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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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projectilewordvomit Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Lost my father to suicide a year ago. It's been an uphill battle since. Depression and struggling don't necessarily end after the sufferer passes- in many instances, their pain transfers in different ways to loved ones. Trying to reconcile feelings of sadness, loss, guilt, shame, confusion, the never ending "why", the constant self-blame, the stigma, the "what ifs" is going to be a lifelong process. 

This is "left Behind" a video by Kerry Payne that I highly recommend to others who have experienced this.  
Aeirmid Featured By Owner 4 days ago   Digital Artist
Thank you so much for sharing that, and I'm so sorry to hear of your pain. :heart:
projectilewordvomit Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
<3 No worries-- I'm glad someone brought up the opportunity to ask those who have experienced this how they have been affected. It's a good step.
Gay-And-Geeky Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh one more thing, in my house no one uses the word "crazy."  
Gay-And-Geeky Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I am making my way through life fighting the monster every chance I get. I see a therapist weekly. I see my psychiatrist monthly.  

A few years ago my depression almost murdered me. I wasn't getting any better. I was falling apart at the seams. The monster was killing me. I went to therapy often. I tried med changes, nothing worked. Then I had ECT and my life was changed for the best. I finally won a few battles against the monster named depression. 

So my life this year hasn't been great. I had three spine surgeries. I had a Mom I had to kick out of my life, because, her idea of getting better was that I stop taking my psych meds. She would tell me, normal don't take meds and can live productive lives. I already have on many occasions have tried shutting down her stigma talk. My Mom actually believes that if I pray more or read the Bible that my depression will go away. So I finally told her off and kicked out of my life. 

I have fought on so many occasions to win my life back from her perspectives. I am going to win. I am going to be better. I may even get to be happy on occasion.  There is no crime or sin in having mental illness. It should be treated no differently than heart disease, diabetes or a damaged spine. Mental illness is a monster. If you treat it, if you ask for help, you might get to enjoy the great moments of life. 
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014   Digital Artist
:clap: Brilliant insights. Thank you for sharing.
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. 
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