Social Media has a way of making you feel sad sometimes. The posts of beautiful holidays and warm family celebrations may be more for the benefit of others than what’s true. Consider the perceptions that we have from what we read or hear, and compare that to the reality… sometimes the way things are presented are far different than what is actually happening.
For example, listening to the news can sometimes be difficult – not only due to the content, but also due to the spin that the commentators put to the stories. This summer, during a two day period, Lauren Bacall passed away. The day she died, it was also reported that Robin Williams died the day before, by suicide. The announcer who said “Robin Williams passed away” made me stop in my tracks. Not because of his death, but because of the way they utilized the English language. Robin Williams did not “pass away”, but he ended his life violently – apparently asphyxiating himself with a belt and a closet door.
I appreciate that many are and were surprised that the man we all thought of as a genius and incredible comic was anything but happy. He brought laughter to millions, yet his life was more a tragedy with depression and addiction. How sad. It’s utterly heartbreaking.
But to say he “passed away” implies a quiet passing… a traveling from this life to the next. I daresay that when someone takes their own life, it’s not a “passing”, its more a termination, an ending, a taking of the life that can never have another “act” to follow. It’s not a “passing”.
One of my pet peeves recently is the abuse of language to share information. I’m not sure whether this is because as I’ve gotten older, I am more cognizant of the power of words, or whether there is an inadequacy in our school systems with regard to teaching English? Case in point, the other day I was chatting with a friend who told me that he does not like a politician because he finds his “self defecating” humor to be offensive. Well, yes, I guess it would be. Any politician who poops himself for a joke would be offensive. But perhaps he meant “self deprecating”?
Another friend was sure that “irregardless” of something, he was going to do something. I cringed. I am sure he did not realize that the word he meant to us is “regardless”. Regardless means without regard. When you add the “ir’ in front, it negates the word, so irregardless means “not without regard”. Huh?
Ok, and then there is the person who becomes “orientated” to a new job. Really. Define that for me? I think he means he was oriented. To orientate means to turn to the East, as if in prayer… Does this then mean that every person in the new job must learn where the East is?
And just yesterday a senior staff member suggested that we “home in on our skills”. I suspect it was honing that was required, but I could be wrong. Perhaps we should get closer to them, as in homing in?
When I see or hear advertising copy that’s poorly written, I have the same response. How does copy get approved when it does not make sense?
For example, a recently launched campaign by Ryder focuses on the “ER”. What? Who put the “ER” in Ryder? Seriously… and what the heck is that supposed to mean?
Another campaign makes it seem cool to have bad manners. A young girl struts over to a lunch table at school and puts her feet up on the table wearing her brand new sneakers. And instead of telling her what a snot she is and to get her feet off the table (did she grow up in a barn?!?) the two older kids nod knowingly. Huh? If anything, that’s a great reason NOT to buy anything from this store! The store, Famous Footwear thinks their add is about confidence? Nope. It’s about bad manners!
Bad manners can also be examplified by a football team that makes a political gesture while entering the field. Just because someone can throw a football does not make that person any more of a role model or a patron of integrity than anone else. Just look at Ray Rice – the player who clocked his fiance and left her laying, unconscious in an elevator. More than likely some team will pick him up to play for them, despite the fact that the man is an abuser. Consider also the case of Michael Vic… the man who sponsored dog fights and then who winds up playing football again. Will we, as a nation, ever realize that to continue to sponsor and condone these despicable actors results in a generation that thinks this is normal… That suicide and “slipping away” may be the same act?
In any case, bad grammar, and bad marketing aside, it truly is a tragedy that a person so talented and clever as Robin Williams felt that there was no other option available to him other than to take his own life. Thankfully, this brings much needed attention to the issue of depression and mental illness. Hopefully we can help others before they take that last, final step.
Truly this was not a ‘passing’, it was a ‘taking’. Rest in the peace that you could not find while living, Robin Williams.
The holidays are difficult times for those who find themselves without family or friends. Reach out to others and invite them to spend the holidays with you, especially if you know they may be alone.
If you or someone you know may have thoughts of hurting themself, call a depression hotline. If you are not having suicidal thoughts, you may wonder if how you feel warrants a crisis call. It doesn’t hurt to call, and it doesn’t cost anything, so pick up the phone and make the call. No one will judge you, and you won’t feel like you are wasting anyone’s time with your problems. Many of the counselors are volunteers, so they do this because they enjoy helping others, not because they are being paid to do it.
Resources for Depression:
- National hotline — 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness — (800) 950-NAMI (6264)
- Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-TALK
- National Adolescent Suicide Hotline 1-800-621-4000
- Postpartum Depression 1-800-PPD-MOMS
- Veterans 1-877-VET2VET
All Types of Crisis (Compiled from multiple sources)
- United Way Helpline 1-800-233-HELP
- Youth America Hotline 1-877-YOUTHLINE (1-877-968-8454)
- Covenant House Nine-Line (Teens) 1-800-999-9999
- The Trevor Helpline (For homosexuality questions or problems) 1-800-850-8078
- Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696
- Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743
Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673
Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272
Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000
Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org) is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
- The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org) is a nationwide organization that provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.[12
- Boys Town: This is an email option for youths and their parents. Turnaround time is usually 24-48 hours.
- Crisis Chat: Talk about stress and other problems anonymously and get non-judgmental support.
- IMAlive: Speak with a volunteer online without having to wait for an emailed reply.