When I heard about Robin Williams death and his battle with depression I thought, "There but for the grace of God, go I." I was chronically depressed in my twenties up until my mid-thirties.
When I think about my depression and the weight it put on my heart I am humbled to think that others, like Mr. Williams, have felt so much worse. This isn't to dismiss my depression it simply re-opens my heart to the power of depression. The depths. The toll.
Here's what I know.
- When I was depressed it felt like a chemical had been released inside my body that eroded my spirit. It affected me like a virus, made me feel unwell. It weighed me down, ached my head, made my skin crawl from the inside so that it was impossible to scratch. I thought my insides were toxic and that my organs and blood cells had turned the exact color of ash.
- Depression was like diving to the bottom of a pool, then propelling up from the bottom only to discover the surface of the pool had been covered with a sheet of glass.
- Sleep was simultaneously a thing to avoid (since the time between consciousness and sleep meant I had to confront my fears, anxiety and pain) and a thing I could not wrestle out of when daytime came. I regularly slept until 3p. I simply could not get out of bed. I may as well have been chained to it. I never admitted to anyone that I slept all day.
- With depression comes shame.
Here's what I did.
- I couldn't afford therapy in my twenties so I saw graduate students from the Family Institute of Northwestern The program offers a sliding scale. I paid $20 for a 45 minute session. I grappled with the source of my anxiety, mourned my sister who died at age 22, confronted body issues and matters of self esteem. I healed wounds from my childhood.
- I went to therapy for years and years and still go during times of stress.
Here's what I know.
- Depression haunts me.
- I am lucky I found a way out of my darkness.
- There but for the grace of God, go us all.
In an interview Robin Williams did for The Actor's Studio he improvises with a scarf (at 05:04 ) and creates character after character that thrills and captivates the audience.
He is an artist working at the height of his intelligence, joy, spirit and gift. It is a glimpse into his brilliant mind as he tries to explain his creative process. Robin Williams was something to behold. I enjoyed so many of his performances but this one says it all.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized