Depression is No Laughing Matter

AUGUST 11 — I was shocked and saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ untimely death and tragic suicide. Truly, depression is a terrible thing to live with. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones in this time of excruciating loss. And, also to the rest of us, who loved him in our own ways. Indeed, this brilliant talent, comedic master, and deeply moving dramatic actor will live on and never be forgotten. Who couldn’t love his roles in Mrs. DoubtfireGood Will Hunting, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society, and one of my personal favorites for sentimental reasons –Flubber? Right now, though, it’s hard to get farther than feeling terrible sadness that this man who made us laugh was suffering enough to take his life.

Suicide: A Most Difficult Death to Deal With

Suicide is one of the most difficult deaths to deal with. And, Robin Williams’ suicide has left us all reeling. Suicide leaves those left behind with questions that will never be answered.  Consequently, you can live in torment. Why? What did I miss? Was there anything I could have done? Sometimes there’s not. Because, if the suicidal person can’t let those closest know that he desperately needs help or hides it with bravado or humor, you’re left helpless too.

Yet, serious depression is treatable. If you’re depressed, it’s important to remember that. Most importantly, don’t let that hopeless voice in your mind take you over. That voice might tell you many things. Like – “There’s no way out. These feelings will never change. You’re weak if you need help and can’t get out of this on your own. There’s no one who can help you or understand you.  You’ve already tried. And, you failed.” Get help. You can defeat that hopeless voice.

Help For Depression’s Hopeless Voice

Depression’s hopeless voice drums up many convincing reasons that your depression will never end. Take it from me, though, a certified psychoanalyst who has treated many cases of deep depression: that voice is wrong. Turn to a loved one and tell them what you feel. That’s not weakness. Needing help is human. Ask them for help finding an expert in treating depression.

Choose talk therapy in addition to any medication prescribed. If you’ve been in therapy already and that therapy failed to help you, keep trying. Interview different therapists. Don’t stop until you find one who says things you haven’t thought of before – someone who can get to the root of your depression. Remember – the hopeless voice isn’t the voice of truth.

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Dr. Sandra E. Cohen

I’m Dr. Sandra Cohen, a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. I work with creatives in therapy, story/character development, and entertainment consulting. If you are a writer, actor, or director and want help with a character – or a chance to do some of your own personal work - call at 310.273.4827 or email me at to schedule a confidential discussion to explore working together.