When the world learned of Robin Williams passing, many unexpected thoughts and feelings flooded through me as I learned more details about his personal struggles. I learned that Robin and I shared a mutual friend, named Depression. As the unfortunate news of Robin's death and the circumstances surrounding it came to light, people around the world were forced to open their eyes to a subject that can be bewildering and uncomfortable for many to talk about or embrace. I found myself moved immensely during that time, and I began to post about my thoughts on Facebook. Here is one of these posts. May you find compassion, understanding, and empathy though these words of my perspective.
"Until you've stared down that level of depression, until you've lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness... you don't get to make those judgments."
This will be my last post about Robin. But, as someone who has struggled with depression myself, this whole subject around his death has hit me deeper and more personally than perhaps most. I've been so drawn to this whole event, because fully recognizing what this man went through has been somewhat therapeutic for me.
I think it is very easy for people to make judgments about those that are depressed as if their perception on life is the only thing that needs to shift. "Stop focusing on what you feel is wrong with your life and start counting your blessings." was what a lot of people would tell me when I would be in the thick of it. What they didn't understand, and what I actually didn't understand until rather recently, is that it goes beyond simple focus shifts like that. NOTHING about your ability to 'properly focus' is going to change until you have gathered all that you are meant to from that lower state. And when people that are inexperienced or uneducated about this subject make harsh judgments about your character (or lack there of) based on what they see you going through and the way you are handling it, that only serves to make the isolation feeling even worse.
Some depression is circumstantial and some is genetic. But in either case, from my own experience, I believe that life's painful moments are given to us to embrace. I have found that there is something to be gained and personally reclaimed from each one of my past dives into the darker depths of life. There have been invaluable and extremely powerful treasures laying at the bottom of my life's ocean floor. And each time I would resurface, the new sky would look brighter than the last.
How can we fully appreciate this organic experience, if we are only willing to accept what we judge as positive exposure. That would be unbalanced. And as one who looks at everything from a healer's point of view... how can any of us help another in pain if we have not also experienced our own? Because we are all here to help heal each other, not just us that deeply connect with this aspect of our beings, and actively pursue a life role as such.
Be willing to embrace ALL that life has in store for you, without judgment that this is 'good' and that is 'bad', because it's alllll good, my friend. And, actually, it was only when I was willing to see my darker moments in this way, for the treasure that they truly are, that I finally began to completely see, feel, and appreciate the Light in my life. And this in turn helped me to see the true Light in others.
Hats off to Robin.