I was sad when I first heard of Robin Williams' death. What I most remember him for was his role in The Dead Poets Society. His role as John Keating was inspiring as that of a teacher who supported and was there for others. When I heard that his death was an alleged suicide due to depression, I was even sadder. I was hearing a lot of chatter of people asking, "What could he have to be depressed about?"
People don't think rich, famous, funny people can suffer from depression. But they can. I know from experience that sometimes the ones who seem like they have the most going for them can be holding on by the slimmest threads.
Depression doesn't discriminate. It knows no boundaries. Young, old, rich, poor, fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, popular, nerd, loved, lonely- depression doesn't see a difference and affects all kinds of people.
Depressed people are not always the lonely loser eating lunch alone. They are also the cheerleader smiling as she sobs inside. They are one of the boys playing basketball in the park. They are the mother pushing a carriage down the street smiling at her baby, the dad throwing balls to his son, the dancer whirling, the singer singing her songs, the blogger writing. The fact is, we can't always tell if people are depressed or not just by looking at them. There are people, everywhere, just getting through the day however they can to get to the next one. But we can help.
John Keating said: "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
Words can hurt, but they can also heal. If you think you know someone who is depressed, just talk to them. Sometimes just one act of kindness can make all the difference to a person.
One day when I was feeling like there was no way out of the abyss my life had become, and I was about to make a really stupid choice, one person noticed, checked up on me and helped me hang one for one more day. I'll forever be thankful to that person.
Depression is an illness. It can be treated, I promise and I am proof that you CAN be happy again. But you need help. If you think someone is depressed and in a bad place, the best thing you can do is to talk to them -- and also find someone that can help.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.