Everyone battles something. Some of these battles are episodic and some rage over the course of a lifetime. Many of these battles are so private that they happen without anyone else even being aware of them taking place.
Today I learned that a man I respected for his ability to share himself so publicly died. His depression had reportedly been growing in severity and yet he still entertained. And I felt the harshest of reminders that just because someone is bold enough to speak openly about struggling with a disease, they are far from free of it’s grip. Just because someone’s job is making us smile, it doesn’t mean they are carefree–it just means they are very good at their job.
So I am, like many others, trying to make sense of how someone so adept at eliciting laughter is gone. How someone who legitimately brought joy to people on a regular basis could lose sight of their worth as a person. How someone could leave their best friend.
I know firsthand that there is no glory in a life ending and there is nothing romantic about succumbing to pain. I can’t help remembering my father. I am left looking at my own battlefield.
Depression lies. It’s a duplicitous asshole designed to confuse, distort and destroy. It isolates and it wages a fierce fight with one objective: cause maximum harm.
And I am reminded that to know a person, much less to judge a person, requires a long walk in their shoes and demands embracing their shadows as well. Take the time. If you need help, please ask. If asked please listen.
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
–Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society
This piece originally appeared on The Manifest-Station, an amazing site you should be following.
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