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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.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconailorn:
Ailorn Featured By Owner Edited Oct 14, 2014

I work in the mental health field and stigma is one of the hardest things that gets in people's way to get well. Either they cant get beyond the diagnosis because they worry people will think they're crazy, or their family don’t understand or accept that this is an illness. One of the things everyone can do to help is to contact your local NAMI. National Association for Mentally Ill was originally created by family members of someone with mental illness. They offer education about the various illnesses, support groups for both people with illness and their family members. They also have events to help boost awareness. If you're struggling or even just want to support people struggling please get in touch with your local NAMI.
www.nami.org/template.cfm?sect…

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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014   Digital Artist
Perfect. Thank you!!
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:iconprojectilewordvomit:
projectilewordvomit Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014  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. vimeo.com/41291806  
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014   Digital Artist
Thank you so much for sharing that, and I'm so sorry to hear of your pain. :heart:
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:iconprojectilewordvomit:
projectilewordvomit Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  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.
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:iconthe-fabulous-ferengi:
Oh one more thing, in my house no one uses the word "crazy."  
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:iconthe-fabulous-ferengi:
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. 
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2014   Digital Artist
:clap: Brilliant insights. Thank you for sharing.
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:iconsunsetthedragon:
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!
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:iconfivelmousekewitz:
fivelmousekewitz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014
Those emo kids who make depression and suicide as hip and trendy as Starbucks should be kicked between the legs. You assholes fuck it up for the rest of us who actually do suffer from depression and have suicide ideations. You cry wolf, goddamn it! :iconrageplz:
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:iconsunsetthedragon:
SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. This is exactly what has been bothering me so much lately. I'll never understand why people romanticize mental illnesses.
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:iconfivelmousekewitz:
fivelmousekewitz Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014
fucking attention whores who think depression is the shit retardedblueX( 
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:iconsunsetthedragon:
SunsetTheDragon Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lmfao, I don't wish depression upon anybody but I really hope they'll learn one day
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:iconfivelmousekewitz:
fivelmousekewitz Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014
Yeah they have to realize what they do
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:iconaeirmid:
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!
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:iconsunsetthedragon:
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.
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:iconleightonrb:
LeightonRB Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   Digital 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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:iconaeirmid:
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:
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:iconlunaius:
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. 
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:icondazza1008:
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.
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
I think you just may be right.
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:iconwarped-dragonfly:
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).
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:iconaeirmid:
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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:iconwarped-dragonfly:
Warped-Dragonfly Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Student General Artist
I never thought of it that way, but thank you UwU
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:iconquee-n:
quee-n Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist


Epilepsy is one of the least understood neurological disorders. Invisible Illnesses (epilepsy, depression, adhd, anxiety etc etc) are often looked down upon by society. My father, an epilepsy sufferer, has a valid disabled bus pass, however he feels uncomfortable using it as he once did and got a glare from the bus driver, who voiced his opinion on 'alcoholics not being allowed bus passes.'
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
OMG! That's horrid! I'm sorry to hear he went through that.
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:iconquee-n:
quee-n Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah I agree. I'm glad you support this though, keep up the good work ! ~
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:iconkatleidoscopic:
katleidoscopic Featured By Owner Edited Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I hate how people ignore/romanticize mental disorders so much

Depression isn't just feeling sad
Bipolar disorder isn't just moodswings
Anorexia isn't just not eating
Bulimia isn't just throwing up
Binge eating disorder isn't just overeating 
Anxiety disorder isn't just being shy
Self harm isn't just giving yourself a few cuts after "he broke up with me again"
OCD isn't just being careful about a certain task
PTSD isn't just bad memories
ADHD isn't just being hyper

and you can't "just get over it."
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
agreed.
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:iconbutterscotsh:
Butterscotsh Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a slight case of autism wich is referred to as a mental disorder, but i just call it social awkwardness. Screw doctors and their autism-labeling! It's so commonly used as an excuse for bad behaviour! I am normal! Just socially awkward!

