This entry was conceived because of a post on FaceBook.
It started out as a comment to a comment to a thread on a video… then it became a paragraph… and that developed into a FB note… and it grew into a blog entry which has taken me literally months to research and compose… and finally, I clicked on “publish.”
My decision to post this entry on the day following Election Day — after the identity of the President Elect has been announced — is not a frivolous one because so many people I know, friends and family, are on both sides of the fence: rejoicing in hope for the future, and experiencing despondency.
It’s NOT just about feeling sad.
This all began because of the kind and gifted Mr. Robin Williams, and comments (some) FB posters were making about the way he died. This precious soul did not simply and without forethought or consideration for anyone but himself “selfishly” commit suicide.
Mr. Williams chose to end his own life because of [a] physical disease[s] he had — Lewy Body Dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease. Excerpted from the LBDA link below, “. . . According to his wife, Robin Williams was battling “the early stages of Parkinson’s disease” before his death. In early PD, Lewy bodies are generally limited in distribution, but in DLB, the Lewy bodies are spread widely throughout the brain, as was the case with Robin Williams. Dr. Dickson, who has reviewed the autopsy and coroner’s report, further states, “Mr. Williams was given a clinical diagnosis of PD and treated for motor symptoms. The report confirms he experienced depression, anxiety and paranoia, which may occur in either Parkinson’s disease or dementia with Lewy bodies.”…” Excerpted from Virginia.Edu link, “Lewy body dementia is the second-most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Considering that, it is not as widely diagnosed or recognized as would be expected. This is likely a result of its overlap with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, which can make it more difficult to diagnose.”
Mr. Williams decided to end his life on his own terms so as not to go on suffering from incurable, advancing, frightening, debilitating illnesses. Perhaps the manner in which he did so was not as graceful or peaceful as it should have/could have been, but it was on his own terms. He did not simply wake up sad one day, not ask for help, and refuse to “just snap out of it” (OH GADZ how I hate that disrespectful, overly-simplistic phrase).
There have been others of late who have made the same choice, but under different conditions (in a loving environment, with their families around, utilizing end-of-life techniques, or services which are legal in other countries). Do I think it should be “legalized” in the United States? I don’t know. I am not sure. That’s not where I am going with this, and that’s a question for another time and after much thought and research. What this is about, is depression, as it frustrates me that millions of people have NO clue about the real meaning and diagnosis of “clinical depression” — and that these folks would assume that Mr. Williams – and EVERYone who EVER made the choice to stop living — would have been able to make the choice to continue living their lives had they only had some sort of “religious faith.”
One of the most spiritual and pure of heart persons I know made an attempt to cease living when just a child, due to undiagnosed clinical depression and daily horrific abuse. That person survived, and continues monumental efforts to live life… every… single… day. I say “continues” because each day is a struggle, each day is one more mountain to climb, each day is grief, each day is confusion, each day is worry and fear and mental and physical pain. For that person, I pray I will always be a safe and soft place to land… and for all my friends and family who are happy and sad on this new day, I hope we can remain closely bonded because of some things, and in spite of others, because my loves, at the end of it all… we are all we’ve got.