I have about 125 blogs that are fed to my reader every day. Most days I check in a couple of times to see what has been posted by people I admire and like to follow what they are thinking. I checked more than that today.
I have never really been enamored much by popularity. Underneath the facade of celebrity, they’re just people. I guess when entertainers or politicians or sports heroes I have connected with over time pass away, I feel like I’ve lost a friend. Maybe it’s just because I am growing older, but death captures my heart a little differently these days.
Here’s what I want to pass on: Depression, mental illness and addiction are real. But, it seems like the more the stories are heard and played out for the world to see, the more polarizing the reality becomes.
For all the sympathetic and empathetic reactions to William’s suicide, there have been a huge number of cynical, unsympathetic, and judgmental responses standing in opposition to those calling for understanding and grace.
“He took the coward’s way out.”
“Depression is just an excuse for weak people.”
“Come on. Everybody gets a little depressed sometimes.”
“He didn’t die from a disease. He died from his choice.”
If those are similar to your thoughts about depression, I guess I’d like to kindly ask you to keep them to yourself. I’m not usually much for openly confronting people for voicing their opinion, but I just have to on this one. (Btw, if you’re a friend and you’ve already posted opinions about depression like this on Facebook, trust me, I haven’t read them and probably won’t. I don’t spend much time on FB these days.)
Here’s the truth. If that’s what you think about depression, you’ve never been seriously depressed. Sorry.
However, if you are, or ever have been depressed, your heart is broken for Robin Williams and the unimaginable darkness he found himself in, during his final hours.
I have never been where Robin Williams found himself yesterday. But I have walked in similar darkness.
If you’re struggling at all with thinking you might be depressed, I would encourage you to read my posts and see if you identify with any part of the road I have travelled.
From where I sit, depression is real. I have been there.
But there is hope.
And you don’t have to fight this enemy alone. There are ways to fight back. Give me a shout, if you want a friend on this journey.