It is the 12th of August 2014. The world has woken up to the sad news that Robin Williams has died. As I type it is suspected he took his own life, and the statement given by his publicist is that he was suffering severe depression.
I have shed some tears since waking up. For Robin, for his family. For the apparent endless battle against this joy stealing illness. Against this illness that really doesn’t care who you are, how much money and success, how much love and family, you are surrounded by. It shows no prejudice. I have shed some tears for Robin, suffering and feeling there is no way out other than death. I have shed some tears for every sufferer who wakes each day with a vast cloud. Who wakes in a heavy smog, unable to see the colours of the world, and the laughter of friends. For the sufferer who starts to see only one way of escape.
Depression is a shit. And we are still so far off from people accepting and understanding. And I get it. It is hard for friends and family to understand the thought process or state of mind when someone close is in the throes of a depressive episode. It can honestly be bewildering, and I guess, maybe, “But what have you got to be depressed about?” is a valid question to ask. But depression gives no rhyme or reason. A victim of depression could be on the holiday of a lifetime. It won’t “snap them out of it”.
Because depression is NOT A CHOICE. Let me write that again;
DEPRESSION IS NOT A CHOICE
I never woke in the morning with a conscious decision to be miserable. To miss the happiness. To feel so exhausted and alone and isolated that I started to wonder what the point was.
And so here we are, waking this morning to sad news, about a man who brought so much laughter into so many homes. A man who could shake the blues and mean mondays from so many front rooms, but who couldn’t lift himself away from an immense helplessness this time. From the void that depression puts a sufferer into.
I hope that this tragedy opens up the dialogue a little bit more. To narrow the void between sufferers and those who can’t comprehend it. I hope that from all this sadness, a positive step can be made forward, and that those suffering in silence find the strength to seek help. That people suffering reach out to friends and family and find some energy to say “I need some support right now”. Because we need to talk. We need the opportunity to help each other, but we can’t know if silence over this subject continues to reign.
Rest in Peace Robin Williams, thank you for so much laughter. I’m so sorry you could not share in absolutely all of the joy you brought to the world.