I’m really not a starstruck kinda gal. I don’t usually cry over someone dying that I didn’t personally know. Until last night. The local news my husband and I were watching, after enjoying a nice family dinner, quickly flashed pictures of Robin Williams and I could tell they were about to say he died. I didn’t want to hear it. I started to cry. I thought later, “why do I feel so emotional over the passing of someone I didn’t know?” He’s been in my entertainment life since I can remember. I remember him on Happy Days and then Mork & Mindy. I remember seeing Popeye in the theater and my imagination was fed over and over again with this words, actions and humor. My mom loved him. She is gone too. She suffered from depression and I do too. And I know he did too. It makes me sad that he was in so much pain when he brought all of us, complete strangers, so many wonderful laughs and entertainment memories that bond us with friends and family. A priceless skill.
I lived with depression until 2004. I finally talked to my family doctor and he helped direct me to professions who have helped me. I thought it was something I could just “get over.” I’ve been around the medical field all my life with my mom as a respiratory therapist and I worked in admissions at the local hospital where I lived at that time. And being surrounded by medical professions I still felt like it was something wrong with me, that I could change. It learned it was not my choice and I can’t just get over it. I used a combination of talk therapy (as they call it) and medications.
Please remember that depression is not a choice, it’s not just sadness and it doesn’t go away by you taking a nap, taking a vacation, going to see a funny movie. You don’t have to live with the dark thoughts; please seek help. Talk to someone you trust and ask for help to go to seek medical help. Go to your doctor, call 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Lifeline.
We need, as a community, to stop treating mental illness, as this thing we can’t talk about and we feel like we have to whisper about in the shadows.