Thursday, August 14, 2014

Depression, Suicide, and Mork & Mindy.

I am going to stray from normal writing things today, and open myself up a bit. I hope you don't mind me sharing this sensitive topic.

On Tuesday, my husband and I took a three hour trip to get our fingerprints taken. We’re updating our adoption paperwork, and we are required to go to the FBI and make sure we haven’t turned into hardened criminals since last year.

We randomly stopped at a restaurant call Buzzard Billy’s which serves Cajun/American food. (And, btw, the food was excellent.) The restaurant is decorated in retro pictures, and each table had different themes. Our small square table was decorated with trading cards from the 70s TV show Mork & Mindy.

Have you heard of it?

This, of course, started a discussion about the program, and how it brought Robin Williams out in the public—and yes, I am old enough to remember watching the show with my family. And I know what “Na-nu Na-Nu” means.

So needless to say, when I came home that evening, I was more than shocked to find out that, at the moment we were reminiscing about Robin Williams during our meal, talking about how far he has come and fondly remembering him, was a few short hours before he was found dead.  We could have been even praising his talents the moment he took his life.

That was a very sad and surreal moment.

Robin Williams had depression, like lots of people.

Depression is HORRIBLE.

I know.

I've been there.

I lived in a dysfunctional home and was bullied at school. I felt so completely ugly and unlovable, that I wanted my pain to end. I hated myself. My acne was so bad that every day I layered on foundation to cover my skin. At night, I didn't have the courage to wash it off, because I couldn't stand to see what I really looked like underneath.

This, of course, perpetuated the situation, and my skin would only get worse. The vicious cycle continued until the day when my “friend” gave my school pictures (you know, the one you exchange to each other) to some of the bullies. They proceeded to write all over my pictures. UGLY. PIZZA FACE. DOG. ZIT FACE. BITCH. What smidgen of my self esteem I had left crumbled to dust. It was that event that pushed me over the edge.

I ran to the office sobbing, trying to find someone to talk to.

They did nothing.

I went home, trying to talk to my family.

Nothing.

The problem is when your family is also depressed and suffering, sometimes they don’t have the strength to help you either. So I found myself alone, contemplating ending it all, standing in front of the bathroom medicine cabinet trying to figure out what might get the job done. I had to make a choice. Life or attempt death.

I chose to keep going.

Poor Robin. My heart aches for him. He had wealth and fame and people loved him—just as we were talking about him that very day. But he too was putting on his humor, much like I applied foundation to my skin, to try and cover up what he was truly feeling.

I can’t say I still liked myself the next day after I chose life. I still felt ugly. I still hated myself. My faith is what slowly pulled me out of that darkness of self-loathing. And now, at the ripe “old” age of 42, I like myself. I'm not perfect, by any means, but that's ok with me. Nobody is perfect. And I would've missed out on a ton of things if I had listened to that depression screaming in my ear.

I still have emotional battle scars. I still struggle with forgiveness—and have yet to attend one of my class reunions. But I also have more empathy for the underdog. I feel passionate about anti-bullying. I am more aware of people's feelings. My experience helped me become a better person today.

I've seen a lot of people tweet about “talking to people”. And YES PLEASE DO! Go to your doctor. A counselor. A friend. You might need some medical help. A friend of mine talks about her "happy pills" and says they make all the difference for her. But sometimes even if you try to talk to someone, such as I did, you fail. Or if you are in a situation where you are alone in this fight, or have yet to find help, know that ...

You are important.

You are special. 

You add value to this world. 

You make a difference.

You were put on the earth for a purpose, even if you don’t see it right now.

It may be hard to keep going, and you may not see how things can change, but it can.

Things WILL get better. 

Keep going.

Choose LIFE.

Get HELP

You won’t regret it.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Kristal. I'm glad things got better for you and you didn't miss out on so many great things in store for you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story. Part of the problem with depression -- in my very personal experience -- is that many people suffer from it with no identifiable cause. It is hard for many to evoke sympathy for someone who appears to have everything who says "I feel like I can't go on." But that's the key - it doesn't always have a cause. In many cases (mine), depression is chemical at it's root. People look around and see that you have no "reason" to be depressed and say heartless things like, "Pull yourself together. Get over it." And when you're sick, that doesn't help. But it does keep you from asking for help again.

    Poor Robin. This event has really shaken me. I haven't written about it because it has been tough for me to think about. I read a great interview about him with Carrie Fisher today, though, if you can find it online.

    Thanks for raising an important issue, Kristal.

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  3. Indeed! The way out starts from within oneself, as depression can be something that goes back and forth through your head with anxiety pinging back and forth inside it, often echoing what you think you fear. It all goes on inside you so much, it would seem you are simply creating and inciting those, forming your own shadows you we should be finding your inner light. Press on, keep on, end the inner noise, and you will sort all those out. All the best!

    Rosalina Harford @ Core Therapy Associates, Ltd.

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