Like most of the world I was shocked to hear that Robin Williams had passed away from depression. And it hit me hard because like Robin Williams, I live with depression and anxiety and struggle to maintain stability in a world that doesn’t understand my disease. Here was a man who to the outside world appeared to have it all and yet he still succumbed to the disease of depression. And yes, he died of depression, not suicide. I wish the world would stop talking about how he ended his life and start talking more about how deadly the disease of depression is. I guess the conversation is started but when all the “hoopla” surrounding his death goes away, will the conversation go away too?
Depression isn’t just feeling sad because your clothes don’t fit that day because your bloated. Or feeling blue because you had a fight with your boyfriend. It’s a crippling, paralyzing illness that robs you of your ability to feel and be happy. You lose your capacity to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. You sink into the depths of despair and you honestly see no way of getting out. And you have no idea of what got you there to begin with. And you feel alone. Oh so alone.
In my battle against depression, I’ve challenged this bitch every step of the way. She whispers negative things in my ears all the time, telling me that things will never get better and that I am all alone. She tells me that the world doesn’t understand my struggles and for a long time I believed her. But then, you know what? I found my voice. I reached out and started asking my loved ones for support and I found it. I refused to believe that I was alone and I found others like me. I looked for support groups both online and in person and I found them. And the more I challenged her, the quieter she became.
The conversation can’t die with Robin. We must continue to fight the disease like we fight every other disease that ravages our population. Keep talking and keep challenging.