This is What Depression Looks Like

Hi friends,

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.

Me, a few years ago
Me, a few years ago

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,

Steph x

7 comments
  1. Thank you for sharing that. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma attached to mental health issues like depression and a general lack of understanding. It’s important to discuss these things honestly and openly. Wonderful post!

    1. That’s exactly how I feel. I was a bit unsure about posting it because it’s pretty darn open, but then I thought of how much this sort of thing would’ve helped me. You just never know. Especially now since it’s passed and my mind is less foggy, I feel like I’m in a privileged position to help others, and I don’t want to squander that. Thanks so much for your lovely comment and support 🙂

    1. Yes exactly, it’s difficult when it’s not physically obvious but you still feel it. It sort of colours your world and changes things in your mind, but the strange part is sometimes you don’t even realise it. And no I haven’t seen that, what is it? I’ll have a Google and see what I find 🙂 thanks so much for your comment!

  2. People need to talk about mental illness. My father killed himself when I was 5 and my mum has bi polar. Growing up I felt like it was a shameful secret but now thanks to social media it’s being talked about and perhaps more research into mental illness will finally take place. The worst thing is when outsiders call the person selfish to leave the family behind. A) they usually have no idea about mental illness and b) family reeling from suicide are already dealing with issues of not feeling good enough so to make careless throwaway comments is not being sympathetic. Or helpful.

    1. Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, that must have been very difficult to go through. I’m glad you have taken some comfort from people talking about it, that is exactly what I hoped I could contribute with this post. The power of social media is amazing, and although many people focus on how it can be damaging, there is also much to be said for its ability to connect people from all walks of life.

      And yes I completely agree about calling the person selfish, I think it’s so narrow-minded and cruel. To assume that you know exactly what is going on in someone’s head and their life circumstances is incredibly arrogant, and also just plain incorrect. I think a lot of people experience these sorts of things but find it difficult to articulate, or perhaps just want to suppress it, because it’s certainly not glamorous enough for the Facebook highlights real. However, it is real life, and I like to think that sharing a little bit of my life could help someone else’s.

      Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 <3

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