A Great Man, Depression, Masks

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I have not written a blog in the last few weeks as we have struggled with bugs and poorly children but I feel compelled to voice my admiration for a great man who is sadly no longer with us…

On the 12th of August news came out of the passing of the great Robin Williams.
The world of Entertainement lost one of – if not the most brilliant actor and comedian of our time to the dark heavy cloud of depression.
This much beloved man was found in his home after having comitted suicide and the news channels and social media sites have overflown with outpourings of love for this kind and immensely talended man.

Robin Williams was my absolute personal favourite! He was my imaginary dream dinnerguest … you know when someone asks you “if you could have dinner with one person – dead or alive who would it be?”
My most beloved movies would not be the same without him. Dead Poets Society, What Dreams may come, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, Bicentennial Man, Mrs Doubtfire …
What a Career…

Both me and my husband were utterly shocked and have not stopped talking about him since yesterday …

It is so difficult to understand how a man who seemed to have it all and was so respected and loved could have felt so low that only one, dark and desperate door seemed to remain open…
He will be sorely missed by so many…

Along with countless moving tributes also came an array of articles and coverage on the topic of depression…

Depression is still often seen as a taboo topic, spoken about in hushed tones and with bowed heads in apologetic language.
When talking about such a delicate topic one can’t help but feel awkward, embarassed, guilty, ashamed and misunderstood…
Relationships break down, people lose their jobs and liveliehoods and all too often their lives…

We need to speak out about this…

People who suffer from this disease struggle to explain how they feel because those feelings are not something that can be explained to a person who can still hold a rational thought …

How do I know this ?
I am currently suffering from it myself for the 4th time at the age of 26 …

I belive depression can be a one off occurence in someones life – something caused by circumstances such as a trauma, loss or a period of extreme stress in ones life…
And I think there are people who are genetically more prone to suffer from it than others. There is some scientific evidence to back me up on this but frankly I dont feel the need to reference this here right now…

I am very very lucky in that I have always been able to come back from that dark place although admittedly at my worst, thoughts of suicide crossed my mind more than once.

I am shaking slightly as I sit here writing this, it is such a personal thing to share and I have no idea who might read this once I put it out there for the world to see …
However I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need to feel ashamed for seemingly having this predisposition… I’m not looking for pity either, I realise that I lead a very privileged life in so many ways.
I am proud of myself for having been able to seek help when I needed it, being brave enough to expose myself in that way, before it was too late…
And that is the most important thing…

For onlookers it is difficult to know what to do. Words and offerings of help they believe to be encouraging and helpful often feel like a slap in the face.
For me depression feels like snow in March after a long cold winter… months upon months of grey, wet and cold and the deep and desperate longing for some sunshine and green leaves…
But day after day waking up to more snow and rain and cold… so cold you can’t feel your toes… so grey you don’t want to open the curtains because you can’t bear the sight of another raindrop…
Tired all the time… Confused and lonely even when surrounded by people who clearly and openly love you…
It feels different for other people of course…

The point is… There is not much that other people can do apart from being there for those that suffer.
Being there so that they may realise that it’s OK and that they can ask for help without judgement.

Robin seemed to have it all, but sometimes the luckier, whealthier and loved a person is – the more they “have”, the less deserving they feel of the life they are living.
And the harder it becomes to bear the burden of keeping up with the Image one has created for oneself.

Because this illness is still perceived as a sign of weakness and failiure, many people suffering from it wear a mask every day to conceal the deamons within.
And there may come a time for some people when the mask no longer seems to fit and imagining a life without such mask is like imagining a life without lungs.

I truly hope that he can rest in peace without pain and worry and suffering…

“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”.
 Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Robin Williams, his work and incredible talent will not be forgotten.
My heart goes out to his Family in this unimaginable time.

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