I thought about not writing anything regarding Robin Williams’ death. I knew it would be on everyone’s mind and lots of bloggers would be writing about it. But this time, it’s personal. It’s super super personal and it would be wrong to say nothing. Because that’s what depression does. It locks us into saying nothing. We assume people are tired of hearing us complain, we think no one really cares, and so we stay quiet. We start manufacturing answers, saying “I’m fine!” with a smile and yet we continue to despair on the inside. Depression absolutely can be fatal. And I know it first hand.
Three years ago, almost to the day, I lost of my closest friends to suicide. He was my sister’s best friend, and my adopted big brother. Morgan struggled his whole life with depression, but no one expected him to take his life. Everyone kept saying how happy he was. How he was always willing to lend a hand, help people out, be fun and funny…… how could that guy be depressed?
I can tell you how. Because depression builds a wall between you and everyone else. It locks you into your hole, and keeps everyone away. And you compensate by trying to seem happy and friendly, and you get really good at it. You become “the life of the party” or “the funny guy”….. or even an Oscar-winning comedian. All to stave off the intense feelings of numbness, despair, and crushing loneliness. And for some people, there comes a day where you just can’t anymore. You can’t keep pretending, you can’t wear that mask, and you CAN’T go one more day feeling absolutely alone. It’s not a matter of making a different choice. All you can see is one choice. One way to stop the pain.
I’ve lived with chronic depression since I was 17. Chronic depression means that it never really goes away. It means I don’t have ups and downs; my life is a series of downs. I live every single day of my life knowing that I will wake up tomorrow feeling depressed. I’ve come to terms with it; I’ve learned to live with it. But it’s not easy. And there are plenty of days when I don’t want to live with it. When I am just so tired and bummed…. and worse, I’m tired of BEING tired and bummed.
Depression SUCKS. It’s not sadness. It’s not feeling down. It’s like lowering a thick, dark blanket over your whole life. It cuts out love, feeling, and leaves you disconnected from everyone and everything you love. If yourself or someone you know is living with depression, do me a favor okay? Tell them you care. Give them a code word so that they can call or text you anytime and say that word so you know they mean business. Depression keeps us from being able to reach out, especially when things are at their worst. And most importantly, love each other. Love each other right now, because there is no promise of a chance to love each other tomorrow.