Robin Williams has been dead for 24 hours and people are already talking about how insignificant his death is, how ridiculous it is that people are mourning his death, how stupid people are for focusing on the death of a celebrity rather than the turmoil in the Middle East. I have a few friends who started saying how dumb it was mere hours after his death was announced to the public.
No, I didn’t know Robin Williams. I never met him and never saw him perform live. Yes, I grew up watching his movies and I consider him a phenomenal actor and fantastic comedian. It is not the loss of his life or the sadness of knowing there won’t be any new Robin Williams performances that makes me want to talk about and mourn his death.
It is the fact that he suffered from depression and nobody wants to talk about it.
So no, I won’t stop talking about Robin William’s death.
Guess what? There’s been war in the Middle East since biblical days. Perhaps I’m cold hearted, but the fact remains that I can’t spend my energy worrying about a region that has always been gripped by war over religion.
What I can spend my energy on is the fight against depression.
I can’t make radical muslims stop bombing Israeli jews. But I can talk about how depression has affected my life, the lives of people I love, and the lives of people who live in the public eye who manage to hide their pain and sadness while under constant scrutiny.
Depression, to me, is far more real than current world events and is a problem that needs to be talked about. People need to know what depression feels like to those who are going through it. There needs to be a real conversation about what depression means for the person suffering from it and how it affects the people in their lives. There needs to be a discussion about the different forms of treatment, the warning signs of depression, and what you can do if someone you love is suffering.
When someone you love begins to change, the signs can be small and unnoticeable at first. They eventually snowball and you wake up one morning and realize that person is completely different than they once were. All too often people discard that person from their lives. The happy person you once knew has become argumentative and withdrawn. They have no passions and it seems like nothing you do can make them happy. Instead of fighting for that person, you throw your hands up and walk away from sheer exasperation.
When you’re the person suffering, you learn to cope and make people believe you’re perfectly fine. You don’t want people to know that you’re depressed because the stigma associated with depression is that you’re “crazy”. Nobody wants to have a relationship of any sort with someone who is depressed. So you stuff your depression into a dark closet that manages to grow and grow and grow and eventually consumes you.
Sometimes the only way out of that closet is death.
Obviously I’m still here to tell my tale and I have never attempted to commit suicide, but I have wanted to die. Many, many times. There have been days I have prayed to God to just kill me and spare my children so that they can have a life without a mother who is gripped by uncontrollable sadness and moods. There have been times I’ve gotten into my car and prayed that God would send my car into the path of a rogue Semi truck that takes my life. There have been times I’ve hoped I go to sleep and never wake up in the morning.
You’re either reading this right now feeling sorry for me or thinking I’m crazy and insane and that I probably should be in an asylum somewhere.
Don’t feel sorry for me. And don’t call me crazy.
Depression is real. It is normal. And it affects your funny uncle, your mom, your sibling, your best friend, and maybe even you. Nobody is immune from the clutches of depression. Nobody.
Depression is lonely. Depression is deep and dark. It is a polarizing disease that people don’t understand. Depression cannot be controlled by laughter or happiness. Depression cannot be cured by having a good life and lots of money in the bank. It cannot be regulated by drugs alone. Depression cannot be cured by essential oils, teas, or other natural methods. Depression cannot be controlled by a relationship with Jesus. Depression is the leading cause of relationship failure, mass murders, and suicide and it can affect anyone at any time.
Until people halt their judgment of people who suffer from depression, and instead start trying to help them out of its clutches, it and its sufferers will continue to drive themselves to death. People who suffer from depression will continue to feel alone in a world full of people and information.
So no, I won’t stop talking about Robin William’s Death. Because it needs to be talked about.