Isn't it strange? One of my favorite comedians, Robin Williams is dead, yet the world hasn't stopped. It feels like it should, doesn't it? It's so crazy to think that this is what happens when someone amazing leaves this world.
I never would have thought that one of my favorite funny men also battled depression for many years. Having fought the beast off and on I can say that I understand. I've never been quite that low, but I've gone awfully dark before. For those who have never experienced depression, be grateful that you don't understand. People from all different walks of life go through depression. It's not just something that happens to poor people, people who are sick, or people who have been abused. So often, those are the stereotypes that go along with depression. You tell someone you're depressed and they say, "But you're not broke," or, "You had a good childhood." That has crap to do with it.
Even when everything is going right, that big black hole can swallow you up, out of nowhere. Sometimes an event can trigger depression, like the loss of a loved one. Other times, you can be on top of the world, yet unable to shake the "funk" that settles over you, and you don't know why. It is a scary and helpless feeling.
One of my neighbors, a friend of the family, committed suicide several years ago. I was in the car with my mother and my son when we drove by his yard and saw him lying there. He shot himself. Another neighbor had just arrived also. It was too late to keep my son from seeing him. For the purposes of this post, I'll call him Jack. Jack took his life with a borrowed gun for reasons that to him seemed dire. He was good looking, and always had a smile on his face. No one even knew he was fighting depression. When I close my eyes, I can still see him lying there beside the pampas grass. It felt like the world should stop then too, but it didn't. Someone new lives in his house now. The last I heard, his family, ex-wife, and ex-girlfriend are all doing fine. If you didn't know better, you'd think nothing bad ever happened on that pretty green lawn. The body of a broken man was never there. Only he was ... and none of us saw until it was too late.
So, I understand why Robin Williams might have felt that he had struggled too long, or that the fight was beyond him to continue. I get it.
But it's something I don't believe I could ever do. No matter how dark my depression has been in the past, giving up is not in me. I will fight to my last breath, no matter the struggle. It's who I am, and it's what I do.
Maybe I shouldn't post this. I'm sure some of you might wonder why I did. Maybe it's to connect with other people who might not realize that they are not alone. If you're struggling with depression, you are not alone. You're not weird. And people who tell you to "snap out of it" need to be kicked in the balls.
Seeing that depression could affect someone like Robin Williams put things into perspective for me. He must have felt so alone ... just like so many of us have felt before.
Depression doesn't strike because you are alone, or because no one loves you. That's not the way it works.
One thing I've learned, that has worked for me, FIGHT IT. Tell yourself that everything is going to be all right because you are the only one who can say that to yourself and make it happen. When you say it, it might feel like a lie. That's okay, just keep saying it. Take B vitamins and exercise. Expose yourself to something funny, repeatedly. Laughter really is like medicine to your soul. Fake it until you make it, as the expression goes. And one day, when you wake up the clouds will be a little brighter. It's not sudden, but it is a change. And it will get better. Find someone to talk to.
I keep asking myself, "Why am I writing this? Why am I opening up like this to complete strangers? Is this wise?" Who knows? But I feel like I should. I feel like someone out there needs to hear it.
You are not alone, and given time, things will get better.