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Genie, You're Free

"You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome."

By Daniel JacobsPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

For most of us, life is a series of challenges we must work to overcome. Whilst many are able to hurdle those obstacles, others find them increasingly difficult to negotiate. Some find them simply impossible to the point where even trying to take the first step is a step too far. And for those faced with the seemingly insurmountable, too often there appears to be only one way out.

As the news about Robin Williams found its way around the globe, there was — at least at first — a collective sense of disbelief. That this father, husband, actor, comedian and philanthropist had been stolen from us at only 63. But then, all too quickly, reports began to suggest there was another story to tell. That the private demons that had haunted Williams for so long had finally won their war.

As is often the case with reports of suicide, there was an almost immediate rush to join one of two very distinct camps. You were either sympathetic to the internal struggles, perhaps even personally familiar with the clouds of grey that seem to loom overhead just waiting for their time to release the lightning bolt of despair. Or, and this is camp two now, you jumped straight in with two feet telling anyone who would listen about how those who take their own life are “selfish” and “cowardly.” After all, how could anyone do that to the loved ones left behind?

I don’t profess to be an expert in the field of depression, least of all in psychology and mental illness. But to simply dismiss the taking of one’s own life as those in camp two seem to do is, in my mind at least, horribly uninformed. At best. And at worst it is incorrigibly dangerous. By positioning suicide as the last resort of somebody who is weak or a coward, you are essentially absolving yourself of any responsibility and pushing the blame solely onto the shoulders of the individual. Furthermore, those in similar situations as Williams appears to have been, are far less likely to speak up and speak out about their troubles for fear of ridicule. It simply cannot be the acceptable norm that people are so scared of additional humiliation, of being laughed out of a room, or that the help they need should feel so distant, that their only escape is a permanent one.

We all have a shared responsibility to look after one another. To do what’s best, and also to do what’s right. To allow each and every person we know and care about to have a voice so they feel so safe and supported that asking for help is always an option. And most importantly of all, we should always be looking for ways to help before that cry even comes.

If there’s anything to take away from the Robin Williams news, it must be this: We are all, regardless of physical attributes or the masks we wear, uniquely fragile. But we are not alone. Whilst it may not always seem like it, there is someone there for you, someone who will listen, understand and help you with whatever you need. Likewise, remember that there are people out there who are right now struggling with the same internal challenges that Williams was seemingly battling. These are your friends, your family, your neighbors, your colleagues. These are people who are fighting depression and at the same time are trying to convince you that everything is OK.

Check in with them.

Reach out to them and let them know you’re there.

Sometimes, that’s all they need.

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About the Creator

Daniel Jacobs

Just some guy with not much to shout about. Or maybe I do and I've just lost my voice. Still, at least I can type.

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    Daniel JacobsWritten by Daniel Jacobs

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