Waking up this morning to the confirmation that Robin Williams had indeed taken his own life, has left me unutterably sad.
A friend shared a status on Facebook last night, someone was venting “that 23 returned troops would also take their lives today, but no-one will hear about them”, as she said, it misses the point completely. The depth of despair and darkness your own mind can take you to is quite incredible, no matter who you are, what you do, how much you appear to have. I’m very lucky, my depression is now well-managed by a daily dose of Zoloft, exercise and talking to people I love; as well as learning more about myself over the years to recognise when I need to seek additional help.
I know that when dark images start creeping up on me, I need to take some time out of my life and look long and hard at what is going on. Do I need to have a heart-to-heart with my husband, best friend or brother? Do I need to grab a pen and write, let it out and then burn my scribbles? Do I need to take a long walk, no headphones, no company and just let my thoughts range far and wide until they settle? Do I need to make an appointment with my GP to say, ‘This is larger than I can handle on my own’. Knowing your own personal triggers is easy, knowing when they’re too big to handle is hard. So hard.
But the worrying thing with depression is that sometimes it can poleaxe you. Thinking you’re doing ok, it’s just a wobble, life is good, what do you have to worry about? Out of nowhere a yawning chasm can suddenly open up and swallow you, the ground closes over your head and while it make take only an hour or so to fall, it can take months until you see daylight again.
For everyone who suddenly feels fragile, who feels like they cannot cope with just putting one foot in front of the other, getting out of bed, getting washed, dressed, breathing: please raise your hand and ask for help. The voices that are telling you that you’re worthless; nothing; a failure – those voices are so far wrong. So far away from you, the world is a better place for you being in it. Every life you touch now, will be touched a thousand times over if you believe your mind.
For Robin Williams, it doesn’t matter what he had, what he brought, what he did. For a million and one reasons, his mind got the better of him. For the veterans that saw active service that also could no longer cope yesterday and their minds got the better of them too. For everyone who’s in pain today, do not let your mind get the better of you.
You are worth more than that. Yes, you. Just as you are. Right now, you’re perfect. You may be battle-scarred and weary, but we love you all the more because of it. Stay here, stay kicking and fighting, let us hold you up, until you can walk on your own again.