In the recent news, depression and suicide have become hot topics on social media once again. In the wake of the recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain, world-renowned food expert and connoisseur as well as Kate Spade, legendary fashion designer, more people have taken an interest in the issue. However, while with goo intentions, this popular trend leads to several disastrous consequences that makes it more difficult for those suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts from getting help and often obscures the issue even further. One of the most quintessential examples of this lies in the oversimplification of depression as well as the assumption that everyone's depression is the same and can be treated similarly. Depression in its truest essence is crippling, debilitating and crushing and after years of research, it seems the issue has somehow become more confusing over time.
One of the most obvious responses to any celebrity suicide is to frequently share the suicide prevention hotline. As if by sharing the hotline, those concerned by the deaths of celebrities and the possible struggles their peers are going through are able to deflect any sort of moral responsibility by writing it off as their obligation to their friends as well as showing publicly that they "care." This is an example of good intentions plagued by poor oversight and shoddy understanding. Depression, as said before is crippling. Those suffering from depression and suicide know hotlines exist, however the problem lies in the way depression silences its victims. Depression robs its victims of voice, it cuts their arms to prevent them from reaching out, sews their mouths shut to keep them from speaking out and forces them to think that they are weak, so weak that they don't deserve help and that the better idea would be to die and remove themselves from the world. The issue is not a lack of care, but rather a lack of ability to express themselves. Those suffering from depression and suicide want to be saved, however like a drowning captive with a two-ton weight tied to their ankle, they are incapable of saving themselves or reaching out for help.
The idea that victims of depression and suicide are weak is one that has been falsely perpetuated and one that also debilitates and cripples. Victims of depression and suicide are some of the strongest people in existence. They are capable of facing incredibly difficult odds and still walk and grind through the mire to live each and everyday. The problem is that with every passing day, their energy grows weaker, their bodies grow more tired and they become so saddled by their own responsibilities that the idea of giving up becomes all too real and possible. In today's day and era its hard to find someone that does not fall into this category. The economy is becoming much harsher, there are significantly more social pressures than ever before and the new rising generation, the millennial generation is one of the most depressed generations in history. This is not to say that everyone does not have unique struggles, however it is to say that there are some whose mechanisms for dealing with struggle are crippled. If you have gone through hardships and came out of it positively, that is respectable, however not everyone is capable of doing so. This is the overarching problem with depression and the solution is not to simply share the suicide hotline on one's profile or state publicly that their friends should reach out to them. The solution lies in intervention. If you see a friend or a loved one disappear from the public sphere or act differently when you're around them, reach out. Asking one question could mean all the difference. As someone who has gone through depression for several years, its difficult seeing friends act as if they care only to fall back on empty promises. However, this is because there exists a lack of understanding about depression and its various forms. It is our responsibility to be better than the generations of the past and to be better for each other.