I am devastated by the death of Robin Williams. He was a talent whose genius has inspired me in so many ways. There are memories from my life that will forever be tied to his work, making his loss feel strangely personal. But his death, maybe more importantly, reminds me of the dozens of lives lost to suicide every day in the United States alone. It reminds me of the many, many more who do not succeed but felt that their only option was to try.
I’ve witnessed the pain, chaos and heartache that comes with manic depression (which Robin Williams openly admitted to being treated for) and clinical depression. I’ve seen the impact not just on the person who is suffering from the disease, but the people around them. I know the shock and the questions that can never be answered by a family touched by suicide when someone suffering from one of these illnesses feels that they’ve fallen in to a big black hole and that there is no hope for getting out.
That’s how I’ve heard depression described most often, a big black hole that swallows you up and there seems to be no way out of. A pit filled with despair and pain. There is no hope and no light. The only thing you can hear is the little voice inside you telling you how worthless you are, how hopeless the situation is, and sometimes how much better everyone else would be without you.
Depression lies. It twists the truth and makes you feel you don’t belong with the people that love you. Depression lies. You may not have as many Twitter followers as Robin Williams, but that doesn’t mean that you are any less important or any less loved by the people in your life.
If you, or someone you know, needs help PLEASE get it. Call a hotline. Visit a website. Talk to someone. You are so valuable. The world will be darker without your light.
You are stronger than you image and braver than you believe.
I know this is different from what I usually post, and very different from what I had planned to post today. Let’s just say this was one of those things I just couldn’t help but write. Back to the usual nonsense next time.
- Jenny Lawson (A.K.A. The Bloggess) has written about depression and her personal struggles. I encourage you to check it out.
- A list of suicide crisis lines for various countries
- Boys Town has a hotline to help teens and families in crisis: 800-448-3000
If you have a resource you’d like to share or a few words of encouragement for someone who might need them, feel free to leave them below in the comments. Thanks!