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17 August 2014, 01:00

Robin Williams died. He killed himself.

I grew up with Williams, and he was an influence, a hero, a touchstone for me. My humor and timing I learned from him (and Looney Tunes). I was often touched by his view on life, his softness and a warmness that he had. He indeed seemed blessed in life, in his talent, his life, and fortunes. If you took me apart, you would find good parts of me that formed into the shapes and spirals of my being molded by Robin Williams. I had literally seen every performance, memorized every comedy special, and took to heart the bits of wisdom of Robin Williams. He seemed to be truly touched by the gods. It is a testiment to him and his talent that the reality that he was mortal was so well disguised. He was faulty. He was  troubled. He was falliable.

It is very troubling for most to see Robin Williams take his own life. They cite his riches, and his talent, and the world he lived in as reason why one wouldn’t be depressed. It’s sobering to know that those we envy, those we admire, those who have been blessed, are those who we’ve been blinded to their mortality. The same things that touch us, touch them as well. The wealth, the fame, the adoration, the blessings, do not make one immune to the crippling issues of depression.

William’s death has cause discussion, which is a good thing. The discussion that hit home for me (http://yourmaclifeshow.com/QT/YML140813_Warren.mp3) was when a friend told of his issues and how close he came to solutions that can’t be taken back. And I felt a shame. Shame that I didn’t even know how much pain he was in.

Depression, specifically, probably to most, is still probably seen as not a real legitimate condition. It’s something you can get over if you try, something that isn’t understood, something that is a vague morass with nebulous edges – its SOMETHING, we just don’t know what, therefore its NOT like cancer, its NOT like disease, its NOT something real tangible. Or that’s my feeling when I see people refer to it. If you would only SEE that its not all bad, if you could just look at the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so simple, if you would only see the obvious that it will all be all right. If we would only, only, only…

I have not, to my knowledge, been clinically depressed. I have, tho, seen the darkness. I’ve seen a darkness that pulled me across the line of "help, I need assistance" to "I can’t do it anymore, I’m just going to let go." Before the death of a loved one in my life, I have NEVER crossed the line where I no longer wanted the help to come out of the darkness. All the bad mire I had ever been in, I had WANTED to get out of, I had WANTED someone to reach for me, I had WANTED to escape the black vacuum I had been trapped in. Then, for the first time, in 2007, I mourned the loss of a loved one, and it tossed me into a hole that I DIDN’T want to leave. That is the most frightening thing in the world to admit. That, I wanted to drown in the dark, and I wanted it all to end because I could not see anything else but today. I could not see a future, and the past was something that was dragging me down into a bog. I probably had many around me who wanted to help me, who wanted to save me, but in the condition I was in, I didn’t want it. I didn’t want anything anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t have help. It was that I didn’t see anything beyond anymore – a literal blacked out future. If it wasn’t for a few people, literally bugging and nagging me everyday, making me realize there still was a world outside my own, one that I needed to be in, I would have been happy to crawl up in a ball and just fade away.

Sometimes its not about getting help to the right people. Sometimes, its about noticing that someone needs it. Sometimes, its about invading the protective bubble people make for themselves and really seeing what’s happening.

It was an automated response, "Yes, I’m all right" and "No, I don’t need anything". I felt so low, that it wasn’t a thought of "I don’t deserve help" that crossed my mind, it was an engulfing feeling of "there is no reason for anything". Of course if you asked me am I doing all right or if I know it will get better, I would say "Yessiree". There was no energy, there was no reason I wanted to think up that I should come out of my hole. It was even too painful to try and make plans, to see beyond today. It took people beating down the doors to make me so… annoyed, guilty, whatever… to get up and do… ANYTHING.

I don’t know what chemical depression feels like. And I thought I would never know what depression that I had experienced felt like. I wonder if they are similar.

I wrote when I was going through the dark back in 2007. I reread it and it sends chills through me. I was about two minutes away from just making the burden of life go away. The burden of getting up in the morning. The burden of thinking. The massive amount of effort it took to even get through the day. It scares me that I could have gotten to the point where I wasn’t asking to be saved. Where closing my eyes and never opening them again was a real appealing option. It was real. And it was legitimate. People can fall into a hole, and NOT want to get up.

I don’t really know what my point is on this little rant. I felt like I had to say something. I had to say something to add legitimacy to depression. Because, frankly, until it happened to me, I couldn’t imagine not WANTING help, and not WANTING to feel better. I wanted to rectify that, because there is a little shame I have for not giving it the legitmacy that it deserves.

What I took away from my experience is a fundamental increase in the sensitivity of my radar, and an exponential growth in my nag-a-tude. If you see signs of something amiss, then dig deeper. If you discover pain, dig deeper. If you suspect someone needs help, be the invader. Ask, ask again, ask some more. Check, recheck, and triple check. Keep offering help. Keep making them interact and make the effort. Keep them engaged. This is what I took away from my experience with depression.