I saw the first story pop up on my Facebook newsfeed after I finished cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.

Robin Williams Dead at 63

I immediately did a Google search, because I was sure this was yet another internet hoax. I’ve never understood the point of those…what does one accomplish by joking about someone’s death?

At any rate, I was so sure it was false until I saw that CNN, FOX, and the Today Show were all reporting it…And it got worse. His cause of death? Apparent suicide.

My heart broke. I’d heard of his struggles with addiction and depression, but I suppose I thought he was making it through. After all, this was a man that had access to the very best medical care money could buy. He was adored by so very many people. He seemed to have a wonderful family and many friends that loved him.

Yet it wasn’t enough. That’s the scary thing about depression…it sees everything you have to be happy about and carefully shoves it all to the side. It might tell you that none of those people really care about you. It might whisper in your ear that your accomplishments are meaningless. It will tell you that everything is hopeless.

As Jenny Lawson (one of my absolute favorite authors) says, it lies.

Depression is something that is impossible to understand if you haven’t felt it. I’ve seen people describe it in so many ways, yet there’s always someone that says, “Well can’t you just, you know, decide to get over it and be happy?”

No. I cannot put this any more simply.

Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half describes the numbness that depression can cause… Others feel a very deep and sometimes physically painful sadness. The one thing that I’ve found to be almost universal about depression is that some of the brightest, funniest, most talented people I’ve ever met struggle with it.

I have struggled with depression. It still visits me on occasion,  though it is rare these days. I thank God for that. 

I have friends that have struggled, and some that are struggling right now. I can’t say that I’ve been there for them as much as I should have. Depression can also make you a very selfish person in some ways. It can be hard to see beyond yourself.

If you know someone that is having a hard time dealing with things, watch over them. Make yourself available as much as you possibly can. Don’t give up on them and for God’s sake, don’t ask them to just “suck it up and be happy.”

If you are struggling to get a grip on life…If normal everyday duties seem overwhelming, if you can’t muster the desire to get out of bed…If you have had even the tiniest whisper of a thought of suicide…Please go get help. Talk to someone, anyone, until you find a person that will listen. I promise, you are not a burden. Your friends and family love you and they want you to be well.

You are important.  You are loved. You matter.

My heart is broken over the passing of a wonderful,  if very troubled, man. I hope he found the peace he was so desperately seeking.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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