I was sad yesterday when I heard that Robin Williams had committed suicide. He was a brilliant actor and comedian who suffered chronic and crushing emotional pain. According to NBC News, he was not alone in his feeling of desperation. More than 39,000 people in the U.S. commit suicide every year. Like Robin Williams, one quarter to one third have a drug or alcohol addiction, which makes them three to four times more likely to be depressed.
Clinical depression is a medical condition that manifests itself in a mental disorder. Symptoms are:
1. Feeling that life is not worth living
2. Sense of hopelessness and despondency
3. Inability to visualize anything positive happening in the future
4. Experiencing suicidal thoughts for two weeks or more
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, call you doctor immediately. Clinical depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication is required to get it back in balance.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Someone who understands your pain will pick up the phone.
Depression is painful, but suicide is tragic – not only for individuals who take their own lives, but also for the people who love them and will wonder for the rest of their lives what they could have done differently to prevent it.
I recently wrote an article about depression in older adults. Click on the link below if you’d like more information.
Destigmatizing Mental Health Issues in Older Adults