Good bye, Robin Williams

I am sure you have heard the sad news by now. Robin Williams died, apparently by suicide. It was hard news to take.

There have been lots of good discussions happening about mental health, but I hate the reason they are necessary. People have been saying that Robin Williams was selfish, that he should have trusted Jesus more, things like that. As though faith solves a problem solved by brain chemistry being off. 

Depression is a serious health issue. 

It’s been tough having so many reminders that people I love would think (do think?) that I’m just lazy/selfish/have a bad attitude/believe the wrong things and that’s why I struggle with depression. It hurts. 

I’m not depressed right now, and it’s thanks to medication and time, and a bit of therapy – not because of an attitude of gratitude or any of the other things people say about ending depression spiritually. 

I feel a little bit powerless in the face of depression. Like it’s something that comes on me and steers me, or tries to. It controls how I feel and tries to control how I think and it’s a monster. It’s an illness, one i will probably have to deal with my whole life. It’ll be different now, of course. I know how to get help now. But sometimes even with meds and therapy, depression persists.

I am afraid of the next time a deep depression comes on me. What if I can’t complete my schoolwork? What if I regress in my driving phobia and can’t win the battle against anxiety any more? What if I get suicidal again? 

I have this encouragement – I’ve survived depression many times before. Yes, it’s true that I dropped out of school one of those times, but I was depressed for a couple semesters before I finally did that. And the most important thing is, I made it. I made it out of the deep depression. 

There’s a temptation, when someone dies of suicide, to say that they lost the battle with depression. I don’t like that language; I feel it implies that if they had done more, they’d have lived. But you never know what that person’s depression was like, the lies it told, or how much they overcame to get to the point they did. 

Robin Williams, for one, may have overcome depression for a very long time, and he gave people a lot of happiness and laughter while he did it. 

I’m sad he’s gone. I’m glad he lived. 

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