Monday, December 10, 2012

Thoughts on depression and suicide

I think by now we have all heard about the prank pulled by the two radio DJs in Australia. If you have been living under a rock, the gist is that these two DJs called the hospital where Duchess Kate was staying due to having hyperemesis gravidarum. They didn't think they would get through and lo and behold, they did.

The nurse who initially answered the call and patched them through to the floor Kate Middleton was on allegedly committed suicide just days after the prank. It has not yet been ruled a suicide, but it looks very likely that is what occurred.

I have read so many comments on this story it's insane. I have seen people say everything from, the DJs should be held accountable to people saying horrid things about the nurse committing suicide.

First, let me say, I don't believe the DJs should be held accountable for this woman's suicide. From what was said on the air prior to and after the prank call, both DJs truly thought it was just a bit of fun and didn't think they would get through so easily; both sounded very shocked they were actually put through and then even more shocked when they were given private information. Personally, I think the hospital needs to rethink how they handle calls when a high profile person is admitted there. One would think they would have had a special question or at the very least a code word for these situations.

I feel terrible for the nurse who felt it necessary to take her life. I find it absolutely abhorrent that so many people feel the need to say terrible things about her. Yes, I agree with many of these people in that it is a very small thing in the grand scheme of life and really makes little sense to end your life over.  However, I would venture to guess this wasn't the only thing she took her life over. I have to assume she had other things going on, underlying depression and perhaps outside pressures. This incident would have been likely the straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. The articles state she was from India. It's also quite possible she felt immense shame for her mistake due to cultural influences. I can't be sure of course, as I am not her nor am I part of her family, though, I do know that in parts of India it's considered very bad to shame oneself or ones family. The other thing to consider here is that maybe she did not intend to kill herself and instead took one too many meds and overdoses accidentally. We may have a better idea when the autopsy comes back but we also may never really know.

I am unsure if it is because of increasing use of social media, my age or if people really have become more judgmental and cold, but I have noticed that people seem to seriously lack compassion or any degree of empathy. I understand that to those left behind, suicide appears to be a very selfish thing, however, I am not of the belief that it is always truly selfish or all that cut and dry. Yes, there are people who choose to die to avoid debts which are then transferred onto their family, others do it to hurt someone specific in their life and others still do it after committing a crime as a final "fuck you" to their victims and law enforcement. Those examples are definitely selfish in nature.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Absolutely it is... in most cases. Inside the mind of someone so severely depressed and suicidal they think it is the only solution, unfortunately. They believe the pain they are going through in this life will never end. They believe they are doing their loved ones a favor by relieving them of the burden of themselves. You can argue that it is still selfish because they are only thinking of themselves.  You can argue that they should have asked for help. Unless you have been there yourself, you can't understand the warped thinking. I will repeat what I have said, they think their loved ones are better off without them. They truly view themselves as burden.

Asking for help is easier said than. As has been demonstrated in the numerous comments on the article about the nurse, people don't tend to have anything nice to say about suicide or even depression. Reaching out for help when people will just tell you to snap out of it, stop it, get a hobby, or force a smile doesn't feel like a viable option. Why would anyone reach out when they feel like no one will even try to understand and instead, will just pass down judgment?

What about seeing a professional? Well, again there is that stigma. Friends and family making jokes and heartless statements about them seeing a "shrink" and yet again telling them to just get over it. On top of that, not all of us have the insurance to cover mental health visits. Some insurances will only cover something like 6 visits in a year. Out of pocket expenses to see anyone in the mental health field are astronomical. As you can see, it's not always so easy as just going to get help. Even then, help doesn't always help.

It's amazing to me that I see mothers and fathers speaking out about the harmful effects of bullying on our children, yet they turn around and scoff at the person suffering from depression. They quickly type out nasty words against someone who has taken their own life, not thinking about the fact the family or even another family who lost someone the same way may see it.

Death is something that none of us can truly comprehend. It's the one thing we will all have to face, yet it is alien, it is scary and something most of us would like to pretend doesn't happen. The fact remains, it does happen... to everyone. The very idea of forcing our own death is even more inconceivable. Why jump ahead to that awful, awful thing? Just because you wouldn't do it and have never felt so low to even consider it, doesn't mean those who have considered it, attempted it or succeeded are deserving of your cruel judgment.

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