I have to say that I have never liked Matt Walsh’s blog. He comes across as so very unforgiving and uncaring about people who do whatever it is he’s currently bashing. He seems so black and white and hateful in his rhetoric it is irritating. I seriously feel upset and sick inside when I read his blog, even though I might tangentially agree with what he’s talking about. I just can’t handle it. (I feel this way about a lot of talking heads.) His experiences seem to be the only ones that matter and mean anything; who cares about what others feel and think and have experienced on the subject? There’s no leniency from him.
It really upset me when I saw his blog about Robin Williams though.
Yeah, I guess you have a “choice” when you commit suicide, but when the choice seems to be between a world where you are a burden on people who seem to no longer love and care for you, where you are in agony and despair because you know you are useless and can’t do anything right and everything is going wrong and it all seems like it will never get better … While on the other hand you have what seems like a way to release your family and friends from having to deal with you and your uselessness as well as have peace in your mind… The choice is distorted and weighted the opposite way you would think. It takes immense strength to choose not to die in that moment. Everything seems to tell you it’s the right thing, to leave this world, and it can be incredibly hard to not go through with it.
On top of that, Robin was believed to have bipolar disorder, which carries somewhere around twice the risk of suicide as unipolar depression, a different beast than Matt intimates he suffers from. There is a much higher risk (as we see in Robin’s life) of substance abuse and such things that bring even more crushing guilt and feelings of uselessness and impaired judgement.
Just because Matt has in the past chosen not to commit suicide doesn’t mean he will always be that way. When an episode is bad enough, a person who has been lucid and had time to think enough to say no in the past may drop past the level where they can no longer make any sort of choice and, unlike in depression where often people don’t have the drive to carry anything out and so have time to talk themselves out of it, people with bipolar in a mixed state feel a pressure from their mind and an energy (it’s almost a compulsion) to do something about their agony. But, you know, since Matt hasn’t committed suicide yet, I guess nobody has a real reason to do so. It’s just cause, y’know, they don’t have joy in their soul.
Yes, I have a soul and it has its own unique qualities and abilities and my soul has power over my body and mind, but it doesn’t have complete control over my asthma, my hypothyroid or my bipolar disorder. My asthma could kill me just as certainly as my bipolar disorder could in the right circumstances, but with both I do my best to use medication to keep them from taking over my body and doing so.
I don’t expect everyone with cancer is those peppy happy fighters we hear about all the time, where nothing ever gets them down and they pass away with a smile on their face. Just because some people with cancer live their lives that way doesn’t mean that those who don’t, haven’t tried or can’t or aren’t as good of a person as the ones who do. We all struggle differently and we all have circumstances and turns of events that others don’t know the full extent of. I try my best never to judge people for this reason. I have no idea what’s going on in their hearts and minds.
Anyway, people who are in the depths of depression should certainly not get the impression that suicide is the answer. It’s not. (And if you are one who is struggling with it now, don’t do it. Things will get better if you wait it out. Someone does love you and will be crushed if you were to die. The world does need you and knows you more than you think it does.) The idea comes from distorted thinking that is yes, chemical (as a person with bipolar disorder you can see the chemical pattern more clearly, it is like a light switch on a timer going from light to dark rather than a random event), though you can sometimes teach your brain to rewire to an extent with therapy and practice but sometimes/often needs augmentation with chemicals.
When someone is depressed, they don’t need to buck up and see the blessings they have and just “be joyful”, they need to be looked at in the eye and told they are needed, loved and that you would personally be crushed if they were lost, and they need to know you are sincere. And then they need help from a professional, if they are contemplating suicide… And hopefully you will try to help make sure they follow through if you really do care. Stay with them if you can.
All that said, if someone does commit suicide that you love and you didn’t stop it (it’s ok if you were fearful or didn’t know or couldn’t be there or think you said or didn’t say something), you can’t hold the blame. You did the best you could and you can’t force people to do what you want them to do, especially when they aren’t thinking right.
That’s all of my ramblings for now! Just had to get that off of my chest.
Just for reference, my grandmother suffered from bipolar disorder (she did not stay on medication) and crushed everyone when she committed suicide despite seeming to “have it all”.