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On Depression: R.I.P. Robin Williams
By Courtney Barron
The darkness inside Robin Williams that took him from us calls me to write and so I must in his honor and for those who suffer from depression. Now I rarely write about celebrities. They are typically such fickle, self-centered, untouchable people. But there are those rare celebrities that reach out beyond their bubble and stick with us, that inspire us, bringing us endless joy. Robin Williams was one of those gems. After I learned of his death, I immediately picked up my remote and went straight to The Birdcage on Netflix. That movie has a magical way of making me feel a million times better, even with one of its stars now deceased. I needed to remember the joy that Robin Williams created.
But we must face what took him. Many are asking right now, how can someone who made so much light in this world have been so full of darkness? Coming from a family with a long history of depression, I understand this darkness all too well. I really wish I didn't understand it at all. It's a language I don't want to speak but its words fall out of my mouth anyway. This sickness lives inside many people, even though they smile and laugh at times, it is there lurking behind their eyes. You might even catch a glimpse of it if you know what to look for. Theirs are sad eyes, ones that see ghosts.
The world wants everyone to smile, so we the sad ones try, but our eyes betray us. All any of us really want to do is scream and cry because we can't have the gift of happiness or even contentment. Damn biology. I've spent many days in a fog I can't escape, nasty words being whispered to me by some shadow following me around, uninvited and impossible to escape. It's one of the most exhausting feelings on the planet. My own personal hovering black cloud tied to my wrist with an unbreakable string. Every day is a fight to break free.
Close to defeat, it's made me crawl to seek professional help. Sometimes there is no other choice. The counselors of my past and future are my lighthouses, guiding my ship around jagged rocks of despair and back to calm waters. Friends and family have been life rafts for me, as well. Who knows where I'd be without all of them and for that I am forever grateful.
There are a lot of people out there that really don't get what it's like. They call people like Robin selfish for ending their lives. Get inside a depressed person's head for five minutes and see how long you want to stick around. It's a very real hell, and for some, that hell is especially loud and torturous. Sixty-three years is quite a long time to brave such a hell. Despite fame, fortune, and idolization, this monster took Robin away from us. He lost this one battle in a very long war.
O Captain, My Captain...
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
Let us shine some light in this dark place, though, for that is what my lighthouses have taught me to do. In his last act, Robin helped raise awareness of depression. Similar to cancer, depression can and will kill those who cannot fight its spread. Robin's death is a validation of depression's severity and we must never think it is anything but serious.
If you know someone who suffers, talk to them. Lend them your ear or your hand because sometimes that's all a person needs to anchor themselves and breathe again. To my fellow fighters crawling through the trenches, feeling lost and alone, know that you are not. You are warriors and you must keep fighting. Find your lighthouse. Do not be another casualty lost at sea. There are special moments when the darkness parts for a time, even if for just a day, where we can find the light again and remember all that is beautiful. These glimpses of light are worth the fight. I promise.
We can win this war.
#Real #RobinWilliams #Depression #Suicide #MentalIllness #MentalHealth #SocietalProblems #SocietalStigmas
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8/15/2014 03:54:27 am
Thank you. My mother suffered from depression and schizophrenia; I believe the depressions was caused by the schizophrenia. I was diagnosed with depression when I was only 25 and have been battling it ever since. Thank you for your vivid description. I have felt that I'm wrapped in a gray wool blanket and it's suffocating me and I cannot fight my way out of it. And that's not the worst. My heart was broken when I heard about Robin Williams; I had seen that sadness in his eyes since the beginning. And I heard him say on a fairly recent (4 yrs ago?) NPR interview that he didn't suffer from clinical depression; he just got sad sometimes. God bless him; he didn't want to be marked with the mental illness mark. His death will accomplish bringing depression to the forefront. God bless him.
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