Let’s Have a Serious Talk About Depression

I know today is the day I post creative writing, and I promise I’ll do something tomorrow.  But I really wanted to talk about depression first.

When celebrities die, I don’t normally feel like someone jabbed a knife in my stomach.  But yesterday, that would be a very perfect description for how I felt when I heard that Robin Williams died.  I can’t think of anyone that was involved with my life more than people I actually knew.  I had hoped that it was a hoax.  But in all honesty, I knew it was true when I heard it.

I knew that Williams had been struggling with depression.  I knew he had a history with substance abuse.  I knew he was bi-polar.

I knew how he must have felt in his last moments.

I’ve struggled with depression almost my entire life, though, to be honest, it’s much less of a struggle now.  I didn’t have normal teenage angst.  My parents couldn’t understand why I just couldn’t BE HAPPY.  Nothing was really wrong with my life.  Sure, I had to deal with bullying.  I dealt with abusive relationships.  But even when things went well, even when I was a YOUNG CHILD, I was depressed.  I missed a lot of school because I just couldn’t get out of bed.  It continued in college (and got much worse).  I was in and out of therapy and taking drugs but nothing helped the darkness that I had to fight against on a daily basis.  Most people in my life didn’t even know.  I always put on a smile in public.  Everything was always “fine” and “dandy.”  To me, I wasn’t even living.  I was in pure survival mode, and I never believed I would make it through the day.

But, I did (obviously).

It’s actually really terrifying for me to even do this post.  I’ve never openly talked about my depression.  It was always (and still is) something I considered shameful.

I really, REALLY think that having someone you can completely confide in makes all the difference in the world.  Sure, therapists are awesome, but at the end of the day, sometimes you just need someone you can truly connect with.  Connection.  Human interaction.  Touch.  All of those things.  It helps.

The other thing to remember is that IT’S OK TO FEEL BAD.  You are NOT bad for feeling bad.  I used to (ahem, still do actually) get stuck in these cycles of feeling bad and then feeling bad for feeling bad.  It’s OK.  Just do whatever you need to do to get through it.

Reach out to someone.  No, really.  Reach out.  Open up.  Cry.  Let someone else help you with that heavy burden.  I promise, they can handle it.  And that load is too much for one person anyway.

Even though I don’t believe there’s a “wrong” way to deal with depression, and I just previously said “do anything to get through it,” I also advise against abusing drugs or alcohol.  You think it dulls the pain.  I’ve also been there.  It makes it worse.  Trust me.  If you already are and need help out, please get help.  It’s OK, you’re also not a bad or weak or terrible person for doing it (get those nasty thoughts out of your mind!).  You can actually get help by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit HERE.

It doesn’t always “get better.”  If it’s not getting better and you feel hopeless, tell someone.  It’s OK.  You’re not weak.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  It’s just some of us are wired differently, is all.

The reason I really wanted to make this post is that I know Robin Williams influenced millions of people.  Almost everyone loved him.  And losing someone like that can be a trigger for more hopeless feelings.

I’m sad and I’m disappointed.  I had hoped that he was getting the help he needed.  But he is a reminder of a fine line some of us walk.

Until Next Time.

For more help (ie, you need to talk to someone):
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Take5
Or send me an email.  Seriously.  I’ll listen (read).

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams

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