A Depressing Truth
If there were to ever be a movie made about my life (and why would there?), I had always hoped I’d be portrayed with the acting admiration of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the comedic genius of Robin Williams.
Unfortunately, the world grew a little less funny Monday with the unexpected passing of Robin Williams. He was a very, very funny man. And according to reports, he was also very, very depressed.
On social media, many said: "He was always so happy; how could he be depressed?" Or my favorite: "He was a celebrity, he shouldn’t be depressed."
Depression is, in fact, a terrible disease that affects millions, yet carries the weighted stigma of 1 million elephants.
Since the age of 15, I have battled clinical depression. It’s a war I still wage today, but I seek help. I’ve seen a therapist off and on for the last five years. In all honesty, if it weren’t for my wife and kids, I don’t know where I’d be.
Over the last 17 years, I have had many greats, many good days, many bad days and many dark days. For most of that time (before I was married), I was made to feel that depression was taboo. Like I was a leper.
Depression and mental illness do not discriminate.
It is not a coward’s way out as Shepard Smith mouthed off on FOX News. It’s not selfish either, Todd Bridges. Until you’ve battled depression for yourself, you have no idea how much pain you experience.
Sometimes we feel there is only one way out. It’s a crippling pain. Not physically, but mentally. You tend to lose sight of those that love you.
Depression is a dark and powerful thing. There’s no shame in admitting your pain. Your life matters. You are needed. Please tell somebody.— Kevin DeShazo (@KevinDeShazo)August 11, 2014
How many more people must suffer before the national stigma about mental illness and depression goes away?
Those of us battling depression are not crazy.
We are talented.
We are smart.
We are beautiful.
We are kind.
We are funny.
We are your friends, your family and your neighbor.
We need help.
Always tell people you love them and how much they mean to you because you never know when your words will save their life.
If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional destress, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. It’s available 24/7.