Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Robin Williams

Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, [imitating a goat]  "that's baaaaad." Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Dead Poet's Society

One of my favorite Williams movies is Dead Poets Society.  It came out when I was 21 and in college, and it was one of the teenage angst movies that I love and still smile when I think of it.  I also love this quote from Robert Frost, and I hope that I can emulate that in my own life.

I was in shock when I heard of Robin's death.  As the days passed and I heard more of his struggles and the gruesome way he died, I wondered why?  I knew he was depressed.  He struggled with it for years.  I have too.  But I guess I thought as he was older he was past the impetuous age of youth who make such senseless decisions.

As people speculated and tried to answer that very question, more questions seemed to arise than answers.  All these questions and no answers.  I hear of celebrities dying, and the older I get the more commonplace it seems.  Usually they die from an overdose or old age, so it is no surprise to me.  Sad, but not surprising.

But this time, it wore on me. Maybe I felt his pain, as a fellow long-time sufferer of mental illness.  Maybe because I know the hopelessness that he must have felt.  But I also felt for his family.  How could he do such a thing to them?  I know how suicide causes such great pain and grief that never totally goes away.  I have seen it.  There is no peace for those who are left behind. 

So I guess I write this in the hopes that if anyone is depressed and wanting to die, get help!  Remember, there are those who love you and it would break their hearts if you made that choice.  Even if you think you'd be doing them a favor, you aren't.  You will bring more pain.  So get help.  Tell someone.  Take your meds.  Seek support. Don't give up.  There is always hope.

After the first time I got remission from my depression I thought I would never be depressed again.  I was finally healed.  But then I got depression, again.  I soon realized that I couldn't hope that I would never be depressed again.   But I can have hope in the only One who can provide that: Jesus.  God is with me.  He will never forsake me.  God is in control.  God sees me and hears me.  That I put my hope in.  Because people come and go, through no fault of their own sometimes.  It is a part of life.  But God is there, always. 

It took me a long time to realize this.  Even now I struggle with trusting Him.  I guess it is in my nature, maybe every human nature, to not trust Him.  To trust only myself, to want control.  But I know there is little I can control, even in me sometimes.  I can't straighten my spine.  I can't make myself not be depressed or anxious when I am in that deep pit of despair.  All the well wishes and prayers and what not in the world can't change the fact that I have a long family history of depression and anxiety, and sometimes meds are necessary.  And that is OK. 

Mental illness is still so stigmatized, I actually feel angry when people judge it.  I live with it.  It is hell on earth!  I wanted to die many times growing up.  But I was too afraid of death to actually commit.  I just wanted to wake up in the morning with a new life, like a fairy tale.

But I have found healing.  Through meds, support, family, church, and most importantly, God.  There is hope.  I have seen it.  I have lived it.  Don't give up.  Life is too precious to end.  There is a purpose for your life.   You do have meaning, value, and worth.  Your life means something.  You are here for a reason.

Through this terrible tragedy, I can only hope that at least one person will not give up .  I hope that person will make a call, reach out, and find help.  I hope that person wakes up to a new day.

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