Okay, I’m a little over it. I’m a little over all the posts and comments on Facebook and the internet about how Robin Williams was a coward and how he made a choice.
Wow! Of course. If only Robin had spoken to these pseudo-doctors. It’s so simple. He could have chosen to live, yeah? No. It’s not a choice. The trouble is depression can take away the very choices being brandied about by these people until there’s only one left that seems to make sense. Suicide isn’t so much a choice when you’re depressed: it can seem like the only option.
Clearly, some people know nothing about depression. Which is understandable because unless you’ve studied it or gone through it you can’t really know what it’s like.
If we wanted to draw some sort of comparison between depression and child birth (just run with it) it might be that if a bloke tried to tell a woman who’s going through labour how easy it would be to get through it if only they had the right attitude he’ll sound like a major dick. And I’m not saying which but in the case of one of these your life might well be in danger. (Hint: not the depression).
Robin Williams is dead. Whatever his personal demons, he couldn’t see a way out.
I don’t claim to be some sort of depression expert. In fact, most of my knowledge is merely anecdotal: I’ve suffered from depression for years and, in my uneducated experience, it’s crap.
I’m on tablets and I’m not ashamed to admit it or fussed about who knows, because it’s not like I’ve chosen this for myself any more than someone chooses to hear a Justin Bieber song over the speakers in Coles.
Let me speak plainly: my life is wonderful.
As anyone who reads my blog would know, I see the funny side of life and I love a good laugh.
I have seven children I adore and a gorgeous wife who makes me laugh and showers me with love. I also have friends and workmates I cherish, and I had a really great childhood thanks to my wonderful parents and siblings.
I seriously have nothing to whinge about.
And yet…here I am.
Depression doesn’t play favourites. Smart, silly, funny, successful, parent, whimsical, athlete, gamer, homemaker, builder, student, banker. It strikes without discrimination.
I don’t know what depression is for other people but for me it’s been the inability to mentally let go of a thought, especially a ‘what if’. It’s a bizarre mix of questions, conversations, scenarios and abuse, all the worse because they’re coming at me in my own interior voice. These relentless thoughts permeate my every waking moment and refuse to let me sleep at night.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to sleep. I loooooooong for sleep. But I won’t give myself a moment’s peace. And as any parent knows, a lack of sleep only makes things worse. It becomes a downward spiral of the worst sort of helplessness.
But I’m not seeking pity or sympathy. It just is what it is.
And again, I’m not ashamed of having depression. I’m not at all ashamed to admit I needed help. I’m just very, very pleased it was available.
But what I think is really important is if we can all do our bit to take this sad passing of Robin Williams as an opportunity to talk about depression and lessen the stigma attached to it.It was watching Stephen Fry’s The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive which finally brought home to me how important it is to be upfront and open about this. I was blown away by Fry’s honesty and openness about his issues. I figured if he could talk about it, so could I. And talking about depression, and tearing down those daft misconceptions, is vital.
Not for me. I’m getting help. It’s vital for the people who aren’t.
The first step is to realize there’s a problem and you need a bit of help. Then to have it diagnosed. Then start treatment.
I’ve been lucky. Treatment seems to be working. I’m on pills and I’ve gone to counselling (pleased to report my counselor said I had an excellent attitude). I tried to work through my issues by myself for years and years, and now shake my head at so much wasted energy. The fact is, I never thought it could help but it does.
I recommend anyone who thinks they might have a problem to go to their doctor and get professional advice.
Sure, for someone suffering from depression it can be a long road to recovery, but it doesn’t have to be all up hill.
Nanu Nanu, and good luck with your journey x
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”