Vic Chesnutt passed away on Christmas. He had been in a coma for two days, the result of an intentional overdose of painkillers. Vic was always open about his struggles with depression, despair and hopelessness. Even so, his death was a shock.
The holidays are a particularly difficult time for anyone who suffers from depression. As the season changes and the days grow colder and shorter, a sense of despair can become overwhelming. To that, add the stressors of the holiday season. Or, for some, the lack of family or loved ones only underscores their lack of connectedness to the world.
The stigma attached to depression has lessened significantly over the past twenty years, but it still persists. Too often people fall back on stereotypes and prejudices, assuming that people who suffer from depression just have a case of the blues and need to buck up. If it were that easy, there would be no depressed people. Though some depression is situational, most includes a biochemical component.
Chances are someone you know or love has fought through depression at some point in their life. It is not an easy task, and it is made so much more difficult when that person faces cruel stereotypes and lack of support from his/her family and friends. The reality is that depression is not something one can surmount on their own. It takes a support network of family, friends and clinical help.
Vic had that support network, yet he still succumbed to suicide. The pain was simply too great for him to bear any longer. Perhaps Vic’s death can serve as a powerful reminder about how fragile life is. And how quickly it can be lost.
Please, learn the warning signs (here). And, be good to each other.