It chills me to think the the press and public can rationalise that suicide is more acceptable or understandable in some circumstances than in others. How can one form of disability be a “better” reason for ending one’s life than another? Is this the beginning of a dangerous slope we’re taking where we move from “understandable” to “reasonable”? Could that lead to “logical”, or heaven help us, “expected”? I believe assigning degrees of justification for suicide places an unacceptable burden on the disabled.
Since you’re on the internet, you’ve already heard the latest news — Robin Williams’ wife announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He hadn’t wanted to announce it publically yet. He had not returned to drug or alcohol use. He was deeply depressed because of the Parkinson’s diagnosis.
The responses I saw, just in the first hour after learning this new information, revealed to me that there is a deeper level of stigma than mental illness. When all we knew was that Robin Williams had succeeded at suicide and that he had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and that he had spoken openly about depression and mania, there was an outpouring of compassion about the pain of depression. A few people aside, people were talking with compassion about depression. People were sharing phone numbers of hotlines. People were telling one another to be there for their…
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