Was anyone else as shocked by Robin Williams' death as I was? I was laying in bed, and Weewee was napping next to me. I was having a very relaxed moment. I got a text from Chadski, and I read it. "Robin Williams died" What?! No! So, of course I immediately went to Google. I had to know the sad details. I was NOT expecting to find out it was suicide. I was shocked. I cried.
I am not one to cry over celebrity deaths. I feel the pain. Let's face it, even if you do not know a person, death is a sad thing. I definitely feel sadness over celebrity deaths, but I don't usually shed tears. I cried over Robin's death. I felt his death deeply. One of the funniest human beings, that has brought me much happiness and laughter, killed himself. He felt so sad, that he decided to move on of his own choosing.
Am I the only one that wanted to hug him? That wanted to go back in time to the day before, find him, and hug him. Tell him all that he and his work has meant to me over the years. Beg him to make so many more movies. I really wanted to be that selfish. Beg him to live, if for no other reason, than for me to have more of him to enjoy.
I was shocked, in the days following his death, by some of the nasty and judgmental things that people said. I am sure these people would not want the things they were saying, to be said about their loved ones or themselves. Yet, they so easily said them about Robin. What is more, they said them about a person they did not even know. How quick we are to judge other people, especially people we do not even know.
I am fairly certain the people I saw saying the most judgmental things about Robin, did not know him. Yet, they felt qualified to speak on his behalf. Judging his actions. Saying why he did what he did. They felt qualified to say why what he did was stupid. They felt they were entitled to condemn him to hell.
This is our society. This is who we are. This is what we do.
We are so quick to judge other people, and so quick to state other people should not judge us. Which is it? Should we judge or should we not judge? I am a firm believer in not judging other people. End of story. We do not truly know other people. How can you accurately judge somebody, if you do not know them completely? There are people in this life that know me deeply. That have glimpsed my very soul. I am here to tell you, they do not know me. They can't. They aren't me. They do not know my every thought. They do not know the reasons behind every action I make.
By knowing that nobody on this Earth truly knows me, I gain the knowledge that I do not truly know anyone. Therefore, I don't judge. I don't want to be judged, so I do not judge. I can tell you how another person's actions or words make me feel. I can tell you how I wish they had acted or spoke. I also take into account, they may have acted as they did, due to reasons I do not know.
Many years ago, I heard a story of a mom that killed herself. I do not remember her name. I remember she was young and beautiful. I think she had three children, but my memory is hazy. I remember wondering how a mom could kill herself. I have always wanted kids, and always thought if I had a child, I would have everything. It came out some time after her death, that an ex had threatened her children's lives. So, she did what she felt she had to, to save their lives. Nobody knew at the time, the motivation behind her actions. Yet, I am certain everyone judged her actions. I am sure some even thought she simply didn't love her children enough to live. I think the true reality is that she loved her children enough to die. (I will do some research about this, see if I can find the case. I was very young when it happened, and I really don't remember details. I must have been about 8 or 9.)
My beloved Bob Marley has a quote attributed to him, and it is by far, one of my most favorite quotes ever. What it is saying is, before you judge others make sure you're perfect. Nobody is perfect, and therefore nobody should ever judge another. It really boils down to treating other people the way you want to be treated. The world would be a much better place if we did this. If we all practiced kindness and love, and rejected hate and judgment. If we all practiced good deeds, and rid our actions of spite and jealousy. We all hold within ourselves the power to make the world a better place. It is up to us to choose to utilize our lives to make the world better, rather than making it worse.
So many hear about suicide and immediately say nasty things. The person is going to hell. The person is an idiot. The person did not realize how blessed they were. The person did not love their family enough. The person did not want to live. So many assumptions. How can you possibly know any of that? Most importantly, what does that matter? Why do we always choose to be so negative about deaths and suicides? I hope people are not negative when I die. Do not cry for me. Laugh for me. Celebrate my life. Rejoice in me having lived, do not mourn in my death. My death will be only one moment of my life. The last moment. Focus on all the moments that came before it.
That is what I am going to do with Robin. I am not going to remember the sadness his death evoked within my soul. I am going to remember all the laughs he has given me over the years. All the many wonderful movies and stand-up routines he created, for me to enjoy over and over. I will remember him in Good Will Hunting and The Birdcage and Live at the Met. I will remember him as Genie. I will remember his infectious laugh and his charismatic smile. I will remember the good times, that were the true meaning of his life. I will remember his life, not his death.
