We’ve all heard of people who have taken their lives by suicide. We typically wonder what was so bad about their lives that they could not cope another day.
We were shocked by the sudden death of Naomi Judd. She was a country music star and she and daughter Wynonna had racked up 14 number one hits. They had five Grammy awards and 20 million-plus album sales. A new tour was planned for this fall and the day after her death an induction ceremony was scheduled for the Country Music Hall of Fame. She apparently had it all. She had a long term 30-year marriage, successful daughters and fame and fortune. What more could a human being want? Apparently, something was still wrong.
Depression and mental illness apparently can become a hole so deep and so dark that once someone is in it, they don’t feel they are emotionally able to survive or escape the darkness.
We have been shocked by other personalities who reportedly took their lives such as comedian Robin Williams and Anthony Bourdain who traveled the world tasting and showing various lifestyles and cuisines.
Mental illness comes in various forms and affects people in different ways and on different levels. Everyone has down days, the blahs and feelings of unhappiness. The weather affects us. Rainy or snowy days may eventually get to us. Too many bills and not enough money to pay them can work on our minds. A sick or troubled family member may worry us or make us feel bad. Our own personal health battles can make us feel down. Too much to do is troubling. Terminal illness that is rapidly getting worse puts us in a state of desperation to escape the outcome sooner rather than later.
There is more to depression than snapping our fingers to get out of it as proven by Judd. She openly talked about her illness. She wrote a book about it and reportedly had spent years medically dealing with her diseases. Severe mental illness can end sadly end tragically.
Reviewing her life, it seems there would be a counterargument for everything we are supposed to do. Get help. Take medication. Have a good doctor and a good counselor. Talk about the disease. Find meaningful things to do. Have hobbies. Stay busy. Pursue life. Be involved in meaningful relationships, have faith in God, etc. Judd appeared to do all of this and more.
Does this mean we have no hope if we have mental illness? We always have hope but we must be very aware of the seriousness of depression. Our mental state is serious and can be terminal.
Keep in mind that people successfully deal with mental illness every day. It does not have to be the end. People seek counsel, medical help, faith in God and find coping solutions to dealing with depression and mental illness. Mental illness does not have to end badly.
Try to think of those left behind. Try to think about the spouse, the children and the loved ones who are left to go on. I have known people who were so physically sick that I understood their pain and desire to escape their bodies. Try to keep in mind that God made us and we all have an appointment with death. We don’t have to push the appointment. It’s coming to us all. Try to find a way to find purpose and peace with the brief life God has given to you. It will end soon enough.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.