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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Loss and Near loss

On Monday night, I checked social media and found the news that Robin Williams, great actor and comedian, had commit suicide after a battle with depression, drugs, and alcohol. I had to stop reading all the wonderful words written about his life because I couldn't stop crying.

I was not privileged to know him personally, however, after becoming more raw emotionally due to the events of the past few days (see previous post), it was no surprise I reacted strongly. Very recently someone I love who is battling mental illness and addiction attempted suicide. Luckily he was able to get help and is still making me laugh every day.

Mental illness and addiction are are hard roads for those walking them. They are hard roads for those loving those who walk them. Reach out to those you love, love them where they are and for who they are.

If you suffer from addiction or mental illness, try to cut through all the disease is saying to you long enough to remember and see that you are loved, even if it's just for one single moment each day. While it may be too hard to ask for help, especially with the disease screaming in your head, maybe that one moment of acceptance of love can bring you a little peace. If you do get a moment of clarity, try to remember to use it to ask for help.  All those people who love you are just waiting for you to ask.

*Thoughts on suffering from depression from a friend that is closer to all this than even I am:

1) You rationalize that love away. You tell yourself, “That person only loves me because they have to. They’re my parent/sibling/second cousin once removed. If they really knew me, the real me, the deep dark parts of me, they wouldn’t love me.” Or you tell yourself, “Yes, I know that person loves me. But I suffer from depression, and I don’t deserve that love.” You are afraid, terribly afraid, of dragging that person down with you, and you think they would be better off without you.

Or 2) You don’t lose the knowledge, but you can’t hear it. You’ve been suffering from chronic depression, on and on, all your life. Or most of your life. Or some of your life. But you’ve had at least one clinical depression. With each episode of serious depression, your chance of experiencing another episode of depression increases by 16%. (I don’t know how to add a footnote, but I can provide a citation for this if necessary.) As Winston Churchill famously described it, it’s a black dog that follows you. For life. And every time you manage to crawl out of a deep dark depression hole, it’s with the knowledge that there’s a big chance you’ll end up there again at some point in your life.

Much love from me to you - all of you - no matter who you are or if you think you deserve it.

*added August 14, 2014 because I thought it was important to share.

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