Robin Williams killed himself today and my heart keeps breaking over and over again, not for the man I never met, but for the struggle I know too well.
My depression hit me like a brick wall around the same time I started puberty. Once a month, a giant gorilla sits on my chest making it unbearably hard to breathe, moving away only when I stop bleeding. I’ve tried pills, but they come with their own issues, issues that only exacerbate the situation for me. There’s not much for me to do but wait out the flood of emotions, grasping onto any life preserver I can find, holding on to my partner, family and friends for support.
“But you’re such a happy person!” people say when they hear about my struggle. “You’re so full of life!” And they’re right, I am. But for every light there is dark, and with every manic upswing in my life, there is a depressive downfall.
I remember hearing somewhere years ago that Robin Williams suffered from deep bouts of depression and not being surprised. I too was outgoing, loud, rambunctious, full of energy, and horribly depressed all at once. Robin Williams gave my fourteen year old self hope that I wasn’t alone, that someone else out there knew what it was like to be at once happy and sad, an introvert hiding in an extrovert’s body, someone who knew what it was like to battle the quick change from exuberance to exhaustion.
Today, Robin Williams lost that battle, and I weep for his family, for my family, for the families of friends who have killed themselves, for every family who has had to worry about their loved ones falling so low into the deep end that they never resurface again.
Sometimes, the most exuberant of us are the ones suffering the darkest demons.
If you or a loved one are battling that sadness, know that people out there know what it’s like. Know that there are many of us, on and offline, that are here with you in solidarity, any day, every day. If you don’t know where to start for help, try SuicidePreventionHotline.org or 1-800-273-8255.