In light of the the raging debate about suicide and depression that is being waged after the death of Robin Williams, it has come to my attention that no one is stating the obvious. I have heard two sides to the coin. The Side #1 believes that depression is a sickness just like cancer or lou gherigs disease. The disease has symptoms. Those symptoms include loss of control or actions stemming from a deep dark place in the mind of the afflicted person. They afflicted person therefore cannot be held accountable for their death. Side #2 of the coin believes that depression is a sickness that may make us want to commit suicide but it is a choice that we either make or do not make and we always retain some self control over the illness called depression. They are two interesting points of view. Side #1 allows us to feel as though the person is a victim of a disease, side #2 requires us to feel a little more judgmental of the final actions of a suicidal person. I HATE feeling judgmental, so I’m going to assume that most other people do not like feeling judgmental either. People don’t want to feel like people around them perceive them as mean, naive, or unduly judgmental or bigoted. That is where side #1, reigns supreme in the popularity contest. People of today’s world have placed so much guilt and shame on having an opinion that might hurt someones feelings that people just all together drop any form of judgement to avoid being THAT “rude, close minded, bigot” So at the risk of being that awful person who points out the TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES of side one I will show how with a little defining of words, and logical breakdown, side #2 may just be right after all.
Side #1 of the coin states that depression is a disease. A disease is defined by wikepedia as: ” In humans, “disease” is often used more broadly to refer to any condition that causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems, or death to the person afflicted, or similar problems for those in contact with the person. In this broader sense, it sometimes includes injuries, disabilities, disorders, syndromes,infections, isolated symptoms, deviant behaviors, and atypical variations of structure and function, while in other contexts and for other purposes these may be considered distinguishable categories. Diseases usually affect people not only physically, but also emotionally, as contracting and living with many diseases can alter one’s perspective on life, and one’s personality.”
So we can see that a disease in “humans terms” can be a disorder or a deviant behavior and that a person with said disease might have an altered perspective.
Secondly, side #1 states that Robin Williams did not kill himself…but rather that the disease killed him. Lets analyze that statement. If Robin Williams is not to blame for the action of killing himself that we must place all the blame onto the altered perspective that the disease causes. Side #1 believes that the altered perspective takes the blame, and we cannot condemn physical actions if they are a symptom of a disease. Just like we cannot blame a person with cirrhosis of the liver for turning yellow. Yellow skin is a symptom of the disease….altered perspective is a symptom of the disease. Do we allow the symptom of altered perspective to control our actions and do we dismiss any culpability we have in that action? Side# 1 again, says we dismiss culpability. Here is a popular quote that is circulating the media: Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.” http://www.hellou.co.uk/2014/08/robin-williams-die-suicide-14909/
According to side #1’s theory we must not hold a person who acts deviant, as a result of a mental disease, accountable. Dylan Klebold (Columbine murders) committed suicide….so according to side this theory, he had depression, and is therefore not accountable for the things he did while in that altered state of mind and so both his own murder must be looked at without blame and his murders must be looked at with the same lack of blame and accountability. He had a disease, the disease made him do it. We cannot say well its one thing to kill yourself but an entirely different one to kill others because according to side# 1 all actions done under the disease of depression are actually just symptoms of the disease.
Lets take a look at side #2’s theory. Side #2 believes that depression is a disease but that actions do not fall under the category of symptom. Crying, or lethargy can be called symptoms but actions cannot. For example, isolating oneself from people is an action that we choose when we are suffering from depression. Suicide is likewise and action we choose when we are suffering from depression. There has to remain CHOICE in the matter or all CHOICES resulting from any altered state of mind would be considered a symptom. A heroin addict has an altered state of mind and many murders occur in that altered drug induced state, which we as a society call the disease of addiction. Why do we persecute and feel anger and hatred towards those who commit heinous acts while in drug induced altered state of mind? Let us consider all the murders, abuses, rapes etc….that are a result of someone with depression. IF side #1 is correct, then they were in such despair that they did not see any other way out, or any other options. We cannot say that a depressed person has not enough control over the mind to realize suicide is not their only option without giving a murderous person that same leeway with their minds.
If a = b and b=c then c=a.
a is disease
b is unaccountability
c is acceptance of all disease symptoms including murder, rape, beatings, robbery, and suicide.
And that is the corner you are painting us in.