I woke up to my social media feeds being inundated with people expressing their love for the iconic Robin Williams. Most were fans, but few seemed to understand that just because he was a professional comedian and actor, he was wealthy, attractive, probably had a loving family…he still was depressed and apparently committed suicide.
Bloggers immediately jumped on this viral topic to gain some pageviews off this tragic event. Parasites.
Some posted images and quotes from movies, commemorating his art. Others begged for mental illness awareness – honorable, that. Still others used this event as a platform to spew hatred and Bible verses down upon the weary.
Because that’s what Jesus wants.
He wants His Word used as a weapon against those who need Love and Truth and Understanding. Those who struggle every.single.day. to just complete menial tasks that you take for granted. Just to get through another day. To breathe. To live.
And I don’t discount The Gospel. We all need His saving grace, but we need people to speak with love and gentleness. The Christian church needs to quit spouting off that depression can just be cured with a magic wand of some joy, joy, joy down in my heart, three sessions of Christian counseling with some pompous pastor’s wife who has no life experience, and more church ministry involvement to keep our minds busier.
I haven’t showered in two days. I have an ear infection. I’m going through the motions of doing dishes and laundry and making peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bars. I’m educating my three children really well (gasp!) this week…while I have panic attacks over Liz being away at Civil Air Patrol encampment for.seven.days. These are the longest days ever without her here.
And I remember.
Because I know what I would leave behind.
A husband. Four children. Two cats. Parents. Friends, cousins, acquaintances…a dozen deadlines. They keep me here, plugging along. And I wonder those thoughts you don’t dare admit consciously. Sometimes, everything is so overwhelming. And no one understands.
Depression is not a choice. No one would choose this. No one wants to feel this way. If I had a choice, I’d be any other way but this.
Is it selfish? Maybe. But I felt cornered, alone, lost. Jesus and hope and love seemed far away. We who are trained to never be selfish feel guilt upon guilt and just want it all to stop.
Circumstances don’t matter.
Money and fame don’t mean a thing. Bible verses don’t help. Often, meds don’t help but exacerbate the problems or cause other unpleasantness. We’re surrounded by all these people who love us, but yet we still feel lost and alone. And in the midst of the darkness of depression, the desperation…I don’t hear Jesus. That’s the evil of it. The perfection of the darkness, the loss of self, the hatred of being.
I unconsciously push people away who try to get too close, even my husband and children. It’s not normal. Keeping them at arm’s length is a defense mechanism, a self-deprecating behavior, that we’re not good enough to accept love and affection.
People tell me to “snap out of it” or “pray more” or “seek joy,” as if it were that easy. People tell me to count my blessings. That just makes me feel guilty for still feeling this way. People remind me of my wonderful family and all the places I get to live. Of course, I realize all that, but locale doesn’t make a difference. For all the 1000 reasons to be thankful, if that were enough, then we’d all be shiny happy people all the time.
I was depressed in Georgia.
I was depressed in Texas. (It was triple bad, having had two babies fourteen months apart.)
I was depressed in Hawaii, people. Yes, even there.
I was depressed in Utah. Why doesn’t spring come until July?
I manage it. I eat well and use essential oils and supplements.
But it’s always just at bay, waiting to rage down upon me, ravaging everything in its path.
I make sure my vitamin D levels are up. I make sure I get outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I exercise (sometimes), eat right, and drink water. I try not to take too much caffeine or alcohol because I know that can trigger a downward spiral.
I do all the “right” things…and it’s still there. A thorn in my flesh. A dark cloud hanging over my head. The slug who eats all my flower buds.
Pray for us, friends. Be compassionate. Pray for the Williams family. Pray for all the families who have lost loved ones to mental illness and its issues. Pray for all those suffering in silence because of the fear of admitting to the pain. Quit judging and pointing fingers and offering unsolicited advice. Sometimes medicine is the answer.
Don’t say you understand if you don’t. Don’t offer pompous advice if you have no clue what it’s like. Having a friend or loved one who is depressed is not knowing what it’s like.
You can see, but you don’t really understand unless you’ve been on the precipice.
Step away from the edge.
Keep pluggin’ on. Get help if you need it. Please. Don’t give up.
Note: I am not a doctor nor a therapist. These are just some methods that have helped me through the last ten years or so. Perhaps these resources can help others. If you feel hopeless, please tell someone immediately and seek professional help.
There’s always hope.
More Articles to Help:
- Homeschooling through Depression
- How Kids Can Talk to Parents About Depression
- Treating and Living with Anxiety
- Addiction and Depression: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
- A Navigation Guide to Self-Discovery During Your Addiction Recovery Journey
- Recognizing and Treating Depression During Pregnancy
- Marriage and Mental Health: How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Been Diagnosed with Schizophrenia
- 7 Tips for Creating a Healthy and Positive Work Environment
- A Healthy Home is a Happy Home: How to Optimize Your Home for Healthy, Stress-free Living
- 3 Common Misbeliefs about Suicide
- Resources for Parents with Children with Mental Health Problems
- For Teachers: Children’s Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet for the Classroom
- Promoting Mental Health at Home: How to Design the Perfect Meditation Room
- Healthy Eating and Depression: How Diet May Help Protect Your Mental Health
- 5 Ways to Use Feng Shui in Your Home Design
- Drug Abuse and Addiction: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
- Anger Management and Addiction: How to Take Charge of Anger Issues in Sobriety
- Elderly Mental Health: How to Help Your Senior
- Coping with the Loss of a Loved One