Today started out nicely but turned unfortunately took a very sad turn. This morning I learned about the passing of Robin Williams and it breaks my heart. This is the man that so many of us are familiar with, through his work in film and TV. He is someone that I, for one, feel shaped my childhood and so many others’. He was a comedy genius, an artist with a real gift.
But the thing that really gets me about this tragic event (apart from the suspected way it happened) is the fact that, despite how much happiness and joy Robin Williams gave to the world, he couldn’t necessarily see that. As a kid, I loved Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin, Hook… the list goes on. He stole the show each and every time, and it really seems like there was this life, this energy to him that was hard to pin down. Obviously someone who can create that much greatness so consistently, is smart, gifted and, for want of a more articulate word, special. It’s true. But the fact that someone who gave so much light could feel so much all-encompassing darkness is an illuminating and perhaps cautionary tale for millions of others.
The thing is, depression doesn’t come out singing and dancing and waving its hands and crying for help. I read that some soap opera fool tweeted that Robin Williams was “selfish” for not thinking about his friends and family which is an absolutely absurd and thoughtless statement. Of course, his family must be heartbroken and it would be an excruciating thing to go through, but I really feel like the focus should be on why someone ever gets to the point where they feel they need to take their own life, instead of pointing the blame toward their potential failures. We don’t know him and to speculate like this is distasteful and not something I am interested in doing.
The reason why I have such an interest in this topic is because it is something close to my heart. Probably about two years ago, I went through what could only be considered clinical depression. For anyone reading this now who is close to me and is concerned, please don’t worry or feel bad: I’m fine. But at the time, it felt (at times) like the world was ending. But it didn’t feel like that all the time. During this period I would be smiling, happy, enjoy myself, but then the majority of the time was spent feeling listless, directionless and pretty much just incapable of anything. It was a real up and down ride, except it was mostly downs.
I have never written about this before because it is something really personal to me that I have only really recently overcome, and I honestly don’t want my family worrying about me. I am a pretty private person, and I would like to keep it that way, despite the shenanigans I get up to on this blog of mine! I take my family and my loved ones very seriously, which is part of the reason why I didn’t really divulge too much to them at the time. Looking back, they probably could have guessed, but I don’t think to the same extent that I was experiencing it. That’s no one’s fault, and I’m glad it happened like that because I wouldn’t want to put that onto my nearest and dearest. But that experience taught me that depression can look like all sorts of things, and sometimes you will find it in the unlikeliest of places.
Robin Williams is someone who had been quite open about his addictions and his demons, and that is something that should be applauded. It is always hard to admit fault with oneself, especially on such a serious, intimate level. Even writing this post sort feels a bit… odd, because it isn’t just some story or silly event that happened to me today: it is my life. And for a while, I really didn’t feel like living it. I never reached the point that Williams sadly has, but at times the numbness could have potentially tricked me into thinking that it could be a viable option. And that is the scary part.
Of course, a lot of my depression came from the hormonal imbalance that I was experiencing at the time, unbeknownst to me. This is a whole other issue for another post, but I will say that my faith in hormonal contraception is now completely nought. The things we don’t understand about the human body are many and varied, and putting these hormones into a holistic organism can bring results that no one would expect – or understand. I will be forever grateful to my amazing bf for sticking with me through this pretty hellish time, and I guess the good thing to come out of it is that I know both how strong I and we are together. I don’t want to get too mushy on here, but the effect that just one person can have on your life is drastic.
The point I am trying to make, as I’m sure many other articles will do today, is that depression can go unrecognised and can hit when you least expect it. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness make my day, and I try to keep this in mind at all times because really, you never know what someone is going through. When you cut in line at the supermarket or push past someone and don’t acknowledge it, you never know how that will make someone feel. Of course, I am a particularly sensitive flower and it could just be me that cares about these seemingly small things, but I don’t think it is. We are human first and foremost, and what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Depression can look like anyone, or anything, and we can at least validate it by using it to bring us closer together, instead of further apart.
I know this is a rather intense post for today, and I did have something much lighter planned. However, things happen and I just felt like this was the right time to get this off my chest. I hope you guys can relate and I hope this even helps one person feel better. If so, then this will have been a good day.
Thanks for reading, and until next time,