Depression. It is something I am very familiar with. I suffer through bouts of it. I have family members who suffer with it. One of my childhood friends has been hospitalized because of it. To hear of Robin Williams’s tragic suicide today really drives home that depression can strike anyone – including – maybe especially – those in the public eye. We “mere mortals” are not privy to what goes on “behind the scenes” of these stars’ lives.
What really surprises me, but probably shouldn’t, is the fact that there are still people out there who think depression means someone is just “sad” and he/she needs to be “cheered up.” Depression is not just “being sad.” It is so much more than that.
The following comment from Facebook drives home the fact that depression is still misunderstood.
I can’t believe that Robin Williams is gone! Suicide? He made so many people laugh and he was depressed? I can speak for all his fans if we knew you where depressed we would of tried to cheer you up as you did for us for so many years!
I understand the original poster is expressing her own sadness about Robin Williams’s passing. However, she is also revealing just how much she does not understand the disease.
If someone has depression, he/she cannot “just shake it off” or be cheered up by well-meaning people. What works for me does not necessarily work for another person. For me, I realized I need to exercise everyday if I wish to remain on an even keel mentally. It took me many years to fully grasp that fact.
I have to agree with those who say depression and addiction go hand-in-hand. Robin Williams was an addict and he suffered from depression. I’m an addict. I have depression. The problem with my drug of choice is that no one can live without it. Everyone needs food to survive. It’s not like I can just stop eating. I wind up in a vicious cycle. It’s that way with any addict.
It is such a shame that Mr Williams felt he could no longer battle his demons. My heart breaks for his family. I hope he was able to find the peace of mind he seemed to be unable to find here on Earth.