Shepard Smith, Fox News’ anchor, made an ignorant remark when covering Robin Williams’ recent death, calling Williams’ a “coward” for committing suicide.
What struck me was the fact that, despite officially apologising for what he dubbed “an innocent comment”, Smith has caused a stir on social media platforms – with people being both in agreement of and opposed to his outrageous remark.
Everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon giving their comments and opinions about suicide and debating the merits of depression. But, unless you have been there, I don’t think any academic or empathetic comments do justice.
Having recently been at the throes of despair, being unashamedly candid about my own struggle with depression, I contemplated suicide more than once. What the average person needs to understand is that this is a disease that one cannot “snap out of”. Good intentions aside, the advice I was given, created more of an annoyance and made me feel worse about myself. Comments like “think about your children”, “you have so much to be grateful for”, “you need to pull yourself together”…etc etc etc…do nothing for someone who considers it a task to get out of bed every morning. Each person’s pain threshold differs and what can be dramatic for me, may not be for another as pain is relative.
Whatever the cause, the point is, depression is a disease and should be treated as such. A reasonable amount of respect should be afforded to someone suffering from depression because in most cases, one doesn’t “choose” to simply be depressed.
A culmination of several traumatic life experiences removed all hope from Robin Williams. With the onset of early Parkinson’s disease, life as he knew it, would never be the same. He chose to end his life for whatever reason and there should not be any judgements made or comments that suggest that his soul would now serve it’s time in hell.
Life on earth is hell. Financial trouble, ill-health, relationships failing, death of a loved one, being unemployed, abused, victimised or having a low sense of self-worth are palpable reasons for people to spiral into a dark abyss. Whether suicide is justified or not – it’s a subject that should never warrant judgment.
Personally, had divine intervention not come to me in the form of The SOAR Institute, I too, would have probably been dead. I have had the insight and experience to know that nothing in life is insurmountable – but again, this knowledge came from having walked that painful path.
Life is hard enough – be kind to each other. Reach out to someone who you think may be hurting. Be authentic with the kindness and concern and know that with life being so unpredictable, you can never tell when your time of need will come, so hopefully your kindness comes back tenfold.
Pay it forward.