Comedian Robin Williams and Me

What I Had in Common With Robin Williams

I clearly remember when the actor and comedian Robin Williams committed suicide in 2014 and how millions of people, myself included, mourned the loss of this beloved comedian and humanitarian.

But what I remember MOST was thinking “I know what it feels like to want to do that.” I knew the feeling of deeming my life so unworthy, that I wanted to end it all.

I know that there is a stark contrast between Robin Williams and myself in that he was wildly successful, while on the other hand, I viewed my life as a series of failures. It was my repeated and perceived failures that culminated in the form of depression for me in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Funny thing is, as successful as Robin Williams was, he probably viewed himself as a failure too. Depression isn’t A discriminatory illness. It affects people from all walks of life: status is not a factor. Fortunately for me, although I didn’t want to live, I still kept looking for hope anywhere I could find it and sought out ways and reasons to stay alive. There was my daughter of course.

• There were a string of psychiatrists
• psychologists
• medications
• a 780 mile trek home to Detroit to live with my Momma and
• Several hundred dollars investment in a program called Attacking Anxiety and Depression that I saw in a full-page ad in the Detroit News and I called the 1-800 number on the SPOT!

None of these things seem to work at the time but in retrospect they kept me hanging on long enough for God to be able to get through to me. You’ll read about that in the I Am Woman book, but let me shift for just a minute, because I would be remiss if I didn’t say this:  Unlike Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Lung or Heart Disease, Mental illness, including depression, is an illness of shame, thus making it extremely difficult to come forth and admit there’s a problem. Nobody wants to talk about it or confront the reality of it.

I kept it to myself for a year or two and once I was finally able to talk about it, people tried to reason with me but to no avail because depression defies logic. Depression cannot distinguish the difference between the truth and a lie and because of that, I had such a faulty belief system until all the bad things that I told myself about myself, became the truth in my mind. That’s how depression works. If you are fortunate enough to recognize depression, whether it be you or someone who you love, I want to encourage you to look for hope and keep looking for hope even if it feels like you’re grasping at straws and to seek people to talk to sooner than later.

I’m hopeful that someday society will remove the stigma so that people will seek treatment sooner and begin the healing process faster. I wouldn’t want anyone to live with depression as long as I did and certainly not as long as Robin Williams did.

photo credit: beautiful young woman in bath via photopin (license)

“Every day presents another opportunity to hit the reset button on your life.” Charita Cadenhead

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