Today I write you all from a place of seriousness, compassion, and love.
As you all know last week we lost a very funny, likable, lovable, entertaining, seemingly sweet, and adorable human being, Mr. Robin Williams.
His passing struck me pretty hard. Not in a down on my knees sobbing sort of way, although my heart does go out to his family who might have experienced just that – but his passing struck me in a very familiar place in my heart, not because he passed on to another phase or level that which we all inevitably experience on our own time, but how he passed on…
If you’ve ever experienced depression, or addiction, or deep emotional or mental trauma, and I have – then you know how often the darkness can consume you and blind you from all the love, and beauty, and reasons to live in gratitude. No matter how much fame, fortune, success, and even love that surrounds you, if you live your life seeing, watching, observing, experiencing it all behind a pair of dark shades, none of it matters. None of it you feel, and none of it makes you feel whole. It’s like an internal battle with yourself, struggling to some days fight down that darker, emotionally heavy weighted self beacuse you can actually see and feel bits & pieces of pure love and light within shining out. Then other days you fully embrace this darker part of you, like a child and his blanky, knowing that no one else will comfort you in this familiar space you’ve unknowingly attached yourself to, and deeply trust to hold all your secrets, without judgement or questioning. A place where you can sit, detach from every vibrant, living, breathing thing that surrounds you, and shut down…
Depression, is not suicide. Suicide is suicide. But depression does not have to be.
When you reach the point to end your own life, that’s when things become more real than they have ever been. Believe me, I know. It’s like finally you get to reflect on all the emotional pain you’ve kept in and feel all at once. It’s like you almost have a pure outlet to breathe it all in with the choice to breathe it all out and let go, starting your life all over, or do what the late Robin Williams did, and what I too have attempted, and take yourself out because it’s too much to bare. Obviously I am still here and found my way out of a very deep, dark, place that I don’t wish for anyone to experience ever…but I know some of you do. Just thinking about what it felt like to be in such a place that just like Robin Williams was also layered with drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and plenty health issues gives me nauseating chills. I wish to never be that disconnected ever again. That wish is my life’s work and will be every single day.
I can go on about depression, addiction, mental/emotional traumas forever, but I’ll get to the bottom line here –
Do yourself the smallest favor ever and don’t try to disguise or hide your depression through drugs, alcohol, fake smiles, white lies, shitty relationships, or even binge eating. Share exactly what you’re feeling and what is going on in your mind with at least one person. One person who you feel won’t judge you or shame you. One person who just like that dark cozy blanky, will offer you the space to bare it all so that you can finally breathe in fresh air and fill yourself up with new energy and life, if even for a few minutes. Those few minutes are precious and serve you like a literal life-jacket keeping you afloat until the next big wave hits.
I sometimes shared what was going on with me, but it wasn’t as often as it probably should have been to allow me to really feel something different – something better than the hate, anger, sadness, numbness, fear, and guilt going on in my heart. Instead I paraded around with a fake smile most times, or drank just enough to be the life of whatever needed more living. Whenever I had the chance I would cling onto the next person, event, or drug that made me feel more than I could ever feel when I was alone or faking it. That too was no good because when that person left, or the event was over, or the drugs ran out, there I was caught empty in my misery feeling lower than I did before. The cycle continues until a major change happens. Believe me, at some point a major change does need to happen. But that could mean anything! What I wish for you is that it doesn’t mean ending your own life. If I could find a way out of my darkness that began when I was 11 years old and followed me for the next 16 years, trust me, so can you. It takes time, will, trust, and the ability to hang on when shit gets really tough. All that I know now could have served me greatly then, but I get it, I needed to go through all of it and survive to learn from it, grow from it, and share all of it to support others who are experiencing the same. Maybe even you.
So hear me out – don’t be ashamed to share the crazy shit going on in your head or what you feel in your heart. The more you embrace the dark corners that dwell inside you, judgement free, the more you can release it all – let go, and make room for light to shine in.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
If you or anybody you know needs someone to talk to, please call.
One conversation can make all the difference. Trust, You are not alone.
Lisa Grows, CHHC, RPII