That being said, I also don't want him to have died in vain. I hope much good comes of his death. I hope it brings about a broader and more widespread understanding of depression, and the horrible disease it is. Yes, disease. It is a disease. It is a disease that does not care who you are, what you do, how much money is in your bank account, what dreams you have, or how many people you love. It can infest itself in any one's brain. It does not discriminate. I think that really shone through with Robin. He was one of the funniest and happiest people to ever live, and yet he was depressed.
I am going to beg something of all of you. Don't judge others. Seriously, though, if you are not somebody that suffers from depression (and I am very happy you are blessed in this way), please don't judge people that do suffer with it. If you have never suffered with it, then you cannot possibly understand. You just can't. Be grateful. I am not talking about getting depressed/sad occasionally. That can happen to anyone. I am talking actual, chronic depression.
I suffer from depression. I don't talk about it. Partially because I don't want to be judged, and partially because I refuse to give it more control over my life than it already has. I control it fairly well. I keep my thoughts positive, I search for silver linings, and mostly I just refuse to let it ruin my life. That is easier said than done. Quite often it has the ability to take over. It plants itself so firmly in my brain, and I have to battle great fights to get myself free from it.
I am blessed. I have won every battle. I am still here to write this way to wordy blog post. I am still here to love my family. I am still here to stress over bills. I am still here to write blogs. I am still here to struggle with my weight. I am still here to enjoy friendships. I am still here to enjoy the sunshine. I am still here to get scrapes and bruises. I am still here to watch the world change. I am still here to struggle with blood clots. I am still here.
There have been a few times, when I almost did not stay. I almost left a few times. I was just that depressed. Tomorrow seemed far away, and it felt like it was hopeless to even imagine it would be better than my today. There were times when a bottle of pills or a razor blade really seemed like the perfect answer. I may have just shocked some of you. I am sorry.
I don't often speak of my battle with depression. I don't want people to let it define me. I don't want people to judge me. I knew when I was planning to write this blog, I really wanted to drive home that people are too quick to judge other people. This is especially true with people with depression. I hear broad statements made about people with depression all the time...
They should just get over it.
They should just count their blessings.
They should just be happy.
They should just move on.
It is really easy to say what other people should do, especially if we have no understanding of what they are going through. Well, trust me, there is nothing easy about depression. There is also nothing uniform about depression. One person's battle with depression will never be exactly like any other person's battle with depression. Similar? Sure. Exactly the same? No. This is why it is so important to not judge.
Depression isn't just sadness. It is a sadness so big and consuming, that it is hard to even explain. Sure, you know you are loved. Sure, you know you have blessings in your life. Sure, you know you have wonderful people in your life. Sure. Unfortunately, depression has this amazing ability to make none of that matter. It can making the greatest blessings in our life seem inconsequential, and our tiniest problem seem extremely massive. It is what depression does. It doesn't make sense, but it is what it is.
I think one of depressions greatest talents, is robbing a person of their hope. Making life seem completely hopeless. Hope can be a hard thing to find, if you have lost it. I have been blessed to always find mine. Sometimes, I haven't even realized it was gone, until I find it again, and I realize it had been gone. Recently, when I was going through my struggles this past March (my health issues, trying to get our landlord to do right by us, trying to find a new place to live, etc), I had thought I was doing okay. I knew I was stressing far too much, but overall, I thought I had it handled. Yeah, depression had sure pulled a fast one on me.
I was in the hospital, and I was terrified. I had the most amazing 9 month old at home, and all I wanted was to be home with her. I had to do some stress tests for my heart. I was alone. I wanted to reach out to Chadski, but I knew if I did that, he would want to be with me. I needed him to be with Weewee. That was the biggest help I could have from him at the moment. Knowing Weewee had him, was doing more good than if he were with me. So, I chose not to tell him about the stress test. I chose not to tell him about the papers I had to sign releasing the hospital from any fault if I died. I chose not to tell him I was terrified.
I went through the test. It was not fun, nor was it pretty. I was too sick to run on a treadmill, so they had to pump me full of radioactive crapola. Then I had to get tons of scans done. Here I was going through this alone. Terrified. Worried about never seeing my baby again. Worried about our landlords being jerks. Worried about bills. Worried about not finding a new place to live. Worried. Worried. Worried.
