I don’t know Robin Williams and I especially don’t know his struggle.
But I know depression.
I know the feeling of losing all control of your own feelings. Not knowing how to control them or tell them they’re irrational.
I know not knowing a solution or a way out. Not knowing how to fix something you don’t even know how it broke.
I know the feeling of being all alone in what you feel. There’s no other way.
I know the feeling of other’s around you feeling sad, helpless and feeling sorry because they cannot understand you, help you, pick you up.
I know the feeling of other people’s frustrations because they can’t help you, or they make you feel that doing so is a really big deal.
I know the feeling of people making you feel that a click of the fingers can fix the problem or feeling paranoid whether those you love see more to you than this? or not?
I know the pain the ones you love go through when you crash and fall.
But I also know how it is to be strong.
To pick up and just keep going until again your black dog barks its way into your life again.
To be strong every single day and to be fighting demons you can’t see or hear or put your finger on or comprehend or rationalise or understand or to just put a stop to it.
I know how much effort it takes to pick up and continue.
I know how much harder it is to do everything, even normal things because you feel ailed by that invisible force that holds you down like the heaviest lead weights.
Pulls on your hands, your neck, your shoulders. Grabs you and pulls you backwards, downwards, behind.
I know being alone in these feelings and others suffering as a result. I know that treatment is long and arduous and slow and painful. I know that doing what makes you happiest doesn’t make sense to others, or feasible in a world of “you should do …”
I know that we are one in a million and for the price of depression we are blessed with other things. Other feelings, intuitions, sensitivities, appreciation and love. Other really beautiful amazing things. R.William’s was what he gave the world, what people will remember him for.
And I also had hope. Hope that this will be the last time that I experience this inexplicable dip. This is the last time that I would take this climb.
But today something happened and crushed my dreams. I realise that it is the action of ONE man. But it is so much more than that. It is the action of him and so many others like him. It comes to a point that they- with all their resources, the time and money they can afford, they chose to give up.
Does that mean there is no end to this ? Will this state of being never diminish? Are people bound to this condition? Is there no way out rather than death? Will their families (As much as they miss the departed) be at more ease now their loved one doesn’t suffer depression and no longer affects those around them?
Is this what it means? Where is the hope when someone who has achieved plenty, has plenty, is loved and has so much potential for change- any kind of change gives up. With so many options… Did he try them all? did he? He surely can afford it more than others, he can also afford the time to take off to recharge and rehabilitate… but did he? Why do I need to know?
I may not know him, but I too have laughed thanks to him, laughed and cried in his dramatic roles. And I respect all the sentiment people have towards him.
But today he killed my hope. It wasn’t my hope he lived for, that, I know 100% but what message is this? Is the only option suicide? 63 and still suffering a disease no one can see or hear for decades. Is there no relief from it? And for that I am angry. I am furious. I am so so angry.
People always say “oh dear, depression is awful” but then what? What about when you know someone with depression? Do you batt an eyelid? What do you say ? Get over it? Pick yourself up and go? Do you think it?
A person with depression doesn’t need pity or empathy or sympathy or any of the sort, because no one can ever ever go inside a person with this condition. When people are seen with it we say dig deep and push yourself. Get over it, get past it.
What if there is no “past it” … What is it in the mind that makes a person feel: with all the material needs around them, that there is no way out? How many times can a person handle “getting over it?” As many times as it takes?
Does anybody know?
What I do know is there are our heroes: Andrew Solomon, Kevin Breel, Winston Churchill, Sherwin Nuland, Jim Carey, Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie and all the others who suffer silently and make it through each day at a time.
Whether they are big stars or just people with amazing thoughts, who have taken steps, spoken about their experience, made difficult decisions. But they didn’t give up. I don’t say this as a judgement, and everyone IS different… but what is the line? what is the boundary? what is the push?
Each person we lose, we lose them to a battle we are all fighting… An artist in all his sensitivities is just as valuable as anyone else, his or her black dog need not be their death sentence… nor be it the thing that defines who they are.
And that’s why it makes me so angry when one of these occur. It makes me angry and frustrated.
It shouldn’t be the solution.
Rest in Peace Robin…. I really really hope you are… I don’t hate you and I won’t be angry for too long. I truly wish both you and your family find the peace you were after.