Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I have brought my blogs together here for simplicity's sake.  All things technical, philosophical, and meteorological - but mostly logical - to come.

Suicide - It's Not A Choice

Robin Williams death by suicide is a tragedy.  Every suicide is.  What prompted this entry? Honestly, a link to Matt Walsh's blog post regarding it.  He fires me up every time.  He makes good points from time to time in his articles, but lacks the wisdom to bring it all together without his warped views distorting them and making his posts complete... hmm.  sigh.  I've seen quite a few statements along the lines "Depression is not a disease" or "He just didn't try hard enough".  Worst I've seen - "He chose it".  How can someone think that someone else could choose to live like that; with depression.  Matt Walsh - "It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that."  

This idea that one can choose to get to that point is... infuriating, not thought out, and ignorant to me.  I understand that Matt is saying that in that final moment it is the person who makes the choice to pull the trigger, step off the chair, take the pills, etc.  But to assume that that person is in their right mind in that moment is beyond a bad assumption. Is there will involved?  Certainly.  But that's the point.  Someone who gets to that point has had their will eroded beyond what they can handle.  And in most cases will is only a small portion of everything involved with that situation.

Disease - an illness that affects a person, animal, or plant : a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally - Merriam Webster

Depression is the most common mental disorder. Fortunately, depression is treatable. A combination of therapy and antidepressant medication can help ensure recovery. - American Psychological Association

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply "snap out" of. - Mayo Clinic

Clinical depression is most certainly a disease.  A very complicated disease with more aspects than those involved with normal physiological diseases (heart disease, etc).  Most depression cases have a biological aspect (chemical imbalances just to name one).  To state that one simply needs more "joy and love" to cure depression is idiotic.  Do those things help get one out of depression?  Sure.  But so much more is needed for most to find their way out.  Some need medications, some need psychotherapy, some need a change in lifestyle (food, habits, etc).  

Is suicide selfish?  I go back an forth on this.  In the purest sense, yes - from an outside perspective.  It's a mentally disturbed person's way of ending their pain.  They are transferring a portion of that pain on to those that love them.  But then we have to look at it from their perspective.  As a mentally healthy person, that is not possible, so I understand how others could see it simply through their healthy eyes.  Could the ill person be thinking about their perception - the perception that they are causing those around them so much pain with their sickness.  Many people aren't very supportive of those that are depressed.  I'm not saying loved ones are being mean to those they are close to.  I'm saying that even the well intentioned people tend to distance themselves from it.  Those that are depressed see this.  And that's just one of so many aspects the ill person may consider.  To the person who is finally at the point of suicide, they are often thinking they are doing others a favor.  Selfishness is in the intention, not the perception, so in the end it is not a selfish act, it is a misguided one.  One that does hurt those who loved them more than they will ever know in their diseased thoughts.

Finally, the viewpoint that those with depression should just suck it up.  Just look at life through a rose colored lens.  If it isn't already abundantly clear, clinical depression is not something you can just "snap out of".  It's very unlikely a person can even slowly turn themselves around with no help and support.  Even with the best help and support, sometimes some (hopefully few) people are beyond help.  Depression is a disease.  It does have many stages and severities, much like cancer - even more so.  To keep the most severely afflicted from committing suicide, institutionalization may be the only option, at least for our current level of understanding. These are extreme and rare cases, but they do exist.  Most who commit suicide are not in the extreme.  Most are somewhere else along the spectrum.  They themselves and those around them just don't recognize the severity of where they are until it's too late.

Most of all - yes, they are a victim.  They lost their life.  It is not their fault.  It's nobody's fault.  Their loved ones are victims as well.  Nobody wins.  We can all just continue to strive to understand the human physiology and psyche; to try to fix what is broken, to try and prevent it from happening again.