Robin Williams left our world this week and while none of us knew him personally (I don’t think), many of us know that pain he lived with. Many of us know what it’s like to be at “that point”. I want to share what living with depression is like…from someone who lives with depression.
Anyone who has never suffered from depression and/or a mental illness, in all it’s deafening capacity, can’t comprehend how someone can go there. All too well however, for those of us who suffer, the pain is so deep and raw at times that it’s hard to show or share with anyone. The average person can’t handle all the darkness, which leads to more loneliness and guilt and pain. We sprinkle a little of ourselves here and a little over there, only sharing fragments. Sometimes the pain is momentary, sometimes it lasts weeks, sometimes it lasts months.
I see people’s posts on FB, responses, and hear the talk at work about how loved he was, “How could he not know? Shouldn’t that have been enough? He had kids!” I want to scream “OMG YOU SEE ME EVERYDAY! I LIVE WITH CLINICAL DEPRESSION! AND I HAVE A FAMILY!! I CRY EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE! BUT YOU WON’T EVER SEE THAT! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT ME? MY FAMILY? MY LIFE??” Nothing! They know nothing but what I choose to share. That’s all. “I fight for my life every fucking day…do you?” My pain has nothing to do with my wife’s love for me, or the fact that I have a child, a daughter, or how many wonderful friends I have who adore me…it has everything to do with disease, with the vulgarity of despair, and it is personal, it is individual and subjective, and it is mine. And I own it.
People say really insensitive things. From “How could you be so selfish?” to “What would your family do? Don’t you care about all the pain you’d cause them?” To this I’d say “Of course I care about my family asshole! I may not know what my family would think but fuck if you do!” Lol What people don’t understand is how very segregated the knowing and the distortion sides are. My love is no less for my family than yours is for your family because of this disease. In fact, it may be stronger. The side that knows is always fighting with the side that just can’t breathe sometimes…its smothering, suffocating. I explain it like everyone on the outside sees me as this very busy, all over the place person or this happy and uplifting person, or this over passionate strong vocal person, or this moody bitch, but inside I’m moving sooooo slow, I can’t get to that person you see, good or bad…I’m fighting to catch up with my outsides. It’s like I’m in slow motion. Sometimes the weight of that motionless feeling is so so heavy, and ironically still. It’s deep and flooding. It makes me hypersensitive at times; I feel too much of everything. My translation of that weight of feeling sometimes creates friends, and sometimes creates enemies. But I don’t know how to be anything else. It’s sometimes really morbid, and fearfully comfortable.
I’m sorry when I can’t keep plans with friends…when I can’t get out of bed. When I let people down, especially my wife and daughter. If I can’t “show up” for myself at times, please forgive me when I can’t show up for you. Sleep, eat, work, eat, sleep. It becomes robotic. Sometimes it’s all I can do to function.
I’ve become a master at faking-the-funk. Showing only what I want to, being very careful of who I share that darkness with. Because it is ugly, and mean, and nasty, and gritty, and dirty, and you wouldn’t like me very much if you knew the “truth” about me. This is what I tell myself…what plays over and over again. This is what others suffering from depression may also hear. That voice is louder than any thing, any love, I could feel. It’s consuming. I’m ugly sometimes, and I’m a mean bitch sometimes, and sometimes I’m the nicest person you will ever meet. All in the same day! You might get to see a piece, and that person over there another piece, and those over there yet another piece. Please don’t presume to know all of me. That is reserved for a sacred few.
I’ve always said that if any, one person in my life wants to know who I truly am, they will find out at my funeral lol. When everyone who’s known and loved me come together to start sharing their stories…THAT’S when everyone will find out who I really was…that’s when you’ll know my whole story.
I am so sorry for your pain Mr. Williams…I understand.
Talking about depression, opening wounds, being vulnerable to each other…this is how we start the dialogue that will help heal. This is what saves lives. This is what helps others know that they are not alone. This is what resonates hope…to someone.
*DISCLAIMER: I stress getting professional help and I am under the care of a doctor to realistically and resourcefully manage my medical ailments, one of which is depression.