It feels as if a shadow falls on me when I hear that someone has committed suicide. It reminds me that depression does take lives. A few suicides in previous years have particularly stuck with me.
As a child, I was a fan of this character in a soap that was portrayed by a Dutch actor, Antonie Kamerling. In 2010, he committed suicide and later his wife published a memoir about her and their life and the struggles that he faced.
Back in 2015, I wrote a blog post about the suicide of a Dutch writer, Joost Zwagerman.
Then In 2017, I was shocked when it became known that Chester Bennington had taken his own life. Linkin Park’s songs had always resonated with me and helped me through some dark times. I knew the singer struggled with depression but the fact that he was able to carry on and convey his feelings through his songs made me believe that I could win my own struggle with depression. In a way, he or his songs gave me a little bit of strength. Hearing of his death filled me with a deep sadness because it felt like it meant that another one of us had lost the battle.
In April of this year, Avicii died by committing suicide. I didn’t want to look into it or hear about the reasons behind it. It just once again felt like another soul had lost the battle.
Then this month, Inés, the sister of the current queen of the Netherlands died. I had never heard of her existence before but I definitely knew Maxima, the queen. At first, I didn’t want to look into Inés’ death and I was unaware that she had committed suicide. Then I heard Maxima’s statement in which she said that ‘my dear, gifted little sister Inés was sick too. She could find no joy, and she could not be cured.’ The same shock and sadness that I had felt for Antonie Kamerling, Joost Zwagerman, Chester Bennington and Avicii came right back to me.
Very quickly the thought surfaced that if they didn’t make it, how was I ever going to make it? If all of them struggled and seemingly found a way to cope and then couldn’t in the end, is that where my road leads too?
A big part of my depression and suicidal thoughts is fear. I am afraid to kill myself one day. I am afraid to eventually snap and make the irreversible decision to take my own life. However, the fact that I feel this way shows a great desire to live and perhaps this should allow me to relax a bit. I am still sane.
Yet it seems that sometimes all the support in the world is simply not enough. You’d think that if you are famous you’d have enough money to get the right help, right? But on the other hand, even if you have a loving family, loving friends and people that you can talk to about these feelings, they can never quite take that darkness away. There is no way for anyone to simply click their fingers and make someone’s suffering disappear, no matter how much they might want it to.
It makes depression such a difficult thing. It’s different for everyone and quite often we don’t really know what to do with it. There is definitely hope and people can definitely get better, but it’s hard. It’s such a hard battle.
On the flip side of things, there are many other stories of people who suffer from depression who have found a way to cope and live a happy life. I never see any such stories on the news, but I bet that their amount outweighs the many tragedies. There are sites out there that feature the hopeful stories too. I just need to remind myself that the majority of people that live with depression do manage to get better, and that every new suicide is another loss, but that my life does not have to end in that same way.