In light of today’s sudden and unexpected loss via apparent suicide of brilliant artist, Robin Williams, I feel the need to reiterate what I’ve been saying in various comment threads around social media.

True depression is mental illness and an incurable disease. One can try to manage it, medicate it, sedate it with religion or other activities…but it’s rarely ever completely gone. Like a cancer, it’s just in remission. Depression is a lifelong war of battle after battle…every day, week and year…and while it may seem gone, or lessened, for a time (sometimes long periods of time), it’s always lurking just under the surface.

We, as a society, continue to fall short in our understanding of this devastating and debilitating illness. Our capability to provide adequate help to those that suffer from it continues to fall woefully short. While I don’t have any clear answers, it seems pretty obvious that we just can’t throw money at it. Depression knows no class distinction and ones ability to pay for treatment is pretty irrelevant, as is evidenced by today’s latest inductee to the exclusive club of The Brilliant Mind Departed Too Soon. No, it seems to me there’s a huge disconnect in our society with regard to stigma and the ability to both offer and accept help. More importantly, we need to stop brushing it under the rug, looking unseeingly with glazed eyes, and practicing perpetual denial…a denial so vast that we are even in denial that we are in it.

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Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)

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