POST SOUNDTRACK: Tears of a clown by Smokey Robinson
**I have said some of these things before, but this is a case where repetition is necessary. I hope you read all the way through. It could be lifesaving.*
The role you play as an entertainer/artist is to touch peoples hearts, to inspire. Something which in this day and age seems so lost to so many people seeking fame for all the wrong reasons.
I always knew that I wanted to entertain in one way or the other. I wanted to provide people with joy, music and creativity. I wanted to have a voice that connected and brought joy to someones life. The greatest entertainers will never know just how many lives they have touched, how something they contributed with has changed and inspired the lives of others.
I was so broken to see the news of Robin Williams passing, I grew up with him making me laugh and think. As funny as he was, it was his dramatic roles that had some incredible speeches about; life, love and poetry. Also laughter truly is the best medicine, he knew that, so he made the world laugh. Wish I could have returned that gift.
But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about the disease that sadly took him. One, like me, he was very open about.
On this blog I’ve always been incredible open about my own personal demons and vulnerability. I believe in transparency because the more people that are open and completely honest, the more people who suffer from this will maybe have the courage to seek help. I have always been adamant that exposing my vulnerability and darkness not only saves me, but makes me stronger.
I started this blog during one of the darkest times of my lives. In 2007-2008 I spent months in bed with constant tears and the darkest of thoughts. I could not move, my passion, my spirit was all gone. Yet I was surrounded by love, I had the strongest foundation of a support system.
I think this is where this disease gets easily disregarded. I mean, my life is good, I am surrounded by support. Or in Mr. Williams case, how could he possibly have a bad life? He can’t possibly be in such bad shape. Why would he complain?
That level of thought just frustrates me.
Understand that depression is an illness and should be treated seriously. No matter how mild the symptoms, you need to be able to recognize them.
You loose perspective on sensibility when you are depressed. A depressed persons brain does not function like someone with a healthy brain. A healthy mind can think rationally. A morbid brain cannot think with rationale, it’s distorted. It can’t see any other answer. It pushes the brain to places you never knew you had. You can’t tell what is real and what makes common sense.
It saddens me when people judge and say it’s selfish to take “the easy way out.” Nothing about it is easy whoever comes to that tragic decision, it’s really hard actually. But in their mind, they think the world is better off without. They believe that they are actually doing people a favor. They feel hopeless looking at their loved ones, it pains them more to know you have to suffer because they suffer. So your irrational brain can make you believe you are better off. It’s so sad.
I created this space as an outlet for my dark thoughts. I wrote everyday of what I was going through. They were graphic and incredibly heartbreaking confessions. My mind was not in a state considered norm.
Then one day comments starting coming in and strangers were sharing their experiences. Thanking me for my courage to be so open. I was not alone. You can be surrounded by love when depressed yet feel so alone in this world. These strangers from around the world would check in on my blog to see how I was doing and offered their support with their own experiences. I was educated and found strength to get out of bed and have my family take me to see a therapist.
To be honest, this very blog saved me. It sounds cliche, but it is the truth. The written words gave me so much perspective and space for reflection during a time I could not fathom to take one step outside. Instead I would sit in bed with my laptop and get lost with my words.
I found out I had a dark comedic voice, I chose to try and write in a “comedic” tone to ease that level of discomfort of some of the things I confessed was on my mind. It was my coping mechanism.
I have always made a point to be open about my depression, that till this day it is something I work on E V E R Y single day. It is something I am proud of, that I’m not afraid to share my deepest weaknesses. That I take medication, get psychiatric help and I am not ashamed of it. Because I can recognize that I have a sickness that is so dangerous because it can be so cleverly disguised and invisible. There are different types of depression, please educate yourself on this. I have clinical depression that was passed on genetically, I will always have it. I could not wish it upon anyone to be in that dark place. Till this day of my biggest challenges is being able to be completely honest about it without making others feel scared or uncomfortable. I love to educate people about it, to make them see things form another perspective. (Thank you, Dead poets society.)