I knew I was depressed. I know what it is like when I am depressed. Sure, I get sad sometimes. That is different. I can control it. My depression, I have no control over. Depression can set in on my happiest of days. I can go through some of my saddest days, and not have it set it at all. Depression is definitely weird. So, yes, I knew I had been struggling with depression. I was determined to win yet another battle though.
What I didn't know was that depression had stolen away my hope. I guess I wasn't paying much attention. I was too busy focusing on Weewee and Chadski and finding a new place to live, and in the end my health. Maybe depression had decided that it didn't like being ignored, and to seek revenge it took my hope. Who knows?!
I discovered that I had lost my hope, when a beautiful human being gave it back to me. I had been struggling to get my worries under control. I read a post on Facebook that really slapped me in my face. Made me realize that worrying was doing me no good, and only making things worse. It was posted by a very wise man, Phil Waterford. He often says things that just speak to my soul. He is a wonderful man, and the community I live in, is blessed to have him. He utilizes his success to give back to our community. (Side note... If you live in or around Manteca, CA, and you need a car... Seriously, go to Phil Waterford's Ford. No, this is not a paid ad. I just can tell you from experience, it will be the best car buying experience you will ever have, and if that isn't reason enough, they give back to the community so much! Something is to be said about supporting businesses that support the communities around them!)
What ended up happening, was that Mr. Waterford gave me back my hope. He found out I was in the hospital, and he just showed up. Who does that? He is a busy man, and doesn't really know me, beyond the fact that I have bought two cars through his dealership. Yet, he took time out of his day to visit a stranger in the hospital. I sat and I talked to him and his wonderful friend Johnny. They shared laughs and wisdom with me. At one point, I just felt this energy burst into my soul. In the moment I knew, I had lost my hope, and Mr. Waterford had given it back to me.
I could never repay him enough, or thank God enough for putting him on my path that day. It helped me to step back, and see my problems in a clear light. It gave me back my hope, and renewed my desire to tackle all my problems. It also took away the fear that my health problems were giving me. It was one of those moments, that really reminded me our simplest of actions, can have the most major impacts on those around us. We really need to remember this power we have, and use it in a positive way. We need to spread smiles and good cheer. We could be the force that renews another person's hope. That is major.
I encourage all of you to really think about yourself and your life. Think of how you want people to think of you, both while you're alive and after you are gone. Think about how you want to be treated. Think about what you want to accomplish. Think about what you want the meaning of your life to be. Then, live in a way that makes those things come to fruition, not in a way that prevents you from making them your reality. Most importantly, live in a way where you treat everyone you mean the way you want to be treated. Along your path, you will meet people that help you attain your goals. Always try to be that person for others around you. When you meet the negative people, be grateful for them too. They will help you be stronger, and in the end that strength will help you to achieve your goals.
Live a life that is a reflection of the life you would want for your loved ones. Live a life that helps make the world the place you want it to be for future generations. Do good, not harm. Spread cheer, not anger. Be positive. Don't judge, and don't place weight on the judgment you receive from other people. Remember, you do not know them, nor do they know you.
If you are one of the strong people, that is burdened with depression, know that I am united with you and you are not alone. Please, never be too scared of judgement to reach out for help. I am here. Right here on this blog and on Facebook. Reach out to me. I will post links at the end to my Facebook page, the Semicolon Project, and the national suicide helpline. Please, if you are battling your depression, don't do it alone. I know that is so much easier said than done. Believe I know. Just know that you are not alone.
If you are one of the people blessed to not have struggles with depression, please stop judging the ones not so blessed. Also, be there for them. Don't judge. Don't hate. Just listen. Just love. Support. Treat them the way you would want to be treated, if it were you in their shoes. Give them back their hope. Realize that you do not understand or know them or their battle. Realize you are not in a position to judge.
If you taken anything away from this blog post, let it be...
We should never judge other people.
Life is precious and it is up to us to make the most of it.
Unless you suffer from depression, you cannot possibly begin to understand the struggles and actions of somebody that does.
It is up to us to make this world a better place.
If you are depressed, you are not alone. Please reach out. Please don't let depression end your story before it is truly complete.
Here is the link to this blog's Facebook page. Feel free to like it and message me anytime!
Here are links for the Semicolon Project!
The Suicide Prevention Hotline!
Here is a link for a great blog written about Robin Williams and Depression! By DeBie Hive! She is very, very wise. I highly recommend you read her blog!