I had a humorous blog scheduled to post this morning, and then I heard about the death of Robin Williams. I never met him, but know of his comedic genius. I grew up with him spouting nanu nanu and shazbot from my television. I saw him on SNL and loved his movies. What I didn’t see, perhaps he hid it too well, was the we shared.
It’s not an easy thing to admit publicly that you suffer from depression. Whether it’s short lived due to tragedy in your life, or it is your life long companion, it’s something most of us hide.
It’s often seen as a weakness. Something we could get out of if we had the strength and desire to do so. “Just bend down and pull yourself up for God’s sake.” I’ve heard those words often enough.
My depression began when my first child died of cancer at 3 months of age. It was and on again, off again companion for a few years and then it grabbed my inner soul and has been with me for over thirty years now. That may have been the initiating incident but now I am chemically out of balance. Something is missing. I suffer what is called MDD (major depressive disorder). Sure I take meds for it. I may be depressed, but I’m not insane – yet. Without the meds I would be unable to crawl out of bed each day. I would be unable to smile. I would be unable to enjoy life as I do. I would be unable to see the crazy, funny, wacky side of life I love so much and write about in my blog.
I also suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) so in the winter I get hit with a double whammy. Normally by March I’ve begun to pull out of the SAD. This year, that didn’t happen. I had major surgery in February so didn’t have the time I needed to shake off the SAD. I was recovering from surgery and that took all my energy, strength, and focus.
I don’t want to be depressed. No one would want that. I don’t want to feel like I live inside a gray cloud everyday. I don’t like having to spend so much energy fighting to find joy and happiness in life. I would rather write, garden, swim, paint clown faces, anything other than fight depression. But fight it I do and will continue to do.
I’m not telling you all of this now so you will have sympathy for me. I’m telling you because most of you would never know I suffer from depression. You see me happy, smiling, and joking around. You read my blog and laugh at my crazy life and thoughts. Behind it all is the medical condition known as depression.
Depression is a heavy, dark, weight carried by so many. If recognized it can be treated, but even then, it often wins and steals the life of someone we care about. It’s not an easy thing to live with and even more difficult to treat. Treatment is often trial and error to find the right medication. If a therapist is needed, that too may be trial and error to find the right one. The one you feel you can talk to. The one you feel understands. So the battle against it is often fought alone. Those who suffer are often unwilling to admit it for fear they will be judged. It doesn’t have to be this way.
We lost a wonderful human being yesterday. Robin made so many of our lives brighter. Don’t let the loss of this great spirit go without recognizing what he gave to the world, and the reason he is gone before his time.
From the life and mind of Wanda M. Argersinger
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