This post originally appeared on my old site micksmusings.tumblr.com
I was planning on writing something around Robin’s passing and depression but I think this blog says it all and takes the words out of my mouth. I urge you to read the blog on the link.
I am currently fighting depression for the 2nd time in 5 years. The first time I had it I was 20, going on 21. I refused to take drugs because I thought it was the ‘easy way out’ and I constantly asked myself “what do I have to be depressed about?”.
Only when I was better did I see that, like it says here, that it wasn’t a case of feeling sorry for myself, or having a bad day. I couldn’t just shake it off and crack on. Depression isn’t that nice. On those days when I couldn’t get out of bed, didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to wash, eat, talk to anyone I wasn’t able to just ‘get over it’. Because I couldn’t, depression is that nice.
It took me almost 9 months to get better, I hid my diagnosis from everyone. Only one friend knew, and my doctor. Not even my mum knew. I was at uni, living away from home, and it’s easy to hide it when you are not around people who know you 100%. If depression has taught me one thing it is that it’s amazing what you can hide behind a smile. After I was better I told my close family. My mum, it turns out, had suspected all along but hadn’t wanted to push it because she knew it would make me run in the other direction and shut everyone out even more. She was just glad I’d got my ‘spark’ back.
Depression is isolating, it is lonely and, on the worse days, it makes you question the point of being alive anymore. Yes that might sound dramatic to you, but to a depressed mind it isn’t. It is a real question.
Depression defies sense. There is no logic with depression. This is what I, as a very logical person, struggled with, and still struggle to understand about my illness. If I stubbed my toe and then cried, I would know I was crying because I’d hurt my toe. When you’re depressed you wake up and burst into tears for no reason. It doesn’t make sense.
This time around I was able to catch my depression earlier, with the help of Audrey and Val at work (living angels, those two). They had noticed behaviours in me, and knowing I had suffered before, they urged me to visit my doctor, “fine, if it’ll shut you up” is what I replied. Turns out they were right, after bursting into tears at the doctors, we had a conversation about my options. This time she convinced me to try tablets, I told her my feelings about it being the ‘easy way out’. Her response was “if you had a chest infection, would taking antibiotics be the easy way out? No, it wouldn’t. All you’re doing is taking medicine to fix an illness, but this time the illness is in your brain”
She’s right. The tablets have worked wonders and I’m feeling back to myself. And I’m not ashamed to say that I take them, and that I suffer from depression. It is not something to be ashamed of.
Over 350 million people ( according to WHO) suffer from depression worldwide. Robin Williams was one of them.
If anything good can come from his passing, I hope it is that more people become educated about depression. That more people realise those that suffer from depression aren’t all ‘weirdos’ ‘attention seekers’ ‘nut jobs’. We are just unwell. And we can be fixed even if we think we are un fixable, it doesn’t have to end like it did for Robin.
Let’s break the stigma. Let’s talk about depression. Let’s help those who suffer get better.
Robin, thank you for bringing so much joy to so many people. You may not have been able to see your light but we all can, and always will. You will be remembered as one of the greatest comedic actors of all time. You will be missed.