So many people have written about Robin Williams that it makes me think
What do I have to add? I’m a small voice among the wiser and more eloquent.
In my brain, my unreliable brain, I believe lies like
No need to tell your story. Don’t bother opening up. What’s the use? Might as well not.
And the lies feel so real.
But I can also hear the truth.
(THANK GOD. And a true sign of recovery, beacause depressed Andrea could only hear the lies.)
Since I am in depression-remission, I can remind myself
My words do matter.
My voice is real and true.
There will never be and can never be too many people who speak their truth.
I am devastated.
I am shocked and yet not shocked all at once.
HOW DARE it be Robin Williams and yet OF COURSE it be Robin Williams.
Because beauty and tragedy hold hands.
Joy and sorrow are friends.
Laughter and darkness are so very close.
Great highs and great lows can meet in the same day, hour, moment.
And I am so scared.
Because I’ve been to close to death. Because I’ve wished it and contemplated it. And because I can remember instantly the dark depths of the pits I’ve been in.
But also because I know I have spread real and true joy. Because I’ve laughed and made others laugh. And because deep down I know that, even if in a small way, I’ve spread beauty and truth.
So I’m scared because Robin Williams’ death reminds me that I am never free.
It reminds me I am never “done” with depression. That that struggle will never get conveniently checked off a list, and that it will always linger, always be close, no matter how well I do.
I don’t care if you’re a comedian or a Christian,
Depression, darkness, mental illness-
WHATEVER you call it -
In light of this tragedy, I am reminded of how diligently I need to continue on my journey out of depression no matter how I FEEL.
And journeying out of depression is a hard, confusing, and muddy path. And honestly, it might not even be a reality for some people.
For me, I have been able to crawl out of the darkness.
Slowly and awkwardly and messily, but I still made it out.
(And believe me, I have some sort of survivor’s guilt about this one. Why I was able to crawl out? Why me? Why do we lose so many to addictions and life-ending decisions? But not me? And why them?)
But for me, the journey started off very straight forward:
Getting off birth control pills.
Simple as that. My hormones are delicate and they teeter at any moment. Whether it be soy products or a little white pill.
And it has continued with learning to be emotionally healthy:
Breaking free from codependency.
Loving myself, my brain, my heart, my body.
Not caring what other people think.
Meditation and prayer and journaling and reading and writing and lots of counseling.
Seeking professional help and reaching out to others.
Being happier with less, and stopping with the cycle of more.
Gratitude and contentment.
Understanding that everyone has pain.
Giving myself, and everyone else, A WHOLE LOTTA SLACK.
Thinking bigger, broader, and yet smaller and simpler.
Reveling in beauty, joy, truth, community, family, love.
And it continues daily.
And it’s a constant choice.
And I guess it scares me most because today feel good, I feel REALLY good.
Today I feel hopeful and bright-light-y.
But who knows what tomorrow will bring?
I look at Robin Williams and think
That could have been me, it still could be me.
It’s sobering. Sobering.
But I am grateful that in this sadness of losing this storyteller, this hero, this great master, is some light-
People are talking about depression, mental illness, suicide. Hell, I’m talking about it. And people are telling their stories.
And that’s something. That’s something.
Because someone lost will feel not-so-alone-anymore.
Because someone hurt will be spurred toward diligence in drowning out the darkness and letting the light shine.
Rest in peace, Robin. My heart grieves that you weren’t able to find that peace here on the earth. But I have faith, full confidence, that your life, your story, your legacy, the whole of it, has helped, and will help others.
It has for me.