As I sit here on my porch swing gently rocking back and forth with the general rhythm of my own body I think about how right it is that it's raining. Not a soft rain nor a violent rain, but a rain that seems to cry from the clouds. Straight down, with purpose and gentle intention. We lost a great actor, artist, and all around joyful creative this week. The great Robin Williams. It was no mystery that he suffered over the years with drug abuse as a way of desperately seeking peace from anxiety and depression. He didn't keep it a secret. Many folks self medicate who suffer from depression, it's not uncommon... and often because society shuns the sad at heart, those people feel embarrassed to speak up and speak out about their illness and so, try and fix themselves.
It's no secret that I am huge advocate for speaking out about depression. I openly wrote a post in January about my own journey with the illness. And so when I heard of Robin Williams death and the circumstances of which they occurred, my heart hung heavy in my chest. I instantly thought of his final moments, the despair he must have felt that brought him to that place of giving up. And part of me wonders... was it really giving up? I don't think he saw it that way... perhaps he himself saw it as release. Escape from his pain, fear, anxiety, and day to day fight with his illness. It's true, there is no cure for depression. Every time I think I've found the answer, I am reminded that I can find ways of coping and managing it but that it will always be a piece to my puzzle. You can't take away depression, or anxiety... but you can learn ways to live with it. There are times when it does indeed feel like the crutch is too hard to bare, and in those darkest moments it does seem like death would be a welcome escape for some. But that's not truth speaking. That my friend is the velvety fork tongued whisper of depression speaking, and it's a fucking liar. Depression twists everything into knots and creates a false reality, it's a parasite and I imagine it is a lot what the serpent sounded like when speaking to Adam and Eve.
Depression comes in all sorts of varying degrees. It's a sliding scale. Sometimes it is even and balanced, other times severely weighted on one side, and other days it's just consistently and only so slightly off... enough, to cause a daily drag.
Since writing my post in January I have mostly stayed a float and am proud to tell you that the regimen I suggested, works (for me). I don't take my herbs all the time, or drink my shakes every single day... but when I feel myself slipping I quickly turn to that routine as a way of pulling out. It's my safety net, that and openly talking with my husband and most trusted friends about what I'm feeling... even if at that time it sounds distorted by the false reality of sadness.
Maybe now if even for a brief period, folks will speak openly about depression. What it's like to be depressed and how to support those in your life who suffer. Yes, we lost someone famous and that makes us greatly aware of the topic. But people die everyday from dispair. Every single day!
Creative people are their own breed. We feel bigger, harder, and more intensely. We have vivid imaginations, but hurt harder than the average. Everything we do, we do with our whole heart because it doesn't seem a better way of experiencing life. When we are high we are on top of the world, when we are low we are suffocating. Robin Williams was a creative with a extrodinary mind, he suffered.
Dear Robin thank you for all the laughter. Thank you for being unabashedly you. Thank you for using the F bomb whenever and wherever you wanted and for using it to make us laugh even harder than any joke without it. Thank you for the roles you played that showed us humility. For the characters that made us cry, and just made us generally feel more than we are.
My heart, love, and prayers go out to Robin's family... to his dear wife who is utterly devastated.
If you are someone who suffers from depression and feels like they have no place to turn, there is always somewhere to turn. And when that somewhere to turn seems not worth it or the depression tells you that your so worthless that it's no point in reaching out, please reach out anyways.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
You matter. You always matter.