and that's my opinion on my autism. I don't care about it and i don't want anyone to treat me differently because of it. When i heard the "bad news" i didn't care. I've already lived with it for years anyway.
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
:hug: :heart:
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:iconbutterscotsh:
Butterscotsh Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I suppose you agree with my opinion?
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014   Digital Artist
absolutely.
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:iconbutterscotsh:
Butterscotsh Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! I'm accepted in social normality!
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:iconlenka-k:
Lenka-K Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Some people don't realise depression is a mental disorder. And because its not a virus people don't understand that it can kill. However, in a way depression is like a virus. It feel like it spreads through your brain and fills you with suicidal thoughts, an almost constant feeling of hopelessness. If I were to tell some of the people in my school that I had depression (I don't, but if I did) they would say "Oh, cheer up. Its not like you have cancer or anything". Also this generation call people with mental disorders " idiots" and think they are incapable of doing the simplest things (in my school anyway).
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:icondestinymace:
DestinyMace Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014
I just watched One Hour Photo... CREEPY
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:iconcocoaberi:
cocoaberi Featured By Owner Edited Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a great post on making people aware of mental illness!!  In reading other's replys it seem many have a first hand insight into this situation.  Clinical depression is not something many people can just shake off.
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:icontangerineandpuce:
Tangerineandpuce Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
One thing I really have a problem with is how many people don't consider depression to be a real problem. I've heard from many people, even my own family members, that depression is no big deal, or things like "he was famous; what did he have to feel bad about?" or "you're a privileged American, so stop feeling sorry for yourself".

Having gone through several periods of depression myself, I know that saying these things can just make the issue worse. It makes a depressed person feel like nobody cares or their problem is entirely their fault, when all they may need is just someone who really cares to reach out to them.
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:iconaeirmid:
Aeirmid Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014   Digital Artist
I agree. Thanks for sharing. :heart:
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:icontangerineandpuce:
Tangerineandpuce Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome, and thank you for writing this journal and opening up this discussion.
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:iconsketchykreeture:
SketchyKreeture Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist
Yeah, their partents can do that sometimes very unaware about how bad your depression is.
AHEM mine too AHEM
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:iconcloud-seroku:
Cloud-Seroku Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
I have depression, but.all.my grandmother says is

"Everyone has depression, it's not that bad"
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:iconlenka-k:
Lenka-K Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Well, no offence to her, but she's wrong. There's a difference between feeling depressed ad having depression.
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:iconcloud-seroku:
Cloud-Seroku Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
My words
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:iconstalagmitestar:
Stalagmitestar Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heart I agree
Reply
:iconmaritaina:
Maritaina Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
It's still hard to talk about this..

The last few years have been tough and at some point I just couldn't handle it. I didn't get out of my room, I stayed in bed all day and I lost a lot of friends because I couldn't explain what I was going through.
My best friend lives in another country, but she's a therapist, so instead of being able to be there herself, she advised me to seek help. So I did. And it helped. A lot. But financially I couldn't keep up with it. I'm still a student, so I'm depending on my parents' money. Even though I told my mother what I was feeling, she apparently didn't think I needed help, although I've had depressed thoughts when I was younger which she already knows about.
Because of that, I couldn't get any professional help anymore, but because of the sessions I'd had, I opened up to a few people, some with more or less the same experiences as I did, and who were willing to help me get through it. It took me a year to get back on my feet. Or at least get well enough so people didn't look at me in a weird way anymore.
But now, a few days ago, something else happened and it feels like I'm back where I started. The worst thing is that the people I thought understood it, don't understand it anymore. In some way they don't get that depression (or any mental illness for that matter) is, at least in my opinion, something that sticks with you. It is never just over.

I think the thing that makes me sad the most is this: as soon as I felt better, I thought I had to tell my story, so people knew that feeling sad or depressed isn't something you should be ashamed of. Everybody has to go through rough times and some people just can't handle it by themselves. But then a friend of mine told me that I shouldn't tell people about it, 'cause it makes me look weak.
Reply
:icondothedinosaur24:
DoTheDinosaur24 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You just explained it in the best way(people don't understand$
Reply
:iconmaritaina:
Maritaina Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
As long as we know we're not alone, we'll get through this=)
Reply
:icondothedinosaur24:
DoTheDinosaur24 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you:)
Reply
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