This post has been on the backburner for some time but I can’t let it stew any longer. Recent events won’t let me keep my thoughts hidden. Yeah, I know I have a long stance on not talking about personal issues but I feel it’s time to come out in the open on something that plagues most writers or anyone with a creative mind.
On August 11, 2014 we lost someone I considered a brilliant mind to suicide. Robin Williams. I’ve seen most of his works and thoroughly loved the depth of his reach. From comedy, drama, and to all out creepy; he did it all. While he put a smile on our faces, demons were slowly eating away at his soul. Drugs weren’t a part of his life recently. He said in an interview that John Belushi’s death steered him away from cocaine that but good old alcohol? It cradled him like a babe.
Someone suffering from alcoholism can’t just have one drink. That is the spiral down a deep, dark path that is very hard to claw out of. It’s a mechanism to dull the pain of depression. I, for one, get giddy when I’ve a few too many.
As far as pharmaceuticals prescribed by a professional not working the bar at the local watering hole, I know first hand about the drugs that combat depression. None will warp your mind into some happy go lucky person. Some will squeeze away your creativity leaving you nothing but a zombie or far worse. That demon gnawing at your soul could grow to heights you cannot control until you stand on that cliff with jagged rocks below, inviting you to spread your wings and die.
I’m of the belief that suicide isn’t the coward’s way out. I’ve been at that cusp, wanting to stick my head in a sink full of soapy water and just inhale. I’m here to say I didn’t have the courage to do it. I was too scared.
Depression isn’t about the people around you. Sometimes they’re the cause, partially in my case, but not the stop all for the root of the problem. When a person is a giver more than a taker, I feel that the possibility for quid pro quo goes out the window. Face it, not everyone is a giver by any means. We all have met that one person that only thinks of themselves. Me, me, me! Now imagine that person clinging to another who is battling that soul-sucking demon known as depression. Nothing in your life is good enough. Your self-worth is a jumbo jet with both engines on fire over a sweeping desert.
We have a breaking point and it’s a bit messy.
For me, my marriage was a sham and I felt like I was nothing but a carpet to stomp on. What I wanted out of life didn’t matter. So, in order to get me out of my deep hole, I took medication. My son was my world and I didn’t want to leave him behind to suffer as I was. Yet another reason I didn’t take my life. At first, I saw the difference in taking those cute little pills. I could function again at work and be productive. As time went by, and I neared the end of my prescription, however, I realized that any creativity I had was non-existent. I couldn’t write one word. Then I flipped out at work, thankfully, after hours. Something simple as forgetting where I hung my jacket had me in hysterics. Was this what my life had been reduced to?
Here I was, miserable in my situation, and taking a drug that wasn’t going to solve the root of the problem. I quit taking them, doctors be damned. My eyes had opened to the truth and, as I said before, I had a son that needed me. I was the one doing Cub Scouts and being involved in his sports to the point that I helped coach his hockey team. Me. The mum. I don’t regret it.
So when I heard the news about Robin Williams, my heart broke. I know first hand how easy it is to hide depression. There’s no physical wounds that show and all we need is that moment away from the crowd to curl up in a ball. I’d smile at people but as soon as they walked away, the smile was gone. All for show. Just like when I was in social situations. Ha-ha, she’s a funny girl. All I could think of was how could I just get a closet to hide in.
To this day I still struggle with depression but I accept that it is a part of me and does not rule my world to an extent. I have trouble going outside to do yard work. Sometimes my housework doesn’t get done because my energy is zapped from the cloud over my head. Worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills or what if something happens to my house or car or my fur babies … it’s just not as easy as telling yourself to ‘deal with your shit’. It takes commitment and understanding and sometimes people are so wrapped up in their lives that they just don’t see it.
Remember, there are no scars externally.
How many times have you said to someone “How are you? Are you okay?” and they reply “I’m fine”. If they’re like me, they don’t want to burden someone with what we feel is our problem. Not really the case when you have a family around you but still, that’s how we feel inside. It’s a heavy burden to bear and not one to take lightly. Why the hell would I want anyone to shoulder the pain inside?
So, as I go through my week and reflect on the tragedy, my mind wanders to Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. While drugs played a part in their deaths, I can’t help but remember how they portrayed themselves in public view vice how they might have been behind closed doors.
I wish depression marred our perfect flesh so someone could see the pain within. I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m asking for understanding. It’s a heavy load to bear and no one has the right to judge someone should they take their life. Sorrowful end to someone who refused to burden others, IMO. Conversely, you cannot help someone that doesn’t want it. Sometimes, they have to look into the mirror and be a coward ….