The Side Effect of Death

As the world mourns the death of an amazing actor, Robin Williams, the issue of depression is brought to light. Now I love Robin Williams. I always saw him as the most genuine actor you could find. He was hilarious but he also had something about him that was more than just his humor. 

Hearing about Robin Williams’ death was shocking and saddening but the biggest thing that affected the nation was that he committed suicide.

There have been some ignorant comments from people about how Robin Williams was selfish and that those who do commit suicide are selfish. 

Let’s get this straight.

Depression and sadness are two very different things. While sadness is a feeling, depression is a disease. Sadness is simply one of the symptoms of depression. 

Barbara Kingsolver said this, “Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.” 

Depression is a disease that cannot be fully cured. It’s a disease. It isn’t a phase where you’re just sad for a bit. It isn’t all in mind. It’s a legitimate chemical imbalance that causes monoamines which are mood-related chemicals to be very low. It’s a real thing. While it isn’t cancer or a cold like illness, it is still an illness. It’s an illness I don’t want anyone to experience, not even my worst enemies.

Like any illness, depression has symptoms. One of them is wanting to kill yourself. Sometimes you go through with it. Suicide is not a noble act but I don’t think those with depression ever mean for it to be. It’s a means of escaping. Maybe control or trying to be free of yourself. That’s what it is to me at least. I have been dealing with depression for quite a while now but it hit a critical point at the beginning of the last school year. I found myself in a place I never thought I would be. However, while I was at my lowest and at my darkest, I found out that what I battled with every day wasn’t my fault. It was chemical. It wasn’t something I was doing to myself but something that I couldn’t control. 

Growing up, I never really had much. My parents tried their best to make me happy and I am eternally grateful for that but as a child, I was picked on, excluded, bullied, alone and alienated. I never fit in anywhere and the world made sure I knew it. My parents were never really home so I learned to be alone. I also grew up wanting to belong somewhere. I craved for a place where I was welcome. I did anything and everything possible for me to finally fit in. I changed everything about myself to the point I no longer recognized myself. I still don’t. I don’t know who I am fully. I have morphed myself into the image of others that it is still very difficult to understand who I am. With this, I struggled with my faith and often felt and still feel like God has abandoned me. I feel utterly alone but that’s all I’ve ever known so it’s basically normal. 

I’m not the biggest fan of talking about my own depression but I just wanted to make a point that depression isn’t something you just get over. I hate it when people tell me to get over it, to look at the positive side of life, to count my blessings. When they tell me other people have it worse and that I shouldn’t complain, a part of me dies inside. You don’t know what I’m going through. You don’t know the thoughts I have every single day. You don’t know what hurts inside of me. You don’t know. Depression isn’t a competition either. Do not compare mine with others. Do not compare my illness with someone else’s illness either. We are all going through different difficulties in our lives and you comparing the two isn’t making it better. All we want is for you to love us and have an understanding and open heart. Just be there for us. 

We don’t know what others go through. All we can do is be there for them. To love them and to tell them that we love them. To be vulnerable with them to show that it is okay for them to be vulnerable too.

Depression is when you constantly feel worthless and empty. You have no motivation to do anything because you don’t think you can do anything. You feel like the world hates you and you hate the world right back. You shut people out because you don’t think you’re worthy of their love. You come to believe that you are a constant disappointment to those you love. You develop this all or nothing mentality and start to blow things out of proportion. You jump to the worst conclusion as fast as you possibly can. You are sensitive to everything anyone says to you. Being alive and living from day to day gets difficult and tiring. You start to believe that dying is the only viable option. In moments like this, all you need to be reminded that you are loved in so many different ways. You are important. You are so vital to this world. You don’t have to prove your importance to the world because you were born important. God made you because you were important to this world. You are loved. You are so loved. I know things get difficult and you feel the walls closing in. I know you find it hard to breathe and slowly give into the urges. I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom and keep digging. It’s difficult and it hurts a lot. You feel the weight on your shoulders and it crushes your bones. You feel your insides cave in and your world shatter. While you fight your battles, I hope you know that I will be there for you. I don’t know what you are going through and I will not pretend to know but I will support you the entire way. I will help you when you need it and I will love you without end. Please know that. I cannot express enough how important you are.

Don’t ever be ashamed to seek help. Wanting to live without all this pain is not something to be ashamed of. I probably wrote all this in a different post but I’m just reminding you. 

If you don’t have depression, please try and be understanding, sensitive and loving to those who do. 

If you do have depression, I really am sorry and I’m here for you. I will always be here for you. I may not be able to understand fully what you’re going through but I will try my best to make sure that you know that you are loved. 

Please, if you need help, find it. 

Call this number if you need it, 1-800-273-8255. 

I love you guys. 

-Jonny

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