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I generally pay little attention to celebrity gossip, lifestyles, etc. I can’t say that I care who Kim Kardashian dates or what publicity stunt Justin Bieber did last week. I do not know these people. In most cases I have no desire to know these people. Therefore I do not wish to dedicate anymore of my precious brain matter to following their lives than I absolutely have to. Except for times like this, when the news hits so close to home that you can’t help but lose your breath for a few seconds.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, this evening’s big news story is the death of Robin Williams, in what appears to be a suicide. Along with the usual comments about how much he will be missed and how much of a comic genius he was, the other observation was that he never appeared to be battling depression and it just goes to show that you don’t always know what someone is going through.

This was what got me. From the first time I tried to tell my mother that I thought I was depressed to even my sessions with my psychiatrist, the consensus always seems to be that I don’t look or act depressed. It didn’t matter what kind of storms brewed inside me, on the outside I appeared “normal.” I don’t know why I hid my feelings. I’m not even sure it was ever something I consciously did. I realize hiding my feelings probably helped me in a lot of situations, such as work. But it also made it harder to fix myself. After all, if everyone tells me I’m fine, I have an excuse to ignore what my mind is telling me. It’s just hormones. I just need sleep. It will all feel better in the morning.

I attempted to take my own life when I was in high school and swore that it was something I would never resort to again. But I know how it feels to be so overwhelmed and to feel so cornered by demons. I’ve lived through the darkness of believing that the only escape is through death. It sucks. It’s a pain that I would never wish on another human being.

As the world mourns the loss of a great man, I hope that the tragedy of his death helps to raise awareness of the illnesses that can’t always be seen, and how they can affect any one of us, regardless of the face we show to the world.

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