Human beings are an emotional species. Love, hate, anger, sadness; these are just some of the emotions that we are capable of experiencing. One such emotion, and what this entry is going to be about, is depression. Depression is an emotional state of extreme sadness that typically saps the light, happiness, and joy a person can experience in their lives. It can become so bad that the individual can actually feel pain because of it. This pain is not a physical one, but an emotional one. But because of how the brain is wired, it doesn’t distinguish between the two. Pain is pain and the brain doesn’t care about what form it takes. And like physical pain, emotional pain can become so bad that the only relief that a person can see to relieve it is through death, typically done through suicide. But even though they see death as the only way of obtaining any kind of relief, they don’t want to die. All that they want is for the pain to stop, that’s all.
With depression, it blinds the sufferer to the world around them, preventing them from seeing the good things that they have in their life. In addition to this, it prevents them from obtaining any kind of enjoyment out of life that just might exist for them. They also feel like they can’t be helped out of the pit that they find themselves in. The only way that they can escape the pain, as stated earlier, is to enter the waiting arms of death. Depression causes this to be the only answer that they see as being readily available for them to use, and thus, the only way out of the situation that they find themselves in. Depression is an all consuming beast that just doesn’t care about the sufferer or those who are in that person’s life.
As a result of this, I see depression as an emotional cancer. With cancer, it is essentially the person’s body turn cannibalistic. The cells of the person’s body divide and spread uncontrollably, impairing function and preventing the body from operating properly. Depression is no different. But in the case of depression, instead of the person’s cells consuming the individual alive, it is their emotional state that is eating them from the inside out. And it is beyond the person’s control. They can’t help it.
With cancer, people can and do die because of it. Some people fight it while others accept it. With those who accept it, it can occur when they first learn of the diagnosis while others accept it after fighting it for as long as they can. However, there are some who fight it all the way. But they are not held morally responsible for what happens to them. However, we do hold those who commit suicide morally responsible for what they do. This may be because suicide victims actively take their own life whereas cancer victims are typically subject to something that is beyond their control. But it’s important to note that depression is a medical condition that is beyond the person’s ability to control. This can be due to factors in the person’s environment, social life, or is a part of a chemical imbalance within their system. The person can be socially isolated from others, experience pressures that they can’t handle, are socially awkward, have some kind of identity crisis, or was physically or sexually assaulted for whatever reason. It can even be a combination of these factors that play into the person’s condition.
But regardless of the reason, it rests beyond the person’s control. They shouldn’t be blamed for their condition or the fallout that results from it. And some of them do seek help and are able to be treated for their depression while others seek help but still follow through on taking their own life. The factors that are in play into this can be quite numerous and be quite complicated. Depression is also a highly individualistic emotional state for it is literally tailored to fit that particular person. As a result, their medical treatment, like any type of medical treatment, needs to be tailored to that particular person. Basic tools and stepping stones act as the groundwork for this treatment, but from there, need to be customized and fit that person’s needs. Emotional injuries and traumas should be treated like any physical injury or trauma. The only difference between emotional and physical traumas is that emotional traumas aren’t visible and readily identifiable whereas physical traumas are. But a part of our physical being is the emotional element that resides in all of us.
And like any physical injury, if a person’s emotional conditions go untreated, it can lead to infection and the wounds will fester. The body has the potential of fighting these things off, but it can take a lot out of the person and can leave a nasty scar behind. However, there are limits to what the body can do and it can’t always fight off every threat it faces, resulting in the death of the individual. With emotional injuries, it can lead to the inevitable result of suicide. People suffering from depression don’t want to experience the pain that accompanies depression. Yes, it’s normal to experience sadness, even great sadness, but it becomes unhealthy and dangerous if it goes on for too long, especially if it goes untreated. But depression can’t be helped. Thus, those who suffer from depression shouldn’t be ostracized because of it and those who commit suicide shouldn’t be condemned. It’s not their fault.
With suicide, there are more people affected then just the person who commits this act. There are friends and family who are left behind who have to deal with the emotional fallout of the situation. They are left wondering what they could have done in order to save the person as well as ask themselves why they didn’t see the signs that the person was going to commit suicide. They can also be left angry and embittered by the situation for they don’t have a way of dealing or resolving it. They are just stuck in the situation with no way of getting out of the predicament they find themselves in. They also need someone or something to blame, and since the person who committed suicide is the only person that is readily available for them to latch on to and lash out at, the victim of suicide becomes the target of this anger and blame. As a result of this, it has become a social taboo in the Western World to commit suicide. This taboo has become so ingrained within Western culture that it has found its way into the holy books of the three Abrahamic religions, thus creating a religious taboo against this act as well.
A result of this is that a lot of ideas and attitudes surrounding suicide have formed. One such idea describes suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But for those who suffer from depression, have considered suicide, or have attempted or have successfully committed it don’t feel that their condition is temporary. For them, it is quite permanent. As a result, it can require them to receive a lifetimes worth of treatment without it even being fully cured. And those who suffer from depression can engage in acts of self-harm, something that can take on a number of different forms. These can include engaging in physical harm and injury with suicide being on one extreme of the spectrum, becoming socially isolated or withdrawn from others, beating themselves up emotionally, wondering what they could have done in situations where they were hurt in one form or another, fixating on events or situations that are beyond their control, or turning to comfort activities like eating to help fill the void they are feeling.
In addition to this depression, these individuals can feel like their emotional state is their burden to bear and theirs alone. This can be due to the fact that they see it as being unfair to burden others with their pain. As a result, it can cause them to feel that they are all alone, which in turn only exacerbates the situation. They can even appear to be alright on the outside without a care or worry in the world. This can be due to the fact that they just want to turn and hide, not wanting others to feel bad for them or to cause others to suffer because of them. But this doesn’t erase the fact that they can be hurting inside and just burying the pain that they are feeling.
In the end, those suffering from depression or have considered, attempted, or succeeded at committing suicide shouldn’t be the subject of moral judgment. They are victims of something that they can’t help or otherwise control and are suffering because of it. What these people need is help, not ridicule. Like any living thing, they have a sense of self-preservation that causes them to want to live. However, the pain that they are experiencing can override this sense of self-preservation, causing them to seek an end to the pain that they have to endure, something that is typically done through the means of suicide. Suicide, like gangrene, is nothing more than a symptom of something much greater and deeper then what is readily seen and needs to be treated like any physical medical condition. If not, a lot of needless suffering will occur because of it and a lot of people will needlessly die as a result of this.