To anyone with internet access and a functioning computer, it would be obvious that depression is on everyone’s minds. From losing a childhood icon to dealing with depression and suicide in our most personal circles, it’s something that has the ability affect everyone in ways never expected. The scary thing about mental illness is its ability to manifest itself differently in every person. Each disease has its own symptoms and treatments, but with the millions of people and hundreds of combinations, mental illness can be almost as unique as a fingerprint. Add in to that the reactions and feelings of family members and friends, and you have a boiling pot of emotions that could explode at any minute.
So why don’t we all stop being dicks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled up a comment section on a timely news article and seen someone suggest a person who disagrees with them on depression, suicide, and mental health kill themselves. It’s almost dripping with irony. Stop it. Just stop it. You’re not helping. You’re never going to change someone’s mind in the comment section of a blog or a news site or on Facebook. So why not clean up your karma a bit and stop being a big bag of dicks. If we want to begin to understand and properly treat mental illness, we can’t allow this to continue. Fellow commenters, I ask you not to take the bait. Don’t respond to those who are being outright cruel. Try instead to be supportive of those who may have been hurt. Fellow moderators, I ask you to pay attention. Delete and block the trolls- those who may be doing more harm than good. If you don’t agree with someone, spend a minute to put yourself in their shoes. If they don’t agree with you- fine. But that doesn’t give ANYONE the right to be an ass. Shut down the comment sections if necessary. Free speech is there to protect us from the government. It doesn’t give anyone the right to be cruel to another human being, especially on the sensitive subject of depression and suicide. The world expects and deserves better than that. (Cracked has a really awesome post about funny people, depression, and how they handle dangerous comments. That staff is full of good people.)
If we want to make a real difference in the field of mental health, we have to change the discussion. We have to show compassion for those who need help. Begin to demand change. Not on Facebook. Not for a couple of weeks because it’s trendy. If we want real permanent change, we need to do something that matters. Learn about mental illness. Volunteer for nonprofits the target the disease, raise money, contact your congressman to let them know that this is an issue we care about as a country. One voice won’t win this battle. We need to work together. Suffers, survivors, friends, family. We need to band together and demand change in this system. No one should ever be denied treatment or help when they need it. No one should feel alone or like they can’t get help. Please. Stand up. Fight back. Even if it’s just to hug you loved ones; to reach out to someone in your life who is struggling. Everyone with depression, anxiety, or anything on the spectrum of mental illness is fighting demons. And as Sam and Dean has taught us, it’s easier to defeat demons together than alone.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Face to face or over the computer, everyone has feelings, and experiences with life and death that have shaped them. Don’t assume to know their lives or experiences. Don’t be a jerk. And about all, radiate love in your every day life. Make the Genie proud. He’s watching.
If you are not struggling, please remember to be kind. Show love. You never know when a simple act of kindness will save a life
If you need help, please reach out. Talk to a friend or a family member. If you’re uncomfortable talking to someone you know, call the National Suicide Hotline- 1-800-273-8255. Your call is free, confidential, and will be answered by a trained counselor at a local crisis center.
Remember, you are loved. You are important. You are fantastic. (The Doctor says so.)