Sunday Essays: Goodbye, Captain: A view on an editorial

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

“THE Zaniest faces sometimes conceal the saddest souls.”

In these words, Sun.Star has encapsulated the plague that wrecks a joker’s true feelings.

The editorial was not just about the recent death brought about by the suicide of the beloved comedian Robin Williams, but of the disappointing but unfortunately repetitive selective action of society.

One question posed in the said article was why does action on depression, suicide, and substance abuse have to rely on the death of a celebrity?

Does a Robin Williams have to die in order for the world to take “emo” seriously?

Depression is not just a simple PMS or OA episode of a person. It’s a disease. It’s a psychological disease that unfortunately remains taboo because anything mental scares people away.

It shouldn’t be.

People die day after day because they chose to. And we can’t deny that society had a role in that too. If we all gave a hand in helping each other rise above, then no one will drown.

Depression is not just having dark bags under your eyes. It’s not just about keeping quiet and choosing to be alone. It’s not just about crying.

Depression can be in the form of a smile. A laughter. It can be in the Facebook statuses and tweets of a person. It can be the force that keeps you supine on your bed because you just can’t summon the energy to get up, even if the whole world relies on you.

Depression can be in the form of parties. When someone tries too hard to be happy, know that someone is not happy overall.

What we must understand is that every little thing affects everything. Every smile, every look, every word. Every laughter.

If we could only reach out to the one person who’s always alone at the corner of a classroom, we can make her life better.

But like tackled in the editorial, psychological attention is not easy. It’s not only expensive, it’s also inaccessible to remote areas. In fact, in a study by WHO (World Health Organization), there are only 3 health care workers for every 100,000 persons, and not all of them are psychiatrists.

Going back to the question, why does it have to take a celebrity for people to want to understand the grievousness of depression, and why is it that without it, it isn’t a welcome topic for most conversations?

As wrong as it sounds, perhaps Robin Williams died as he had lived: by making people happy.

Now, the survivors of depression, and the family and friends of those who did not, will be happier. Finally, people will understand. Finally, people will listen. Finally, people won’t judge.

And perhaps Robin Williams himself is smiling in his grave now. At least, even in his death, he’ll know that he’ll make people laugh soon after he made them cry.

Perhaps he’ll rest smiling, that the loss of his life saved many others. (Andrea Isabelle F. Mejos)

*****

<>i> Sunday Essays are articles by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism subject.

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