On Depression and Anxiety…
Since reading about the suicide of Robin Williams, I’ve been thinking a lot about depression and anxiety, and how awful and insidious mental illness can be.
Depression and anxiety can carry you away like a rip tide, and before you know it, you’re so far from where you started, from whom you are, that you imagine you’ll never get back. And when this happens, it is tempting to take a last look at the sky, take a deep breath and give yourself over to it.
Some of us feel everything with such intensity that we cannot imagine feeling anything else again. We’re so in that moment that we can’t imagine that moment will ever end. This can lead to unimaginable joys, and to utter devastation. So while trying to imagine our futures, while trying to look forward to the wonders that lie ahead, we lose hope, because this, right now, this moment is so awful it feels insurmountable, and getting to the other side seems impossible. And people say this isn’t forever, but we’ve seen that even those who seem to have everything can face this pain so intensely. Money can help us get treatment; time can give us the breathing space to try to work at getting better. Love can remind us that there is good in the world. But the darkness can persist in spite of all that, and still, we find ourselves slipping under. Some reach the surface again; others do not. It’s hard to know why.
All we can do is love deeply, laugh loudly and often, and smile. Never hesitate to say something positive, try to stop yourself from saying or doing something negative. There’s a slight chance these little things can help someone else (or even you) make it to the surface. And even if they don’t help, isn’t it worth trying, every day, without fail, to conquer the darkness around us? If that isn’t worth our effort, what is?