reasons why you CAN recover from depression, even though Robin Williams sadly didn't.
The world is reeling in shock that has been likened to when Michael Jackson died: we simply can't believe it... in the wake of such a sudden departure, we should stop to consider that there are millions of people out there suffering with depression, and not all of them are getting the help that they need.
It would be misinformed to imply that the suffering of Robin Williams and so many other ill-fated stars has been brought on solely by their fame, their 'success', of course. It's both impossible and futile to say whether the pressures of fame cause those conditions or whether those conditions motivate the vulnerable to pursue that fame. But what I think is important is to draw what positivity we can from such a tragedy.
After Robin Williams' (probable yet unconfirmed at the time of writing) suicide at the age of just 63, the question is once more in the air - are comedians more prone to depression than, say, plumbers, gamekeepers or human resources managers? Does the iconic 'tears of a clown' cultural trope have any basis in fact? My instinct is to say no, it doesn't - but it is just that, instinct, for I have no data. It is a difficult case to prove, for the evidence to the contrary seems so overwhelming. When a comedian like Robin Williams or Tony Hancock takes their own life, with all the consequent publicity engendered by those tragedies, it is definitely tempting to conclude 'there goes another one.'