I've been sitting on writing for quite some time.
And then Monday happened.
I guess I'm still not over the shock of it all. Robin Williams has died. And I understand that media is blowing it all up and you're all probably tired of hearing about it. Fuck, I'm tired of hearing about. And usually I don't let what the media focuses on get to me...but this time it's different.
You've probably heard it by now. Robin Williams, classic funny man, killed himself after suffering years of depression. I didn't have even a clue that that was the case until this unsettling news happened. I'm sure most of you didn't. But it is true, and he suffered it for years, just like so many of us do. And now, finally, the news and the world is beginning to realize that even the happiest people can be the saddest.
And all I can think is that it's just plain sad.
It took THIS for it to be put on spotlight? Millions will mourn the loss of Robin Williams, a man who made such a positive impact on everyone in the English speaking world and far beyond that. Millions will mourn the loss of someone who died from a disease of the mind. And because of that, those of us who have been in hiding for years begin to peek their heads out, and say "hey, I'm suffering too, validate me and my feelings."
And that makes me so mad.
Over the course of the last 7 years, and especially the last four months, I have been told time after time again that I just need to be more happy. That I just need to put a smile on my face and everything else will follow suit. And it makes me so angry because that obviously doesn't work. When someone tells me that positive attitude makes all the difference, I want to punch them in the throat because, to me, it seems as if they're saying "Chelsea, your feelings aren't important. And even if they are true, I don't want to deal with your problems. Your problems don't matter. You don't matter. Pretend to be happy and then we can all be happy ignoring your problems."
Here's the thing that most people don't realize. I AM happy. I feel blessed everyday for my friends, for my family, and for all the opportunities that I have. The problem is when you pair that with depression is that there is a disconnect between happy and sad. They don't work on the same emotional level. It's possible to be wonderfully happy and absolutely miserable all at the same time. It's taken me years to realize, and will take me much longer to accept.
Here's the thing, world. Here's the thing, "friends".
I am happy.
But I'm happy in the way that Robin was happy. The way that a new mother with PPD is happy. The way that the artist is happy.
We are all overjoyed at the blessings of our life, but there are times where we become so overwhelmed by emotions that we cannot control that all we can do is sit in bed with the covers over our head and cry, so that the world cannot see the lost sparkle in our eyes. We want the world to see how absolutely happy we are, and keep the emotions from spilling out.
But that isn't healthy. I was told once that no one should have to go through cancer alone. That they need someone to rely on to be there for them. But I was also told by the same person that talking to other people and having them help your depression is called dependence.
Why is one disease ok but the other one isn't? Why is my disease less valid than another? And does that really work? Do you think that things would have been different if Robin had been open about his disease? Do you think there would have been an overwhelming amount of support put out towards him?
I think so.
But that wasn't the case. He kept it in. And he imploded. Just like people of all ages do. From the teenager, to the mother, to the old grandfather. No one's depression, no one's disease is worse than anyone else's. No one deserves to be mourned less because of how they died. No one deserves to be mourned more because of who they were in society.
And now me, and everyone who has been dealing with depression all this time, are finally standing up, shouting. Shouting for someone to listen.
"Listen! Listen to me! Don't let this happen to me! Don't let death be my only escape. Don't make me feel like I am worthless because of something that I cannot control. Don't make me feel guilty for a sadness I cannot control. Do not make me suppress it. Help me. Listen to me. If you say you're there for me, prove it. Prove that you care because in my mind, no one cares."
That's what I'm trying to say. It's what I've been trying to say.
Things have been getting better for me. I took control of my own life about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Pulled myself off the medication that was trying to drown me, trying to make me feel worse. I took a stand and am refusing to let it get me down.
While I just spent the last several hundred words bashing this idea, positive thought does do some good. It won't completely change anything, but being able to fight the demons and having the stability of mind to do so does help. I'm trying to beat my disease into remission, a personal chemo if you will. I am standing strong, but even the strong stumbling. I am stumbling but I am still walking tall.
That's how I make it through the day.
The news of Williams' death struck me at a hard time. Three years ago on Saturday was when my father passed away. It's amazing how it gets both easier and harder as time goes on. It gets easier to treat everyday as life is going on like normal, but harder the more you miss him. And goodness do I miss him. But we march on because that is the only choice we are given.
In wake of all the events of the last week, I would like to remind everyone to hold their loved ones close. I would like for everyone to say exactly what's on their mind, and to tell the people that they care for that they love them.
Life is short, life is precious. You never know when you speak to someone if it will be the last time you'll ever see them.
If you're afraid to lose someone, tell them.
Hold them close, and never let go.
It's easy to walk away from something, but much harder to come back to it. You never know when life is going to throw you a curveball, and you never know when it might be too late.