I, as well as much of the rest of the world, was shocked to hear of Robin Williams death by suicide. The man who many remember coming onto the scene with comedic genius on Mork and Mindi, the endearing role of Mrs. Doubtfire, and the compelling award winning performance, my favorite, of therapist Sean Maguire challenged to work with street-kid, math genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon) in Good Will Hunting, is dead.
After such a tragedy, many ask the question, “how could such a thing happen?” In Robin Williams’ case, extraordinary humor hid deep emotional pain/depression with resultant substance abuse, and, ultimately, death. His humor, presented in a style that appeared like ADHD, would belie what was going on beneath the surface. In the general population, many have found their own version of “cover,” that masks the emotion of depressive hopelessness.
Cognitive distortions, also known as lies in the belief system, can lead to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
That Mr. Williams was not able to overcome and conquer his demons is representative of the power of depression, and demonstrative of the continuing need for prioritizing research and effective treatment into this emotional disorder. Thus, the answer to this question continues a confounding one.
The deaths of celebrities capture the headlines, while, “regular” people struggle with the same emotions and symptoms that accompany depression. Depression is a medical condition that is combination chemistry, life events and circumstances, temperament and personality. Pharmaceutical companies continue to research and develop products to address depression, as well as other mood disorders. A treatment approach that may combine medication, individual and group psychotherapy, nutrition, and exercise promote an “anti-depressive” lifestyle strategy to more effectively manage the depressive phenomena more effectively. Faith based approaches that include clergy/chaplains and church community also provide needed support for depressed individuals.
We have heard phrases like, “depression is a permanent solution to a, temporary problem.” I might adjust the latter part of that phrase to “…current state of (depressed)being,” to which we want the person to experience a “different (improved) state of being.” It has also been said that isolation is the enemy of the depressed individual, allowing the person to be alone in their depressed thoughts and hopeless perspective.
A key to the prevention of a suicidal occurrence is for the individual to develop their network, and safety net, of friends and resources.
Trained staff at Rosario Counseling & Associates are available, and willing to help navigate through mood disorders like depression, and others. Please continue to visit our website for helpful tips for healthiness.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, please call 911 or visit your local hospital and ask for the psychiatrist on call. If you are in the Raleigh-Durham North Carolina area, please call Holly Hill Respond Line at 919-250-7000.
~Author: Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC with permission to post on Rosario Counseling & Associates
Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Rosario Counseling & Associates. He has practiced in a variety of behavioral health settings in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 1981, including innovative approaches to substance abuse and chronic pain management, crisis intervention, as well as working with relationship issues with couples and families. Areas of interest, and expertise include: mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse education/screening/outpatient follow-up, ADD/ADHD, relationship counseling. He also deals with co-therapy, stress/pain management including biofeedback modality, life transition issues especially with college students, adolescent counseling.
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