Opinions are like…

…like anything physical that we all have one of. Yes, ok, I understand that everyone has an opinion. That doesn’t mean that they’re all created equally. Expressing how you feel about a particular topic is a right that everyone shares. Having been involved in many text arguments in the past few months,  I’ve read many things said that didn’t line up with own beliefs. With that being said, opinions have to be based on facts. Or at the very least some sort of personal experience.

When correspondents come on television shows, what makes them so special? Out of the hundreds or thousands of people that could have been picked answer questions or inform the masses, why were they chosen? I would wager it’s because they actually have some sort of insight on the topic at hand. Bob sitting on his couch in Anytown, USA can indeed express how he feels about said topic. That doesn’t mean that what he feels holds an equal value to someone who has firsthand knowledge.

I bring this up because of the recent news of Robin Williams. A group of friends that I went to college with share an iMessage thread, and the topic of the day was Williams’ death. When the issue of suicide came up, Williams immediately became a pariah. His image and memory were instantly tainted by the idea that he would take his own life. The problem I had with this was that no one could know what was in his head. No one knows what is in anyone else’s head. No matter how much we empathize, it’s just not the same. And I’m not saying that I condone the act of suicide, but I am saying that I can’t understand what great pressures or stresses or mental instabilities he was dealing with at the time. And to cast someone in such a negative light without even having an idea of what they’ve dealt with is totally unfair.

Mental health is no laughing matter. And for some of us, it’s easy to downplay the significance of an individual’s plight. Instead of making unfounded assertions and assumptions, it would benefit many of us to not only reserve judgment on others, but to at least research those topics that we are trying to discuss. One day someone close to you might need your support. Here’s hoping the advice they are given is more than “man up” or “you’ll get over it”.

-A-

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