by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance
I fell in love with Robin Williams during the movie, Patch Adams. I disliked Philip Seymour Hoffman in the same movie. Over time, I came to find both actors on an even par, I loved them equally. Now they are both dead.
Depression is an evil demon that reaches into the core of someone, be they Robin, Philip or the thousands of men and women who die by suicide each year. I have had a brother-in-law take his own life. I have read story after story after story of brave men and women in the armed services and those who serve their communities as police and correctional officers, firefighters/EMS and 911 dispatchers who fight this same demon, but lose the battle over depression.
Please do not judge Robin or Philip or the others. Do not call them weak. They suffer from a mental illness that, at times, is cast aside as not an important illness, something that we only talk about in whispers. They are often told to suck it up. Be a man! They are shunned.
If you learn nothing else from this posting, please do NOT take depression lightly. If you have a loved one that struggles with depression, please hold them close and do everything in your power to help them.
To my brother and sister first responders, the time has come to STAND TALL and demand help! If you are in command of your department, damn it get real and get your men and women the help they need and deserve. Quit worrying about the money angle of your department or climbing the ladder of success. There is no price on a person’s life.
And finally, my heart goes out to the families and departments who has been touched by the death of their loved one or comrade to suicide. Please do not turn your back on them. Their grief is unimaginable.
Dear Robin, Philip and the others, go rest high on that mountain. The pain and suffering are over. Much love and many HUGS.
About the Author: Peggy Sweeney is a mortician (retired) and bereavement educator and the president of The Sweeney Alliance. She has developed and taught countless workshops for coping with grief and trauma including How to Understand Grief Seminars (HUGS) and the Grieving Behind the Badge program for emergency response professionals. She has reached out to her community through Comfort and Conversation support group for bereaved adults and teens. She has written numerous award-winning articles and is the editor of the Journeys Through Grief Newsletters. Peggy is a member of the Comfort (TX) Volunteer Fire Department, and a former EMT-B. Peggy received the 2014 Firefighter of the Year award for her department.
Peggy is also Co-Founder and Outreach Coordinator of the Station House Retreat, a recovery center in Florida exclusively for first responders – law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters/EMD and 911 dispatchers.
Read her Survivors of Suicide article here.
Subscribe to the Journeys Through Grief Newsletters here.