So, let me start by saying that I did my Robin Williams’ post and that was going to be it. More eloquent people than myself have said all there needed to be said about suicide and depression, so I said my thing and I was done. Well, until I got 23 texts yesterday with a link to some shit Matt Walsh wrote (I’m not linking to his blog, because fuck him). I literally knew nothing about this dude until yesterday, but a cursory click through of his blog, and you quickly find out he’s a pro-life, pro-war “Christian”, so obviously he believes he’s morally superior than you. He also looks like an AV Club nerd. Anyway, he made some points. I’ll make mine. *cracks knuckles*
I’m not normally one to write a blog post about a dead celebrity, but then I suppose there is no such thing. There are only living celebrities, not dead ones. In death, wealth and prestige decay and we are brought into a new reality, the only reality there is or ever was — one which, for much better or much worse, doesn’t care at all about our popularity or our money. The death of Robin Williams is significant not because he was famous, but because he was human, and not just because he left this world, but particularly because he apparently chose to leave it. Suicide….It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that. Your suicide doesn’t happen to you; it doesn’t attack you like cancer or descend upon you like a tornado. It is a decision made by an individual. A bad decision. Always a bad decision. And that’s why I felt compelled to say something here. There are important truths we can take from the suicide of a rich and powerful man, yet I’m worried that we are too afraid to tackle the subject, or too blind to tackle it with any depth, so we only perpetuate the problem. But worse than the glossing over of suicide is the fact that we seem to approach it with an attitude that nearly resembles admiration.
While it’s admirable that Matt Walsh checked his traffic stats and decided it was probably a good time to jump into the suicide debate with a trending SEO topic, but after looking through his blog, you know what I didn’t see? His thoughts on the suicides committed by soldiers every single day. Soldiers who fight so we can argue on the Internet, then come home to find a government that has abandoned them after their purpose has been served. I thought God blessed our troops and everybody was praying for them? If so, why are they killing themselves? Just because you can’t see a disease, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You know, like your belief in God.
We are so trained to ignore differing perspectives that the minute a person opens his mouth with a view diverging from our own, we block out his words and fill in the blanks with some caricature we concocted in our heads. I can understand atheists who insist that depression must only be a disease of the brain, as they believe that our entire being is contained by, and comprised of, our physical bodies. But I don’t understand how theists, who acknowledge the existence of the soul, think they can draw some clear line of distinction between the body and the soul, and declare unequivocally that depression is rooted in one but not the other. This is a radically materialist view now shared by millions of spiritualist people. A very troubling trend.
Here, Matt Walsh is basically saying “I’m entitled to my opinion you must respect it!”. No, nobody is entitled to their opinion, they are entitled to believe what they can prove. If Matt wants to tell be Wendy’s fries are better than McDonald’s fries, hey, go for it. That’s an opinion. But if we wants me to respect his opinion that depression isn’t a disease of the brain, despite millions of pages that say otherwise, then he’s a fucking moron. Also, he once again inserts God into the equation, saying the body and soul are one in the same. I don’t have enough time to get into biology and physiology here, but for the sake of argument, let’s say the soul actually exists and religion and a belief in a deity precludes you from taking your own life. Catholic priests and suicide bombers would like to have a word. Also, he seems to not understand the fact that he’s basing his beliefs on a dude who committed suicide because of voices in his head 2,014 years ago (or whenever Jesus died).
First, suicide does not claim anyone against their will. No matter how depressed you are, you never have to make that choice. That choice. Whether you call depression a disease or not, please don’t make the mistake of saying that someone who commits suicide “died from depression.” No, he died from his choice. He died by his own hand. Depression will not appear on the autopsy report, because it can’t kill you on its own. It needs you to pull the trigger, take the pills, or hang the rope. To act like death by suicide is exactly analogous to death by malaria or heart failure is to steal hope from the suicidal person. We think we are comforting him, but in fact we are convincing him that he is powerless. We are giving him a way out, an excuse. Sometimes that’s all he needs — the last straw.
You know why suicide doesn’t claim anyone against their will? Because people who commit suicide have no fucking will left. It’s all used up. It’s gone. That shit is on empty. A person who commits suicide no longer has the will to fight, they no longer have the strength to take one more step in this dark, fucked up world (that’s supposedly all part of “God’s plan) because chemicals in their brain are telling them they are worthless and unworthy of love, and worse, unworthy of existing at all. This post isn’t even about Robin Williams or Matt Walsh anymore. It’s about you. You who are reading this right now and feel like the sun will never come up on your darkness. It might, it might not. That doesn’t mean you don’t owe it to yourself and those who love you to find out. You are loved, your life has meaning, and you are never alone. Come talk to me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and ignore this. I can’t spell, but we all have our demons.