The tragic loss of Robin Williams brings suicide and depression to the top of our newsfeed again. In the midst of the movie stills, quotes, and tribute videos, Social Media users are asking some hard questions.
He seemed so happy, how could he be depressed?
What was he thinking?
Didn't he know how awesome he was?
Why would he give up?
Why would he choose to leave his family?
I don't ask those questions. Unlike most people I am not shocked when a person takes their own life. My heart aches, I get a knot in my stomach, and I can barely breathe. The questions that churn within me are very different.
I wonder why I got a second chance and he didn't.
I wonder why I am still here and he is not.
My questions are different because I'm knee deep in a lifelong battle with anxiety, depression, and fear. I don't have to wonder what would make a person give up, because I have been there. I understand how easy it is to get to that point and that knowledge scares me more than death.
Even though it has been many years since that low point each time I hear about a suicide an old wound reopens. I find myself fighting those old demons once again telling me they still have a hold on my life. I have to block out memories of the day I believed my family was better without me. I have to shrug off the guilt of somehow believing my sudden absence would be easier on my children than my presence.
You see I wasn't giving up because there was no love in my life. I knew there were people who loved me and I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I loved my family. I chose to give up because I thought I was too broken to be fixed and I didn't want to be the drowning victim pulling the rescuer down.
I believed the only way to stop hurting the ones I loved
was to no longer be around them.
Depression creates hopelessness. Then hopelessness takes the one thing that should give us the most hope and convinces us we are ruining it for everyone else. I should have been encouraged by my loved ones, but I could only see them through lenses of shame and resentment. Hopelessness teaches you that you are such a screwed up person that your life will never ever be good, healthy, or normal. The grief, shame and fear trample every encouraging thought that surfaces. Resentment twists the loving words of friends and family into criticism and threats. Distance grows and the rope tethering you to life becomes thinner and thinner.
Finally the desperate soul cries
"Get me out of here! This hurts too much!"
Sometimes darkness wins. It did yesterday. We lost a beautiful performer who made us laugh until we doubled over with pains in our sides. We lost a generous man who hosted Comic Relief, entertained our troops, and supported St Jude's Research. A family lost their father and husband.
Today we have a choice to make. We must choose whether or not love conquers all. We must decide whether it is possible to love someone when a darkness engulfs their life to the point they give in. For those of us who battle depression, we must decide if love is enough to save us even when everything inside our heads and hearts is telling us it is not.
We must choose love because love breeds hope.
Life does not always have to hurt has bad as it does right this moment. Because God loves you there is always hope for a better tomorrow. Please don't give up. Please choose hope. As Ann Lamott said today,
If you struggle with depression or bipolar disorder please reach out to your local physician, pastor, counselor, or mental health agency. If you are unsure where to start, please check out the link below for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Life does not always have to hurt has bad as it does right this moment. Because God loves you there is always hope for a better tomorrow. Please don't give up.
Always remember you are loved by God and prayed for by our team,
(This post and blog are in no way affiliated, sponsored, or endorsed by DBSA. I recommend their website because it is a powerful resource I have personally used.)