The sad news about director Tony Scott’s suicide came, as these stories often do, as a horrible shock to many. Maybe it wasn’t as surprising to those who knew him intimately, I have no idea, but to many who had worked with him or just knew of him, it was unexpected.
I suppose this is because unlike so many other celebrities or public figures, Scott hadn’t made his emotional life public. So often this is the case for people who suffer with depression. The disease itself creates a state of darkness and the shame that often accompanies its presence can exacerbate the already intense sense of loneliness.
People who suffer with depression often do so in silence, afraid of being a joy kill, afraid of being shunned. It takes a great deal of self-esteem and self-confidence to disclose to others one’s internal battle, and both of those traits are in short supply with depression sufferers.
More and more celebrities and politicians have come forward to reveal their personal struggles. People such as Jim Carey, Lady Gaga, Jessie Jackson Jr., Patrick Kennedy, to name just a few, have bravely shared their stories. This has had a tremendous impact on the general awareness about the disease. It has given people the idea that they are not alone. This simple notion, the concept that someone else can relate to what you are feeling, is sometimes all it takes to motivate a person to seek help.
Another revolutionary tool in the fight against depression has been the use of the Internet. Community forums and sites, like DailyStrength, have provided a place for people who suffer from depression to gather and share their experiences. They help to reinforce the idea that just as the darkness may be a sure thing in one’s life, so too is the light that always follows at some point. It gives people the hope they need to hold on through the rough patches.
Not only do community forums provide that crucial sense of hope but they can also provide very practical tools for managing mental health symptoms. For some people relief may lie in the use of medication and for others it is on-going therapy. For many, it is both. Just as anyone learns to manage their moods and cope with difficult days, so too can someone who suffers from depression, but the task is considerably more challenging. Hearing how others have muddled through can inspire you make that call or appointment that could eventually lead to some emotional relief.
The most important thing a person who suffers from depression can do is to ask for help. It is from there that healing can begin. More than other times in history, there are many available resources, even for those who feel completely isolated and alone. There are hotlines, support groups and Internet resources that are free and available to everyone.
If you are suffering from depression and have had thoughts of suicide, you need to know that there is help out there and that there is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. With help you can eventually live a productive and happy life.
Here are some helpful links if you are in need:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
American Psychiatric Association
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