Wrestling with survivor's guilt in a crazy world - Page 2


I have survivor's guilt. I should have been the one who took my life two weeks ago, not Robin Williams. I don't deserve to take up space but Robin Williams did and that's simply not fair.

These are the types of things people think when they're close to becoming another suicide victim. It's so much more than any of the labels can explain, something that cannot be neatly inked in print or summed up in the trend stories that inevitably follow celebrity deaths.

I believe that depression and suicide have less to do with brain chemistry, mental illness, or addiction, and more to do with culture, our whacked social mores, and how some people in this world have power and some people don't. And if you're a member of the latter group, you're simply fucked.

Depression and suicide can be about how American "democracy" is not democracy. Above all, the path to depression and suicide is very different for every person. Both conditions come about through combining a wide array of personal and environmental circumstances that collide at just the wrong moment in a vulnerable mind.

What I wonder is this: Why is it always us "mentally ill" who are branded as messed up, instead of the world? 

Jeanene Harlick is a journalist who, along with battling mental health issues, returned to graduate school to study social work with a mental health emphasis five years ago. She currently contributes articles on mental health to eHow.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @JeaneneHarlick.