Depression is not funny: RIP Robin Williams

The death of Robin Williams saddens me terribly - another tragic loss of a sweet gifted soul who lost a battle with depression and addiction. How can someone who appears so happy could be so deeply sad inside? Sad enough to take his own life? He had a wife who loved him, surely there were many others close to him who loved him, let alone millions of people around the world. This was not enough to keep him afloat in this sea of sadness that was his experience. Was it that after 63 years of battling the sadness that he just couldn't take any more and he gave in to the sadness?

Did the sadness make him turn to drugs and alcohol or did addiction cause depression? Probably both. I know what's next - accusations and insults about his life, his struggles. Please don't judge. Until you walk in another's shoes or walk alongside someone you love who fights this battle, you have no right to judge.

I understand the desire to check out - I saw it in my ex husband. He was an alcoholic, a workaholic who also abused drugs too. He didn't want to drink, I know that with complete certainty. He wanted to be free from the burden of his addiction. He was in and out of rehab many times. He went to AA. He didn't attend consistently, but he tried. And in the end he succumbed to his addiction. He was found unconscious in the middle of the night after a night of drinking and possibly drugs. It's not clear if he took his life, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had.

I also understand depression, having been clinically depressed myself for several years. It's hard to put into words what depression feels like, but I'll try.... It feels like being buried alive in loose dirt. You can still breathe, you're still alive but you cannot move from the weight around you. In the darkness you can't tell which way is up, which way you should dig to find light and air. You are alone in this struggle to climb out of an unyielding matter around you. Meanwhile the people around you are completely helpless watching you struggle, not knowing what to say or do. Fortunately, I sought medical care and now I'm free. But the fear that the depression could come back is always there.

The fear of falling off the wagon is always there even for those who are recovering from addiction. It's a constant battle to be won every day - one day at a time.

To anyone who is in this dark place, thinking about giving in, I'd say please don't give in - please fight. For all the people you will leave behind. If you think that no one cares if you live or die, you are wrong. Please don't give in, please stay. You have so much goodness to offer the world, and if you leave this way what you leave behind is waves of sadness for years to come. Stay strong for the people who love you and for those who are suffering like you. Lean on those who want to help you. There are bad days, but there will be good days again too. Please don't go. Stay for one more day.

 

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