As many of you know I have dealt with depression for most of my life. I know many of you struggle with it, too. When Robin Williams died last week many were shocked. How could he do it? He had so much. He was so successful. Yes, those things are true but he also had the other side, the side that was sad and dark and lonely. I've heard so many of the people who knew him and considered him a friend say that they had no idea he was in so much pain.
That's pretty typical. Those of us with depression hide it well. When someone asks how we are, we answer "fine". We don't want to bring others down. We don't want to let anyone know how it really feels inside. Until I started blogging, I only let a few people inside my depression and even then I only let them in a little. I never admitted the dark side to any of my coworkers or casual friends.
The blog gave me a certain buffer. I could say things here that I couldn't say aloud to people I knew. I was amazed the first time I wrote about depression that I received so many supportive comments and that so many others were going thru a similar situation. Your responses have helped enormously.
I've thought a lot about response to depression, not only because I feel it myself, but because someone I love also deals with it daily. How do we respond to someone who is in so much internal pain? Most of the time we try to avoid it. That seems most natural. Try to make them laugh and get over it, but we all know that doesn't work and doesn't help.
In the awful aftermath of Robin Williams death, I've decided that the only answer is to face it head on. If he only knew that there were millions of people who would have tried to help him... If only.....
I've decided to talk to people about their and my depression, even though it's painful to do so. I need to get comfortable using the words depression and suicide. I need to let go of the anger that comes along with those words. I need to ask people who I suspect may be struggling with it how they really feel and how I can help. I need to let them know I'll listen and sit with them and do whatever it takes to help them get thru the worst times.
It's hard and it hurts, but it's necessary, because depression kills.