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August 11
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It's time to raise our voices

Mon Aug 11, 2014, 4:58 PM
Robin Williams tribute by Yuuza
Check out this brilliant tribute to Robin Williams, painted by Yuuza!!

On the lethality of mental illness

We were saddened deeply today to hear that Robin Williams appears to have taken his own life. He was a brilliant, creative mind and a voice for humanity.

I've seen a lot of tributes to him over the past hour or so. Many people have posted clips of his work, quotes, and favorite memories. That's great; it's how we honor someone. But, somehow I feel like we're missing the point.

The point is . . . it's not fucking funny.

EDIT: I am not saying that people are making fun of Robin Williams' death. I am saying that some (not all) people are ignoring the cause of it.

Reports have it that Mr. Williams suffered from depression and possible drug/alcohol abuse. I've also read that he had bipolar disorder. Regardless, what plagued him was lethal, and it plagues so many other human beings across the world.

So, mental illness has claimed another victim. One more powerful voice has been silenced. Can we raise our own in its stead?

Why must we be silent?

It's time our community had an open talk about mental illness and about the pressures that people who live with it face on an everyday basis.

For far too long, mental illness has been the one condition that it is still politically correct to make fun of, the one set of diseases for which it is okay to discriminate against a sufferer.

It's time to raise our voices to raise awareness of mental illness and to help people to understand what it is-- and what it isn't. It is up to us; there is no one else who can do this for us. Together we speak loudly, and we absolutely can make a difference.

Let the conversation begin.

Discussion questions

  • Have you lost someone to mental illness? What legacy remains with you from this devastating loss?
  • Where can we start to raise awareness of mental illness? We are not too small, but we have to start somewhere.
  • What questions do you have about mental illness? What remains unanswered?
  • What stereotypes have you heard about people who have mental illness?
  • How can we break the taboo?
  • How can we break the silence?

Feel free to share your thoughts below, or, if you would rather share your thoughts privately, feel free to note the group (mental-health). We cannot offer psychological help, but we can offer education and understanding. Peace to all of you.

It's time to raise our voices about the devastating impact of mental illness on our world.
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SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I get really angry whenever people suffering from mental illnesses are made fun of, and what makes me especially angry are people who think it's trendy and cute. Mental illnesses are not a joke. I absolutely can't stand it when people get angry with others for being depressed or anxious, yell at them, pick on them, call it 'the mood' etc., thanks for making them feel more useless.

I have a friend who suffers from bipolar depression and I've been doing my best to be there as much as I can for them, listening to them, giving them room to recover, being as positive and optimistic, etc. You don't even have to ask them what's wrong, just asking them if they want to talk is okay and talking about a completely unrelated subject to get rid of the burden on their shoulders is ok, just being there for them is enough. Listen to what they have to say, offer your help, help them solving the problem. Don't get pushy and forcing, don't yell at them, don't make fun of them, don't call it 'the mood' etc., you're just guaranteed to break them down and make them despise you. Try to make every little thing they've done today an achievement, such as getting out of bed. Getting out of bed and just staying awake is a hassle for a lot of people, tell them they've done well and that every little achievement like this will get bigger and bigger. Tell them to think positively and that it's important in the fight against the illness!
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   Digital Artist
this is a very good point. It can be difficult to "think positive" when you're that down, but maybe having our support can make a difference. Thank you for posting!
SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome!

It's important to give people who suffer from mental illness space, don't force them to do something to get better before a set date, just give them time, I can't stress enough how important it is.
trickbit Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Student General Artist
I'm going to miss Robin... 

Mental illness has been a huge part of my life. My uncle killed himself when he was 15, my biological mom was just crazy for a number of years, to the point of live-in hospitalization and restraining orders if I remember correctly. 
Most of my friends have been suicidal or hospitalized, I've been hospitalized and have planned/attempted to end my life.

I also suffer from schizoaffective disorder, which is (in laymans terms) a combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder/bipolar. I also had an anxiety disorder. 

I feel like people work to raise awareness for things like depression and eating disorders a lot more than the 'crazy' ones such as DID and psychotic disorders, and I feel those face the worst stigmatization due to portrayal in movies and the media.

When I was at the height of my psychosis I kept the worst of it secret from everyone, I was already diagnosed and on medication but I was still so paranoid as to what people thought of me that I only spoke to my doctors about the extent of my hallucinations and delusions. My parents still don't understand or believe I have it because I was very good at pretending. 
My main hallucinations consisted of very large bugs or thousands of maggots and knats were always in my face and crawling on things, it went hand in hand with my anxiety. I just ignored everything I saw when I was around other people, and tried to function as a normal human 'should'. 

I remember once though, at the beginning of the school year (my senior year) I spoke to one of my favorite teachers about it because I was having multiple panic attacks a day and often needed to leave the room (usually I just told the teachers I had an anxiety disorder but I went ahead and told him everything).
He was the science teacher and I figured he was educated on things like this. Instead the only reaction I got was a sort of nervous laugh and a "What, did you stab someone?". And like everyone else who knew he proceeded to treat me as if I was crazy. Which I was I guess, but I was aware of the treatment and it only enforced the idea that I was 'broken'. Granted I should have been in hospital at this point, but like I said I was good at pretending when other people were around.

Having people react with fear is an understandable, but hurtful and preventable reaction. A little awareness can go a long way in helping someones mental health.

I just want people to be more educated, schizophrenics rarely attack or hurt other people compared to the normal population, we're a danger to ourselves most and are often terrified of everyone else. 

Awareness is key. 
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   Digital Artist
thank you so much for sharing this. And you're right about non-violence. Much love to you! :hug:
Lunaius Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014
I think it's that a lot of mental illnesses are passed off as just regular emotions. Anxiety/Depression is what I find people dumb down the most. I was told for years that I was just shy and that I'd eventually get my confidence. It never happened. Turns out I had Anxiety. And even now, my parents still don't really think of it as me having a mental illness. They still think I'm just shy. I think people just need to be aware that people can have a mental illness and it can show itself in a way that can appear similar to regular emotional lapses. The problem is that a lot of times people will never think anything's wrong until it's too late/serious. Like, it's never "bad enough" for it to be a real problem to them. 
dazza1008 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014
In my experience, it's having to keep a tight lid on our emotions that brings us to breaking point. It is extremely sad that Robin Williams has died - I can't imagine another actor that has the same impact from his death as Robin - but I can see one good side effect, that people are talking about it.

I had a relative who committed suicide. He'd been picked on by his ex-wife, but his kids loved him. They changed after that. I imagine those left behind are thinking "If only I'd..." Of course, they can't be blamed - it takes two to tango - but it's the feeling of guilt.

I truly think that those who commit suicide don't realise how valued they are.
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
I think you just may be right.
Warped-Dragonfly Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Student General Artist
I have Asperger's Syndrome (I was diagnosed when I was 9, but I live a relatively normal life), PTSD (it happened when a man with dark clothes ran into my car and I couldn't stop in time), and depression. Neither of those are very fun, especially with the stigma behind them. My parents don't get why I can't look into people's eyes, socialize normally, etc. and don't buy that I have depression, and just say to go to my happy place when I get flashbacks or a nightmare. I wish it was that easy. And the jokes surrounding these illnesses get old quickly too (like "Ass Burgers"- that's my berserk button).
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
:love: How strong you are to keep plugging forward through all of this!
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