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Writer’s Note – I’ve been on an extended hiatus for about three months. So, I first want to say “Thank You” to all of you who continue to stop by and check out my blog. This blog and several to follow have been accumulating in my head for quite a while.
August 11, 2014 – Robins Williams died today. He committed suicide, as everyone now knows. A truly sad situation for Robin and his family. The death of Robin Williams resonated with me for two reasons:
First, in my 30s I dealt with severe depression. I believe I had been suffering from depression most of my early adult life. It’s not something that many of my friends, work acquaintances, or even family members know much about. I underwent treatment for several years (again, in my 30s) and took anti-depressants for a couple of years. Once I hit my 40s, I seemed to get a handle on my moods and actually “self-treated” my anxiety and depression through positive affirmation, prayer, and exercise.
Depression is a tragic disease that can consume one’s soul with the absurd notion that nothing in life is worth living for. I became depressed even after the birth of my children. Crazy, now, to think I had nothing to give them. That notion of having no worth, however, can quickly re-enter the mind of someone with depression – even if they haven’t “been depressed” for years. I kind of think of it like alcoholism. Once an alcoholic accepts his situation, then he can begin to recover. He knows he can never go back to tempt fate and just have “one beer.” Likewise, a depressed person has to be vigilant that the “notion” – as I call it – never becomes more than an occasional whisper when life is not going well.
Regardless of external circumstances or the balance of chemicals in our brains, people who are predisposed to depression, as I believe I am, can never tempt fate. I can’t let the “notion” run my world.
Second reason that Robin’s death touched me is the thought that being better off dead than alive has been in the back of my mind for several years, ever since I was diagnosed with the large melanoma on my back in 2011. I now realize – following my surgery – that I should have stayed home for the rest of the school year. I was in no shape physically or emotionally to teach in the environment I was in at that time.
When we found out that the melanoma had metastasized in July 2013, the same haunting notion of not wanting to live any longer came back in force. I was scared – even though I had to be strong for everyone else – and my life was completely turned upside down. It felt as though I was living in a horrible dream. It took all of the support and fortitude I could muster to tell myself that I was going to continue living. My children needed to see that. Vicki needed to know that, too. (She’s the only one that I’ve confided in with my true feelings. She know firsthand how precarious my emotional state can be.)
Although I know what I want to do and where I hope to be in five or ten years, I still get that “notion” stuck in the back of my mind. This summer has been extremely difficult, even though I should shout for joy that I am still alive more than a year after my diagnosis. Do I feel guilty? Like survivor’s guilt? Sometimes. Sometimes I’m just plain angry. Pissed at the world. Pissed at God. All of this anxiety, all of this expense. New career with no discernible path. Is this really worth it? I don’t want to be a burden to my family – both emotionally and financially – so it’s understandable that someone – Robin Williams – or me could make that decision to stop living.
|The way he should be remembered..with a smile.|
Finally, I’m amazed and saddened by the callousness of people regarding Williams’ death. I think we’ve become a society of assholes who think we can judge another’s situation. We believe we’re entitled to provide our two cents about any situation that shows up on the Internet. As though anyone really cares. What ever happened to compassion? We found out later that Williams was facing either Parkinson’s or a rare form of dementia. He decided he did not want to face his disease(s). Given my situation I might not agree with what Williams did, but that was his decision. Who am I to judge?
Society needs to get a clue……Depression IS real and it can be tragic.