As most have heard by now, it appears Robin Williams took his own life. It is extremely sad and seems to often be the case that the seemingly happy and joyous are the ones that often suffer the most.
It greatly saddens me that anyone feels so desperate in their own despair that they choose to end their own life. It is with even more sadness that there are those that think suicide is some form of stupidity, cowardice or selfishness. Depression and the deep darkness one feels is definitely not a choice, or something someone wants to battle; anymore than any other disease in the world (cancer, diabetes, pick one).
Tears for Depression
How or why do I know this? Because I have lived with depression most of my life. I didn’t choose it; it chose me. I started fighting depression from about the age of 10, yes 10! I still remember very clearly the chronic sadness and pain I felt. I had no self-esteem, hated myself and didn’t know how to handle life. I wanted to die, but I didn’t want to die. Really, I just wanted to not hurt and be sad anymore. I suffered in silence into my early 20’s.
In my early 20’s, I began to finally realize that it just wasn’t normal to feel so sad and depressed all of the time. I began seeking help and ran into the most horrible counselor that clearly had no clue or place in treating mental illness. This set me back for several more years.
It wasn’t until after I had my first child, and went into a major postpartum depression and was severely suicidal that I finally sought help again. This time, I started the long, drawn-out medication trial. It took me ten years, many medications, all kinds of side effects, to finally find a medicine that helped me and that I could tolerate the side effects. It isn’t as easy as going to the doctor and picking up a medicine to make it all better.
I also was in and out of counseling, which always felt odd to me. It helped very little, unfortunately. I tried, but it just never felt normal to pour my heart out to this stranger, no matter how nice they were to me. Then there was the “I think we can stop counseling” spill, just when I would start to feel comfortable talking. At least in my experience, counseling was never based on what I felt I needed; come back as you need, kind of thing. It was a “well, we have done sessions for a couple of months. You seem to be doing well. I think we can discontinue sessions.” This always felt very hurtful to me because I was like “hey, yeah, I am doing alright, but depression is an ongoing battle for me. I might need you the rest of my life, kind of thing. Why are you pushing me out the door, just as I am starting to improve?”
I continue to take the same medication, and it helps, some. I don’t know about others, but for me, depression is always kind of there, lingering. It is just waiting for a bad day, to pounce and send you in a downward spiral again. The medication provides the benefit of keeping a large majority of my days from that darkest place. I don’t generally feel suicidal anymore; and when I do, I am able to push myself to seek outside help. I even added a medication for a while, but it didn’t seem to benefit me anymore. Before medication I couldn’t do any of this; I could barely get out of bed and function as a person. Luckily, I had someone who helped me through those steps.
I have never wanted to feel this way. I wish it would go away, forever. I have accepted that it is just part of my life’s many battles and will always need to be treated for it.
I can understand feeling suicidal though because I have been there so many times. I have faced this battle nearly 30 years; EVERY SINGLE DAY is a battle with this illness. It is a huge burden and sometimes you just don’t want to feel the pain anymore. It isn’t about wanting to not live; it is about not wanting to suffer anymore. I don’t want to feel suicidal; it is a desperate feeling. There is no way to express how much suffering one goes through to get to the point of suicide. It is also not possible to reveal how much courage and strength it takes to live and battle every day with the agony and pain depression brings. It takes great adversity to live everyday with this disorder. I don’t want anyone to ever commit suicide. I don’t want to ever feel suicidal again (I know I will at some point).
One that hasn’t faced the deep, dark despair of real, true depression doesn’t understand the depths and grasp it has on you. It isn’t the same as being sad or having a bad day. It is much, much worse and never goes away. I wish not one single person ever committed suicide. I wish there was always someone there to help that person lift themselves back up. I wish those individuals had the strength to pick themselves back up, but life just isn’t that easy and until we accept it is a disease and suicide is part of it, rather than judging; those that need the most help will never get it.
Yes, my medicine helps me feel better. I have kind of figured out what happy is, but still have life struggles and am greatly affected by many things. I have been blessed through depression though; I have the huge gift of compassion for others. I have met amazing people who I have been able to help by being open and sharing my struggles in life. I don’t know that I have prevented suicides, but I hope that I at least made someone struggling with depression day just a little brighter.
I am sad that Robin Williams may have left this world due to suicide. I am sad that anyone ever is in such pain that they commit suicide. I wish I could help them all. I wish I could take all the suffering away; including mine.
We must stop judging the act and start acting to prevent more like it. If only it were that easy.