Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Haven't Most of Us Been There?

I was going to write about something different today.

With all of the stuff that's been going on in the last couple of weeks...I had a lot to write about.  But I'm sure I'm not the only blogger this morning who is changing her mind on her subject matter.

Robin Williams.

He's everywhere today, isn't he?

Yesterday I posted on Facebook and Twitter that his death was making me feel a little weepy.  I read at least one person's response that was something like, "Not me.  I didn't personally know him."

And I get that.  I really do.  When you've been through what we have, we usually don't have the energy to grieve someone we didn't even know - we're too busy trying to breathe in and out after losing someone we never thought we could live without.  So I certainly understand that.

I'm not usually one to grieve the loss of a celebrity either.  Sure, I feel sad knowing that yet another family out there is going through what I've experienced.  But I usually don't feel a small catch in my throat like I did yesterday.

Maybe it's because I always looked forward to whatever he was in - whether it was a movie, TV show, or even just a short interview because I knew he would always do something so unexpected.  Maybe it's because I find it so incredibly sad that someone who seemed so joyful and always had a twinkle in his eye was probably in unbelievable pain for most of his life.

Or maybe it scares me just a little bit about my own.

I would think that almost all of us in this community have probably been touched by suicide and depression in some way.  Either we've lost a spouse or partner to it or we have felt our own depression and hopelessness at some point along this journey.  I know I have certainly looked down that abyss a time or two, but the difference is...I've always either been able to talk myself out of it after a certain amount of time or I've been able to find resources to get the help I've needed.


These last few months have been different for me.  When I started experiencing such overwhelming anxiety that prevented me from leaving my own house some days...that scared the crap out of me and the last six months have been a constant struggle to find a solution.  I haven't been able to talk myself out of it and there have been moments when I find it almost impossible to get a handle on it.

It's been life-altering.

For the first time, I know what it's like to not be able to control my own thoughts and have a physical reaction because of it.  I have no idea when or if I will be able to get a handle on it and the prospect of always living this way is exhausting.  It's one thing to feel sad or slightly out of control because of outside forces.  It's another thing entirely to carry it with you always and have no idea what triggers it and, therefore, really not know how to "cure" it.

For the first time I think I understand depression in a way I never have before. I understand how it has the capacity to take over your life.

Now, I've heard from several people that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand and while I don't feel depressed...who knows?  Maybe I am.  I don't feel that my life is unlivable, but because of this experience, I now know what it's like to feel your life spiral out of control from the inside out and I have a new, enormous sympathy for the people who just can't take it anymore.

Because I really don't think anyone would make a life-ending decision unless they feel like they have exhausted all of their options.

And while I'm so sad about Mr. Williams' death, it does seem to be opening up conversations about depression and suicide that should probably happen more often.  Because I think that while most of us knew that he had addiction and depression issues, what we saw publicly was a laugh and smile...so the problems were easily dismissed.

I'm wondering if the outcome of this could be that we look at each other a little differently, and really wonder and care what's behind every smile we see.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand, but that they are harsher in combination. If anxious, it's bad to treat depression with caffeine and if depressed, bad to treat anxiety with valium.