The death of the inimitable Robin Williams has been very much in the news, as it should be, he was an icon, and many of us, myself included, grew up watching him transform himself into dozens of believable characters. But if you look, really look, at his photos, quite often you can see this unutterable sadness. Or maybe I just see it because I have been there.
A good friend of mine from high school lost his son last week, from the same cause, and another friend gained as an adult and a pool player, lost a son a few years ago. That pain never leaves. A year before my son was born a close family friend took his life, we are so close I call his mother my Aunt Char, and he & his siblings my cousins, his name was David, and that is who my son is named for, if he had been a girl he would have been named after Aunt Char. I was at Char’s house the night it happened, I was in the kitchen putting coffee on and the rest of the family & friends were outside talking, so I was alone in the house when my much loved Aunt Char came in & went into the bathroom & sobbed, alone, I have never heard grief like that, and in a just world I never will again, it’s heartbreaking. She chose to be alone because no one could possibly handle her grief at that moment. I’m a mother, I don’t know, but I can imagine.
I am perky and optimistic by nature so quite often when I talk about my own battle with depression people are surprised. I have never been suicidal but I have often thought about how convenient death would be. I have cycled with antidepressants almost my whole adult life. I go on them, get well enough to fix what’s wrong in my life, and I go off them again. Now because of the fibromyalgia, which has depression as a major symptom because it lowers your body’s happiness hormones, serotonin and endorphins, I can never go back off of them.
I don’t like the way antidepressants make me feel, they lessen my creativity and I write less. I sleep more. And I gain weight. If you have weight problems I do not see how a drug that makes you gain weight is helpful! My depression is currently mild, I treat it naturally, and it works for me, that is not true of everyone.
I have always been very blessed in my friends, I have had periods when I did not want to get dressed, take a shower, eat, cook, clean, or socialize. I ate and slept enough to stay alive, because I had children counting on me, I went to work to support those same children, but I was in a dark and scary place, and sometimes I think it is a miracle I am still here. I remember years ago, about a year after my divorce, my son had been in and out of pediatric intensive care for severe hypertension, he was 13, and my 16 year old daughter was going through chemo and lost all her hair, I sent my kids to see family for a month, and other than work I had not gotten dressed at all. I drank a lot. Another nurse came to my house, literally put me in the shower, and took me to the races to see her husband drive.
It’s a small thing but it was a turning point for me. My friend got drunk and I had to drive her van home and she was so funny I could not stop laughing… sometimes, if you can find something to laugh at, you can find a path. That is not the same as making other people laugh, at all.
The worst thing about depression is that you can pass it on, my beautiful kids battle it, and my mother and sister. My kids also inherited my scoliosis. Stick straight hair when I have curls, but bad backs and goofy hormones, ridiculous.
I hope when you decided to read this you weren’t looking for a magic cure, there isn’t one, different things work for different people. When you have good moments store them up, use them as feed when you feel empty. When you are so empty you cannot find good memories please get help, the universe needs you, I promise. What I am hoping to give you is a little perspective, a little compassion, and knowledge that sometimes people who seem very positive are filled with a sadness they can hardly bear. Awareness helps, treatment helps more. Love peace & hugs… Mama