High-Profile Suicide Discussions May Cause Anxiety
By now, everyone has heard that beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams has died by suicide. His death, like all deaths, is a tragedy. The fact this was a suicide adds an extra wrinkle to this story. To most, it makes the event sadder or incomprehensible. For people who also suffer from depression or any other mental illness, discussion of his suicide is more personal (Dealing with Depression in the Wake of Robin Williams' Suicide).
When a famous, wealthy, and generally well-liked person succumbs to their illness, it’s natural to wonder how we can survive our own illness when someone with all that going for them could not. Nothing creates more anxiety than wondering whether or not we can beat our illness.
Discussion of Suicide Triggers Anxiety and Doubt
The media coverage of the event brings mental illness and suicide right out in the open. Usually, feelings about our personal struggles are hidden. We may be open with close friends, but we don’t seek attention.
During the initial media coverage, the discussion of suicide may create anxiety triggers. Hearing about the worst possible outcome over and over again can cause anxiety in the most grounded of people. Knowing that suicide, no matter how remote, could be a possibility for us is scary enough, even without the constant reminder.
Having people ask us about our own struggles in the wake of a high-profile event can also provoke a lot of anxiety. I combat this by looking at it as an opportunity to educate the people around me. I share my views and my story about living with mental illness. I believe education and understanding are key to reducing the negative outcomes often associated with mental illness.
We Are Not Required to Discuss Suicide
Having mental illness and suicide thrust into the spotlight can be a good thing. Society needs to understand that people die because of mental illness. It provides society with the opportunity to have an open, honest, and judgment-free discussion about suicide.
We need to keep in mind that we are not required to discuss suicide. Living with mental illness does not necessitate us to be advocates or spokespeople. We don’t have to share personal details of our lives or even acknowledge that the discussion is happening at all. We are welcome to participate in the discussion of suicide, and I would encourage everyone to seize the opportunity, but it is entirely a personal choice.
Suicide Discussions Don't Have to Knock You Down
Remember that we beat mental illness every day. While suicide doesn't discriminate based on race, gender, class, or age, we need to avoid thinking that, just because it happened to someone else, it will happen to us or someone we know. Mental illness is treatable and beatable and we all can lead fantastic lives in spite of it. We beat mental illness every day.
It is extremely important that, during these sad times, we focus on the large number of people who stand up to mental illness every day, instead of the much smaller percentage who cannot.
Related Stories on Robin Williams Death By Suicide
- Reflections on Suicide in the Wake of Robin William’s Death
- Self-Harm, Robin Williams and the Mask of Happiness
- Robin Williams’ Suicide: Did He Have a Choice?
- Robin Williams’ Suicide Affects Parents of Mentally Ill Kids
Howard, G. (2014, August 12). High-Profile Suicide Discussions May Cause Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/08/high-profile-suicides-cause-anxiety
Author: Gabe Howard
Claire Prince xxx