“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The world today mourns a Hollywood great, the now late Robin Williams. Whilst there is so much hurt and pain, death and destruction, famine and suffering, all over this world, we are saddened most by the death of this charismatic actor.
Certainly my generation and that of others will fondly remember him for the characters he portrayed in his movies, not just acting their parts but rubber stamping his claim on those he played. I’m not writing this post as a band wagon coach joining the masses in hailing his great career, instead I think this is an enormous opportunity to highlight mental health problems and depression.
Mr Williams led a very troublesome life behind the scenes, his face was but a mask over wounds that don’t show up on the body for everyone to see. Williams admitted to abusing both cocaine and alcohol during the height of his popularity in the 1970s, He quit using drugs and alcohol in 1983 and remained sober for 20 years after the birth of his first son.
Then in an interview with ‘the guardian’, Williams admitted that while working in Alaska in 2003, he felt “alone and afraid” and turned to the bottle because he thought it would help. For three years, he believed it did, until his family staged an intervention and he went into rehab, he told the Guardian. “I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust — that’s hard to recover from,” Williams finished his rehabilitation in 2006, but allegedly went back this year to an addiction centre to ‘maintain his sobriety’ according to his publicised.
It is widely reported that Robin Williams committed suicide, it seems to be the case, but until coroners report is released I won’t be stating that as a fact.
Depression and alcoholism/drug abuse usually go hand in hand with around 90% of suicides caused because of depression or other mental health problems, so why is this and what can be done?
“You don’t know about real loss, ’cause that only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself.”
Robin Williams (Sean McGuire) Good Will Hunting.
So, what is depression?
Depression itself is feeling generally quite low on a fairly regular basis, making your usual day to day life quite hard indeed. People can vary from mild depression to diagnosed clinical depression, there are other types such as S.A.D. Which is seasonal affective disorder, when the persons mood is effected in the extreme by seasons, autumn and winter being the main culprits when the days are shorter. There’s Bipolar disorder where people have major mood swings, when periods of depression alternate with periods of mania, when manic, they are in a state of high excitement, and may plan and may try to carry out over-ambitious schemes and ideas. They often then have periods of severe depression. So what causes depression? There is no singular cause, it can happen to anyone, the human mind can be so fragile. Why do depression sufferers turn to drugs and/or alcohol? On most occasions because it is an escape, a way to make you escape the person you are, a comfort that you find hard to let go of. I can speak freely as a former drug abuser, for me it was at the end of my teenage years when nothing made sense to me, all the hurt and pain I had endured growing up had all reach a point of realisation that was formerly clouded over by my adolescent mind. I enjoyed the thrill of drugs, they were my reason for my every day. Did I ever try to kill myself (attempt suicide)? No, but I came within seconds, strangely this came after my drug withdrawal or maybe not so in the case of Robin Williams, maybe there is a heightened risk of suicide after the rehabilitation period, should there be more done about the after care of rehab visitors? I couldn’t sleep from the nightmares and demons in my head, life genuinely felt pointless. This one evening, one that will never leave my memory as a constant reminder to myself, I couldn’t take anymore. I went to the kitchen and found the sharpest knife, meaning to cut into my wrists. I didn’t ‘chicken’ out, I wasn’t afraid to do it. Instead with what must of been my last ounce of sanity decided against it, I made a personal pact with myself that evening, I will never put myself in that position again, because I didn’t do it now, I can never do it again. Thankfully, I never have and found ways of controlling the depressive beast that will always lie dormant inside me, through a new drug I like to call ‘outlet’. My outlet began with extreme sports and later moved to reading and writing. Life can be hard, life can sometimes be boring. Having that ‘something’ in your life that helps release some of that fire the beast holds within you can be a lifesaver. Give it a try, whether it’s through art, exercise or even cooking, make sure you ALWAYS have that outlet that gives you a personal escape. For more information on depression and mental health please visit http://www.mind.org.uk
-sources-guardian, times.com, mind.