Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression Is Real.

I never thought I'd ever write anything that deals with mental illness but here I am. After learning about Robin Williams death by suicide and how depression played a major role throughout his life... it clicked. 

Depression is real. 

And it can even affect the ones who always seemed happy, and made the whole world laugh.

That was Robin Williams. 

I felt inspired to express my thoughts, and feelings about mental illness, and how this truly is something serious, and damaging to someones well being. This news was indeed a shock to me. This was a man who in many ways kept the world laughing, and in good spirits. I was obsessively reading post after post, status after status, and reading all the quotes, and pictures that everyone was putting out there on the net, and then it hit me. I literally began to cry. To me he wasn't just Robin Williams the comedian, and famous actor. This was a person who like many of us had issues. Issues that dealt with depression. This was also someone who kept me sane throughout my childhood years. Growing up in the 80's and 90's I watched so many of his movies, and watching Mork and Mindy every week helped me get through the toughest times throughout my youth. Especially the time when I was going through my own kind of hurt and pain that someone else was giving me in my own home. 

After reading about depression and bipolar disorders, and listening to this talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland this past spring really made me think even deeper into this mental disease. Coming to terms about it is not a walk in the park, and those who suffer from it are not faking it. 

Like childhood abuse there's that stigma about mental illness. For some it's hard to talk about it, or to let others know about it. As far as I know Robin Williams was an advocate for addiction, & mental illness, and full of talent who was comical and always seemed so cheerful. It really made me think twice about my well-being and the fact that many of us mask our darkest fears by putting on a "happy face", and an "acting as if" attitude portraying that everything is hunky dory when deep down there's that dark struggle with the deepest pain that's lingering inside.

I have to admit that there are days when I feel that dark cloud hovering over me on the days when I'm most vulnerable. Whether it was the time I had my firstborn child, the sudden job loss, or something simple as missing my family, and friends that live across the country because I feel as if  the friends I have here aren't enough. There are times when I'll even catch myself crying for no reason especially when times get tough and then I quickly snap out of it. Luckily I have a husband and kids who love me too much that they'll find ways to cheer me up. And most of the time it helps. Joy is fleeting, and so i choose to surround myself with it, & when I surround myself with "constant joy" my world is a whole lot better! 

I think of my friends who seriously battle with deep, deep depression, and wish to God that there was something I can do to help them take away their pain. But in all honesty it's up to them. It's up to them to fight, and hang on. To not think that the world would be better without them. To strive harder to find that light that can cover the darkness, and pray your heart out that it won't last. 

At one point I felt that I was suffering from a depression disorder. After the childhood abuse I experienced as a child, and my suicide attempt at the age of 16, and all that I went through up until the age of 20 I wondered if there was something seriously wrong with me. I would always go hot and cold, and even after I married Jon we we're always fighting, and man did I have a lot of anger in me back then. There were times when I would seriously bang my head against the wall & throw myself onto the ground   because I was still in so much pain. Seriously, hard to believe huh? Well...it happened. I often wondered why I was so messed up, and I realized that I needed counseling for everything that I went through in my childhood years. Even after converting my life to God, and His church I was still a mess. Not as much, but it was my choice to want to get help. To not want to inflict pain on myself or my daughter. My husband, who is the most patient man I know, who knows absolutely everything about me, (and I mean everything) tells me that I'm a fighter, and a survivor. That even though I may cry, and stay up until 4 in the morning, and not sleep well,  that I don't wallow in my sadness. That I eventually fight, and get over it. Why he says...because I surround myself with constant joy. And I truly believe that is the answer that alleviates any depression for myself. 

Many of us have bouts of depression and it's okay. It's okay to want to cry, and everyone has damper days. I have many of those, and I'm grateful that my depression never required medication. I have never, ever been on any medication, and I personally never want to be on it. But when you're constantly having suicidal thoughts, sleeping way too much that you can't even get out of bed to work, or tend to your kids, and wallowing with worry all the time, it's time to seek  professional help & possibly rely on medication. 

Because doing it by yourself is not enough. 

I know this to be true because I myself finally sought counseling at the age of 22 for the abuse I endured as a youth, as well as my suicide attempt that caused me to get into a depressed mode. It helped me in many ways, and I consider myself pretty lucky. I don't know what the Lord had in store for me then, or now for me to be able to cope with all that I've endured in the 42 years of my life, but I know that he helped my depression not get so deep. I know that my depression could have gotten so bad, and I believe that it still can, but in many ways I fight it. 

Because depression is a liar. 

And again...I strive to surround myself with constant joy. I fought it throughout my childhood, through the first 10 years of my marriage, and in some ways I continue to fight it today. 

Because I choose.  

I choose to continue to live, raise my children, have joy, and fight this thing called life with the help of my Heavenly Father. It was a choice I made to not want to live with those demons inside, and to free me from those dark days in my childhood that were still lingering in my 20's. I won't lie, and they're still there hiding waiting to come out, but I don't allow them to scar me forever. I won't let it. I have to precious of a life to ruin it. I am able to talk about my abuse now, and all that I went through as a youth with my head held up high. Again...I know depression is real, and by the grace of God he continues to help me through any bouts of it. I may not have it as severe as others, or not at all, but I know this. I get depressed, and I'm not ashamed. I'm not always this "look at what me and my family are doing today, we are so happy person." 90 percent I am, but I'll tell you I have to fight, have faith in God, and pray those demons away.  I pray that those dark days won't escalate as I get older with all that life throws at us on a daily basis, and if they do, I pray my heart out that I'll be able to handle it. I pray that my husband's words will never grow weary or be jinxed when he says to me...you are different, and quickly snap out of it, you're a fighter babe.

Because the day we take our own life, is the day we allowed that mental illness to beat every fiber of our being. And we are worth more than that! 

So...to those of you who have this struggle, don't give up! 

And to Robin Williams...you were my solace in my darkest days for so many years from the time I was 9 years old up until now! You will always continue to humor me with your talent until the day I die. You inspired me through your passion in making the whole world smile, and had the greatest gift of laughter known to man. You made a difference in this world! God bless you! Keep smiling, and hope to meet you in the next life! Nanu, Nanu....

Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.’ – Proverbs 14:13.

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