Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Depression Dialogue

I was going to say something about the death of Robin Williams because it has affected me so profoundly. I woke up yesterday feeling like life was okay and then I turned on the radio and heard the news again and realized that life is not okay and the world is now Less Than. I cried on my drive to work and for a few hours I had to avoid reading anything about him or his death and I wasn't sure I'd be able to function for the day. But then other people have said things in blogs and articles and posts and it seems like a lot and most of it has been said in a better way than I could anyway.

What I am going to say today is different than what was forming in my head yesterday. I want to say thank you for the mostly supportive outpouring of emotion. Thank you to those who have shared their stories about their battles with this asshole of a disease and thank you to those who try to understand it and reacted with sympathy rather than judgment. For yesterday and today and, hopefully, a few days from now, I feel a part of a community that finally gets me. I feel like I'm not alone. I would like to hope for more than a few days, but that seems overly optimistic. The truth is that this death, this loss, will cease to become headline news. You'll go on with your lives, you'll go to your jobs, you'll take care of your kids, and this will become a sad, distant memory.

Please don't. Please don't let this death be for naught. Please start the discussion and continue it. Depression didn't start with Robin Williams and it won't end with him. Many of us will continue the battle; it isn't over. When the media frenzy dies down and the rest of you go back to your lives, we'll still be here fighting. Only that wonderful sense of community I feel right now? That will go away. Depression, being the hateful bitch that it is, will tell me I'm alone after all. It will lie to all of us and push us back into our dark corners. Those days are coming, no matter what I do. It's just a matter of time.

So, please. Find out what you can do for those you love who are suffering. Educate yourselves on how twisted this disease is, how we didn't ask for it and we don't want it. Learn how to help and how to set aside your judgment. Remember, that when we smile the brightest we may be hurting the deepest. Don't forget that. Ask questions, open your arms for hugs, sit and listen, hold our hands. Reach out and don't stop reaching out.

Don't let depression steal more from us than it already has. Start the dialogue now.


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