I was in my living room last night and sat down from a long day of work to check my social media channels one last time for the evening when I saw three posts in row on my newsfeed in regards to Robin Williams’ passing. To say that my heart stopped is an understatement. Heck, sank, broken, shattered is also an understatement. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say because I was in complete shock. My first words were, “What?! Nooooo!!!” followed by sadness and for the rest of the evening, I couldn’t shake my somber expressions. I wanted to have lunch with him one day. I really did. Years ago, Rachel asked me that if I could, which celebrities would I have lunch with and I blurted out, “Robbin Williams!” without hesitation. “Why?” she asked. My answer was simple. “Because I’d be laughing throughout the entire lunch date!”
I couldn’t help it. I cried so much last night. I tried holding back tears all evening because I didn’t want to cry in front of my friends. Who was I to shed tears? I never knew him personally or had even met him. However, I couldn’t help it. When I went to bed, I just laid there trying to fall asleep to a Lucy episode and ended up crying in prayer for him, his kids, family and Brooke Anderson. I cried not only because his death was a massive loss me and to this world, I cried because of why he passed on. I was imagining that for a man as happy as he was, someone who was certain to make anyone who encountered him laugh and made it his life’s mission to spread happiness, was so sad on the inside.
Depression is real and can be triggered with hormonal imbalance, lack of proper nutrition, loss of a loved one or an experience of a major event. It’s not just feelings of anger or sadness like how some women express when they are PMSing. Depression is real and it’s definitely not something to joke about or take lightly. Yes, depression is a mental illness and I know some will ask, “Well, if they don’t speak up, how would I know?” Take note of physical signs of depression. People who are depressed could have a lack of enthusiasm and energy and this includes not giving a care in the world about themselves, anything or anyone else. Loss of interest in day to day activities, little to no appetite, weight loss or possibly weight gain, insomnia or opposite of that, hypersomnia are some signs as well as the obvious: thoughts of suicide.*
I tell you these things because I have experienced depression. It all began several months after daddy’s death. I didn’t eat much, didn’t care about school and just slept a lot. I would cry out of nowhere because I would find that everything I came across reminded me of my daddy. I still went to church and other events because I felt forced to go, however, I was empty inside. I was physically there, but mentally, I was nowhere to be found. I had been through so much by that point. I grew up incredibly quiet and introverted and at some points even thought if anyone would miss me if I was gone. I almost died in 7th grade, experienced my parents’ separation, learned to be a mom-figure at age eleven, lived on government help, witnessed my mom struggle and work hard to take care of my brother and I and now, at that point, one of the closest people to my heart left me. Yet, I didn’t even give hints to anyone of my deep sadness until years after it all began.
To this day, I fight it. When a close friend asked me how I overcame depression, I answered honestly and said that I haven’t and wasn’t sure that I would ever overcome it, but that it’s something I know that I can control. Some days, I think about it and some days I don’t. For me, I know I need God, my vitamins and to keep myself busy to help control it. For others, it’s medication. For some, it’s time spent to talking to someone. Everyone is different and takes on this mental illness a different way and I learned that this disease will consume some people’s lives and it’s a hard pill to swallow (no pun intended), but I know that some will be able to fight back and win.
Prayer and words of support encouragement do help with those who have depression, but I’m begging you to PLEASE take your time and take notice of physical behaviors of your loved ones and friends whom you think may have depression and take some time and talk to them. Get to know them and how they really feel. Don’t offer advice. Just listen, ask a lot of questions and get to really know them. Being vulnerable is tough. It’s hard to talk about one’s emotions and say how you really feel because some people feel that once the words are said out loud that they become real and you won’t know what to do when it becomes real. Sometimes, all people need is someone to talk to. Be there for those you love and yes, even strangers. You never know whose life you’ll be saving with your words and their story could save someone else’s life.* This guy described depression pretty well.
I’m with Sarah Michelle Gellar when she said, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” in response to Robbin’s death. I leave you with my favorite lines from one of my favorite Robin Williams movie, Dead Poets Society:
“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
If you want to read the latest updates on Robin’s passing, CNN is a good place to learn more about this wonderful soul. However, let’s not focus on how he passed, but more so why, remember the massive marks he left behind and help others in his memory.
*I’m not an “expert” on depression nor am I a doctor or psychologist/counselor so the words on this post is from my personal experience and how I feel in regards to this topic and not the advice of a health professional.