There has been a lot of discussion about depression and mental illness on my Facebook feed and my blog-reading list lately, sparked as a result of the death of actor Robin Williams, who hung himself on Monday. I have heard a lot of talk about Mr. Williams, some of it expressing outrage at his decision to take his life, some of it wholly supportive. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, and been in a very bad place, I would like to share my thoughts. Take from them what you will.
And that's all there is.
I know people who believe that suicide is a selfish option, and never an answer. As someone who had those thoughts (years ago), I can tell you that it doesn't feel selfish when you're in the midst of it. It really does feel like the best decision for your friends and family. Rational? No. But depression lies. And it can be incredibly easy to believe those lies.
When you're severely depressed and feel like there is nothing else except your depression, you convince yourself that you're a burden to your friends and family, and they really and truly would be better off without you. So it doesn't feel selfish. It feels like a mercy.
It takes a lot to pull yourself out of the well, and it usually can't be done alone. You need someone anchored to the ground (up above) to help you. Someone who can carry your weight when you have to get a better foothold or if you slip a little.
And the help is there. There are people who care about you and want you here. I'm one of them.
If you need help or someone to talk to or think you might need someone to talk to, please, please, please seek help. There are so many resources for people. All you have to do is reach out. I know it can be hard--I've been there--but there are people who want to help. You don't have to do it alone, ever. If you're not sure where to turn, email me.