I bicycled 1,200 miles of this coast in the fall of 2009. My 6-year-old son died that summer, and I was alone for the first time in my life. Not the alone that you find in a quiet moment with a cup of tea and a book. I mean the alone that follows you into crowded rooms and pushes everyone away.
My happy days don't give me immunity from depression, nor does my very abundant life. Beauty, money, fame, and even hordes of admirers don't keep anyone safe from this mental illness. It can affect anyone, and when it does, we need help.
The lessons that we learn in life are from the hard times. The times when we lost our way, when the path ahead felt broken, when the gray skies covered our vision and when we didn't have the strength to even take and once more step, those are the days we learned the biggest lessons.
Depression lies. It lies in all sorts of ways. Depression tells you that you are worthless and that nobody needs you. It tells you that it cannot be treated. But if you are lost in the darkness, keep calling out. Someone will respond, I promise.
Then came the Robin Williams news, and a profound sadness as I pictured him in his final moments, believing that the darkness of the world was too much to bear. He gave me hours of happiness for so many years. The least I could do to repay him is to not let his tragic death be in vain.
To say that the life of Robin Williams affected only those in my age group would be incorrect. But for 20-somethings like myself, the passing of our most memorable and iconic comedian is a blow to the childhoods we'll now never be able to reclaim.
It's not for me to judge how you process any disappointment you may have experienced as a result of the narrow-minded approach to emotional health evidenced by that test. But when it comes to the emotional intelligence you evidenced by your quiz answer, you get an A+ in my book.
In becoming a member of the club, there's suddenly solace. It's like an enormous billboard indicating: "YOU ARE NOT ALONE." And, truly, isn't that what we all want to know? We are not the broken, irreparable beings that we sometimes think we are.
My father had a huge number of friends, many of whom he had known since high school. He served as the best man in no less than nine weddings. Yet like many comedians, my father's humor hid an inner sadness, part of which I now understand, part of which is still a mystery.
We had been on this carousel together since 2011 -- a seemingly insignificant period of time in, but at present, that's a substantial era of my life. I sit here trying to recount the bad memories but I can barely find a handful. You've made it impossible for me to hate you.
I'm not sure where this is all heading. I guess, if anything, I was looking for a miracle. This blog was my attempt at putting a note in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean; hoping that something miraculous would happen.
While it is natural to reflect on upsetting experiences, brooding involves replaying the same scenes in your mind and reliving the emotional distress you felt at the time. Once you are in the habit of ruminating, the urge to brood can be easy to trigger and difficult to ignore.
Recovering from loss takes time but there are ways to treat our psychological injuries. Caring for our emotional wounds will help accelerate the recovery process so we emerge from our loss with our lives, identities, relationships, and beliefs intact.