Robin Williams died last night of an apparent suicide and today I'm reading social media posts like, "couldn't billions of dollars make him happy" and "he was so successful and had a wife and kids". Obviously those people don't know the difference between regular, old run-of-the-mill sadness and depression, but I do.
When my sisters and I were teenagers our mom was struggling with depression but we had no clue. We found out the day she called to have herself admitted to a hospital for care because she was suicidal. That was a shocker! Up until that day we'd just thought she was working a lot and was tired. She spent a couple of months there and she said it was the best vacation she'd ever had...as well as a lifesaver.
My younger sister suffers from severe depression and is working hard to find the right meds to keep her in her happy place. She has good days and bad and, right now, is joking with me about what a cruel joke it is that she's now dealing with perimenopause! ZING!
Even I suffered from depression 5 years ago after moving to Charlotte and going from a very social and busy job to working for the same company in Indianapolis but from my home in Charlotte. I had tons of friends in Indy but had only made a friend or two here. Yes I had family here but the situation of spending lots of long days alone with no interaction, combined with a hormonal imbalance, caused me to contemplate suicide. At that point I had to walk away from my job and then was forced to sit out of radio for a year. That's when I went to get help.
Here's a funny yet not so funny story. I found a psychologist who was talking me through my situational depression and I really liked him. After the third visit, when I went to say goodbye, he tried to kiss me on the mouth. That would really traumatize most people but I'm a little off in the head so I started laughing. As I left the building I knew I was ready to get back on air and that I was back to being me again.
Luckily for me, my depression was cured when I changed my situation and my mother has been well for years. For people like my sister and like Robin Williams, sometimes depression can be managed and sometimes it can't. The brain is an organ and it gets sick like any other organ.
Rest in peace Robin Williams and thanks for all the laughs!