From the inside looking out, a lot of the signs were there. He had several risk factors for severe depression; his age, post open heart surgery, history of chemical dependence, a diagnosis of Parkinson's, and reinventing himself in his career in a tough world. On a positive note he has a loving wife and partner, beautiful children, so many friends and people who respected and loved him and so wished they could have extended a hand to him.
What did we miss? Could we have done something? Please just let us go back to Sunday August 10th. This pain of feeling responsible is often the toughest to move through. It is in our nature to second- guess ourselves when something as tragic as a suicide happens.
Although we have a lot to learn about depression, we do have treatment that has helped many people. We have to get people who need help into the right place and often that doesn't happen on the first, second or third etc. attempt. If you struggle with depression and what you're doing isn't working get another opinion.
I think Robin's death is a wake up call to those of us who have friends or family members wrestling with depression. We need to look at risk factors such as medical challenges, cardiac surgery or concerns, concussions, living with pain, history of chemical dependency, reaching the later years and not being at peace for some examples. We need to understand how losses build on each other. If someone has battled depression his whole life, has a history of losses, history of chemical dependency, and medical challenges sometimes there just isn't enough joie de vivre to take another one of life's knocks or to continue the journey. The perception gets distorted and you forget there are people who not only can,but also want to help you.
Look around and be aware of anyone you know who might be struggling, who seems different, down, who maybe is post cardiac surgery/illness, post concussion, older and not at peace, and reach out. How are you really doing and let's get you the help you need may just be the light they need in the dark tunnel at that moment.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
(c) Anne Brown 2014. Permission needed for all forms of reproduction.