I will tell you this right now, all I did when I was depressed was have morbid thoughts. I just saw death everywhere I went. When my friends asked me how I was doing, I would always reply.
“Well I’m not dead yet. But I do fantasize how if sticking a fork in an electrical shock would be a fun way to go.”
My friends would be mortified when I uttered these words. To be honest I didn’t say it for attention, I didn’t say I was going to do it. It was the honest truth of what I was thinking about. I was told it was not funny, and I shouldn’t talk like that.
But YOU need to understand that sometimes, saying things in a self deprecating comedic way was the only way I could honestly say what was happening inside me. If you really listen, you can hear a depressed person reach out. Please, if you hear that tone in someone’s voice, and most of the time it will come out in a self-deprecating way. Please take a moment aside and talk to that person, don’t just say-
I am here if you if you need me.
Tell them you can hear them. You need to check in on them, because hardly do they reach out. A depressed person never wants to burden anyone with their state of mind. I honestly thought people would only listen because they were polite or out of guilt.
One thing I learned is, if you yourself have not experienced this darkness then you have no idea what you are talking about. Depression is not like heartbreak, which I often mistook the two. It’s both very painful. Not to disregard heartbreak, but you can’t treat a depressed person the same you would a heartbroken person. Sometimes you don’t even feel a single emotion, it’s like your body is an empty vessel.
My biggest struggle was living my life with people who didn’t understand depression and did not take it seriously or avoided it. I’ve had relationships were the unwillingness to educate brought up a barrier.
I really wish it was mandatory to educate people what depression really is. How to go about if a loved one in your life suffers with this. With the best of intention, the wrong thing always gets said. How to read the signs.
I mentioned that I still work everyday not to fall into that place. Therapy has been a savior combined with medicine. But some circumstances can set into motion a spiral where it still takes me days to recover. I will admit that I have in these past months struggled with depression. It’s not as heavy but it’s there. I have through therapy learned how to build muscles on how to cope and diffuse.
Because I know where my mind can go, I always try to take action when something bothers me. My mental health is very important to me because it is what makes me function. I try to tell people if they are doing something that makes me uncomfortable. Sadly sometimes pride often come in the way of some people and I have found when I try to take care of myself, I instead create enemies. I get looked at as the bad person. I’m not saying this gives me a pass to get away with shit, but at least I am aware of my faults. What has saddened me is when unfortunately my fragile mind has affected other peoples relationship. Its not something I want, I just know how important it is to take care of my mind. So I speak up for the person inside of me.
Please, ask your loved one what you need them to do. Listen. If they said, they just need you to be there. Be there. We don’t need you to save us. Don’t feel pressured that you need to do anything. Ask them. Seek advice. I ask you to please not to be afraid of tears, people get so uncomfortable when people cry. Maybe because it awakens something inside of them. Tears are beautiful, if a person wants to cry, let them cry till they can’t cry no more. Let them scream, but patiently sit beside them and keep company. Be there.
Be respectful when someone has told you something that upsets them, because you will never know their past experiences. Be humble. Be mindful.
I am as human as you can get. I have all the emotions, heightened even. I don’t write this as a plea for myself. Luckily I know exactly which people in my life I can turn to. I have wonderful friends who always check in on me and let’s me go loose.
I am overjoyed when people in real life come up and talk to me and say they read my blog and say thank you or seek my advice. I am always here if you need to. ALWAYS.
You will see many articles about depression this week, its wonderful but so tragic what had to happen in order to get some spotlight on it. I haven’t written a post like this in ages. But it is something that I know, and I am very passionate about people learning.
Share this. Not to promote this blog, I don’t care about that. I just want people to understand.
This is for the people who might have someone with depression in their life, please, please, please I beg you, read about it. Educate yourself. There are tons of great articles about what to say or not to say with someone with depression. Even simple buzzfeed articles if you need simple fast reading on How to deal with a depressed partner or friend. You will never know how much a slight adjustment, approach and understanding on your part might just save a persons spirit and even their life.
Now isn’t that the best gift we could give anyone?
Your move chief.