What Depression Means to Me

What Depression Means to Me

Good morning, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

I’m wearing my serious face today.

We lost Robin Williams yesterday, and if this is the first you’ve heard about it, I’m really sorry to be the one who told you.

At 63 years, Williams had a fairly long life, and certainly one well-lived. As Kevin Smith would say, a big bucket of win for such incredible accomplishments over the decades. Certainly he had longer on this Earth than many artists who passed before their time. But still, we can’t help but think of all the years he could have had left and what he still could have done.

His biggest influence on me personally would have to have been as the Genie in Aladdin, a movie I watched about a gajillion times. But I was also obsessed with Hook, and Mrs. Doubtfire, and … damn, a whole lot of his movies, actually. But I am only one of millions, maybe tens or even hundreds of millions for whom he was a huge influence. From my dad’s generation who identified so closely with Good Morning Vietnam, to the new generation who love him in the Night at the Museum franchise (one of those golden movie series that I can watch with my kids and actually enjoy).

From everything we’ve heard so far, Williams took his own life and spent much of his final days battling depression. As always, there’s not much to say about this except, “That fucking sucks.”

We don’t know what he was on, if anything, whether it was one of the black-box drugs or something else, or nothing. He, of course, was open about his battle with addiction for much of his life. That couldn’t have helped matters.

We know he was unhappy much of the time. And this is someone who was wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of most of us, had achieved massive success and acclaim, and had a loving family. So clearly, these things are not ways to stave off depression or suicidal tendencies, but we’ve known that for some time.

I had a friend who took his own life a few years ago, after weeks spent with his loving friends, spending lots of time with his adoring parents and even just having bought a dog. A really cute dog.

And pretty recently, someone I know nearly crossed that line. Thankfully it was averted. But I had no idea she was in that state. I clearly don’t talk to her often enough. And I don’t know if she ever visits my site, but if she does I just want to say:

I’m sorry. I wish I could see you more. You are incredibly valuable to me and to other people. Please don’t go anywhere.

When things like this happen, a lot of us like to call the person “selfish,” because we believe they were thinking only of themselves when they made this ultimate decision. But let’s get real here. It’s not as though they get any personal gain from it. They only see an end to personal pain and anguish.

would encourage anyone suffering from depression or contemplating self-harm to think of other people. But by that I don’t mean, “think of the effect you’ll have on people if you hurt yourself.”

I mean, instead, to think of the people who love you. And how much we love you. And that we’re here for you.

Talk to a hotline if you can. But if you don’t want to do that, please find someone — anyone you can trust — and reach out to them, and tell them you need help.

Preferably it would be someone you can actually physically be with. But just find someone. It can be me if you need it to be. You can always, always, always reach out to me here through my site if you don’t know me personally: here’s the place to do it. And if you do know me, then give me a call. I’m here if you need me.

I say, don’t worry about the effect you’ll have on us — on me, on others. Thinking that way is what keeps you from reaching out when you need to.

I will not judge you. I will only try to help if I can.

It will pass. Please find someone to help you hold on until it does. And oh yes, it will return one day. We will still be here.

And for the rest of us, those who don’t suffer from this mental affliction, please be aware of the people around you. Keep a better eye, and make sure to check in on your friends every once in a while. Earnestly and honestly ask them how they’re doing, whether they’ve given you cause or not. Be interested in them. They’re your friend after all, aren’t they?

Thanks, Rebels. Please take care of each other. Bye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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