Depression and Suicide: The Devil in a Black Dress
By Tracey Ricks Foster
Published August 13, 2014
Upon hearing about the apparent suicide of Oscar winning actor and comedian Robin Williams, once again my mind drifted to all those I have known who have decided that life is just not worth the struggle. It became too painful to wake up every morning to heartache and overwhelming stress. The anxiety and feelings of loneliness is all encompassing. Unbearable, in fact. The sun is nothing more than a massive dark circle that follows you around day in and day out. Depression is the Devil in a black dress. Millions of Americans suffer from some type of mental illness and depression is at the top of the list. Depression does not care about your bank account, your celebrity and marital status, familial ties, dreams and goals. Not a damn thing. Depression does not discriminate. Depression loves no one. Depression is the Devil in a black dress. For real.
When we hear of celebrities committing suicide, many of us are shocked for the wrong reasons. We immediately think, “What in the world did they have to be depressed about? They had everything in the world to make them happy. Why would they then simply end it all under the pretense of being unhappy?” Wealth, power, and fame does not bring long term happiness. Anyone who believes differently is delusional. Depression is an equal opportunity disorder. You can have everything you could possibly desire in the palm of your hands, but your mind will play a cruel and sad trick on you and make you believe that your life is hopeless and full of despair. That is the face of depression. There are others who experience depression in a different manner. They could have had the essential things that made life worthwhile. A career or secure employment. A family. A successful marriage. The loss of one or more of those elements could plunge them into a deep depression. Depression is real. Depression is the Devil in a black dress.
Children and teenagers suffer from bouts of clinical depression. Studies show that the onset of bipolar disorder or manic depression is the age of thirteen. This is the age where hormones are all over the place in adolescence and it is difficult to navigate the many feelings, periods of stress, loneliness, and anxiety during this transition from childhood to young adulthood. Statistics report that over 5,000 teens commit suicide each year. Thousands attempt suicide. I was one of them. The complete suicide statistics are that over 30,000 people take their own lives each year. 750,000 more attempt suicide. So, if you were to seriously break it down, on August 11, 2014, Robin Williams was not the only person in America who committed suicide on that day. Because of his fame, Robin’s tragic end put a recognizable face on depression and suicide. But there were other suicides on that day as well. Depression is the Devil in a black dress.
It is important that all of us realize that depression is not a disorder that one can ‘snap’ out of. Depression is not cured simply by popping a few pills either. Managing depression is an ongoing process. Depression wears many faces. Those faces could come complete with pearly white smiles and exuberant conversations filled with what we may think is optimism. Depression can wear a blank and lost expression, with pain-filled eyes. Depression can wear the face of desperation and frustration coupled with deep anxiety. Depression can wear the face of a laughing clown hiding the hauntingly horrible feelings of despair. Depression has proven itself to be a serial killer and in order to beat this Devil in a black dress, awareness of the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide prevention is key. Please take a moment to review these websites and as always, IF you are trying to cope with feelings of hopelessness, despair, and pain and you are considering suicide as an option, please, I beg you to call 1-800-272-8255.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Anxiety and Depression Association of America: http://www.adaa.org