The suicide of Robin Wiliams has done an interesting thing on my social media feeds. There seems to be a spot light on the topic of depression. I came across this TED talk and was brought to tears. I balled as I listened to Andrew Soloman’s voice say the transcript as I followed. I paused a few times and with an ache in my belly, tears flowed down my cheeks. After watching it, I wept for a couple minutes, just letting it out. This video hit close to home. Every single word. Every single phrase. Typically, I can’t bring myself to tears and instead lay for a while with a numb mind and body.
I have had depression since I can remember. I believe I was born sad, seriously my initials are S.A.D., and that convinced me that I was doomed. I’ve gone through life experiencing waves of depression, much of it I didn’t know whether to call it depression or not. I look at the chapters of my life and see a book of sadness with splatters of happiness. I try to find what the root of it is, and continually there are different causes - many that seem simple, many I find are stupid, and some I feel are justified. Regardless of that facts that I have a job I’m enjoying, a partner who I love, friends to give me company, or food in my refrigerator, there is this blanket foundation of heavy sadness that I am unable to shake from my body. I live a privileged and beautiful life, yet this shadow seems to follow me. These past few months have been difficult, not because of any event, but just emotionally. I have not found happiness or interests in anything. I have began resenting and being short tempered with people. I feel myself becoming a dark person, one that I do not like and wished to never become - even found incapable of being.
My life has been a continuation of searching for the cause of depression, sadness, and happiness, as well as whether life is meaningful and worth living based on my own terms. In high school I wanted to study psychology based on my fascination and desire to study mental phenomenons (but I guess not really unusually, more so seemingly common), such as depression. I found disliking the ways my psychology professors in college spoke with a language of the problem being the burden of the individual, where, in contrast, my sociology classes spoke of the problem being larger than the individual and more about institutions and systems. My past is a large blur most of the time, and I have an inner dialogue of denial within myself discussing if what I am experiencing is depression or not.
I think it is a wonderful thing that Robin Williams has done for such a large amount of people. Any type of person, no matter how talented, wealthy, or famous - no matter how happy and good their life may seem, can suffer from depression. It’s really time we take the stigma off of it and look at sadness, approach it head on, feel it and learn from it rather than masking, hiding, and ignoring it.