Battling the Cloud

Image found here.


I was so saddened to hear the news of Robin Williams death. Aladdin’s Genie, Peter Pan all grown up, and the brilliant, funny, talented man who was Robin himself sadly gone from us. Almost a year ago one of the brilliant young volunteers I worked with also had his life stolen by the terrible illness that is depression. And what makes the whole thing even sadder is the accusatory responses that some people feel are necessary in these painful circumstances.

“What did they have to be depressed about?”

“How could he do that to his family/us/ME?”

“How selfish.”

Please, try and understand that depression is an illness not a choice. Please, try and understand that the person with everything they could dream of, everything they wanted, could still be struck down by this appalling, black shrouded thing. Please, try and understand that these are questions that sufferers have often already asked themselves. And the guilt is terrible. The belief that you have no reason to feel the way you do. And having that knowledge not make the slightest bit of difference. Please, try and understand the herculean effort that goes into trying to function from day to day. Like a ‘normal’ person. Like everyone seems to expect. Please, try and understand the fear that is felt. The fear of how bad it will be today, and if it will be better or worse tomorrow. The fear of being found out, of being judged, ridiculed, avoided, blamed, talked about. Please, try and understand that this is not something that can be snapped out of, or shaken off. That it’s not a case of “pull yourself together”. If it were that easy, we would not be having this conversation, and no lives would be lost to this silent, stalking thing.

Please, try and understand. And if you can’t, then keep your judgements to yourself. Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. Some are harder than you can know.

If you would like to understand more this video is a good starting point:

For more information or support around depression have a look at the website for Mind, and for more on ending mental health discrimination visit Time to Change.

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