Robin Williams and Depression
Millions are mourning the loss of one of the most beloved actors and comedians in our lifetimes.
Robin Williams died of an apparent suicide at the age of 63 as a result of a prolonged battle with deep depression. He had an Academy Award, wealth, fame, millions of dollars and a family. So, why was he depressed? Why couldn’t he just get over it?
Things are far more complicated than many realize. Depression is very real and we cannot Biblically say that it is a lack of faith in every case because there are more factors than we can know.
The English language fails us because we lump everything under one word. Therefore, we dismiss the entire lot without a thought. What a tragedy.
God is great and faith in Him is essential to salvation and it sustains us like nothing else (Hebrews 11:6). But is cancer or diabetes a result of a lack of faith?
We can live perfectly healthy and still get a disease. Real depression is the same way-it is outside of our grasp and control. When something goes wrong with our brain, it is no different than having problems with our feet or heart.
Brethren, compassion begins with knowledge.
I wanted to share this quote from an article in a British newspaper. It can stand on its own without further explanation. We cannot help people if we cannot accept that they need help.
“Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy or acknowledgement as physical illness is often referenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.”
A friend’s doctor told him concerning his bipolar disorder, “You can no more will away a brain chemical imbalance than you can will away high blood pressure.”
“Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults —suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for ages 15-44.”