robin_williams_01 (1)

Mental health and depression is something I rarely discuss outside of a handful of friends who I share a common bond with.  Over the last several years, those friends have pulled me through some of the toughest times in my life.  I always told myself that certain people are brought into your life for a reason, and up until having them in my life, there was really no one around for me to share what I was going through outside of a professional’s office.

Depression should probably be my middle name.  Every since I can remember, it’s been something that I’ve battled with quietly for the longest time.  But I refuse to let myself be defeated by it.  Over the last several years, I’d be lying to say if thoughts of suicide didn’t cross my mind and make itself comfortable in my psyche.  There where times when I would lie in bed thinking about the easiest way out.

How.

Where.

When.

Those three thoughts would linger for days.  But then I would think of my son.

Who would take care of him?

Where would he live?

When would  he realize it wasn’t his fault?

How would he remember me?

And I never wanted to leave him in a position to have to come up with the answers.

Recently someone told me I have an anecdote for everything and typically they involve my son.  My son is the reason for living.  Everyday I live for him. Everyday I know it’ll get better because I have so much to witness him accomplish.  He may occasionally be a pain in my butt, but it’s that pain that motivates me to strive to keep my mental health in tact.  I need to see him walk across the stage when he graduates. I need to see him learn how to drive, but not my car. I need to see him graduate from college and embark on his career. I want to be able to tell him, “Um, no that woman is not good enough for you”. But then eventually  hug my first grandchild.

On top of what I have to witness him accomplish, there are things I need for him to see me accomplish.  Because fuck the naysayers.

At the age of 38, I feel that my life is just beginning. Everything is falling into place at the right time. Just as it was meant to be. I’m finally at a point in my career where I have people coming to me inquiring if I want to work for them, and not the other way around.  Transitioning from online media to television is finally happening.  My son has watched everything from the beginning, and he will reap the benefits.

But Robin. The man who made millions of people laugh.

I don’t fault him for what he did. I understand.

When I was a kid, Robin Williams was everything to me. He was Mork.  Everyday I would put on my suspenders and walk around the house saying nanu-nanu. As I got older, I realized how much of a comic genius he was, but I also knew about his battles.  Robin provided so many people with joy, but sometimes it gets hard. Sometimes that silver lining isn’t there.  Depression isn’t just sadness. Addiction isn’t  always solved with a 12 step program. Its an everyday struggle.

Last night I cried.

I cried for Robin. I cried for his family. I cried for my friends who battle with mental illness.  I cried for myself. I cried for my son.  I cried because I know I’ve made it this far in life, and I’m still living.

Robin Williams said it best, ““I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”  Angela N., Danielle, Carla and Nikki – Thank you for being there.  

Robin, you will always be missed.

Mork to Orson.

Yesha Callahan is a former managing editor of Clutch. Currently she’s a staff writer and editor at The Root, creator of  the web-comic Passing . Follow her @yeshacallahan.

Reprinted with permission from Sometimes I Wear Men’s Underwear. 

Tags: , ,
Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • ShezSooUnusual

    Thanks for sharing your story, Yesha. Keep taking it one day at a time.

  • Elizabeth Jones

    Beautiful story you told. I battle with depression as well. I had a friend who wasn’t so supportive and recently ended our friendship. It was a host of issues attach to my reasoning to stop all communication with her but you wrote an absolutely eloquent article. I understand everything you said because I too go through the same emotions as it relates to depression. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • jess

      It always boggle my mind when I hear someone not being supportive of a person dealing with a mental illness. I have an aunt who legit thinks that mental illness does not exist and that it’s simply a western(1st world) thing. I have friends who when I try to tell them that I battle with depression ask me to pray and tell me that it’ll go away; at least with them it shows that they care.

  • vintage3000

    I know you were not speaking to me, but what if someone is not religious? What if organized religion is the cause of their depression? I know you mean well, but it could be considered presumptuous to tell someone that God is one of the constants of their life.

    • kisakisa

      You see the beautiful thing about this world is that I was bought up believing in God and my belief has saved me in many adversities. The next person can have the same beautiful life but be an Atheist or have a miserable life and be searching for a Faith to be their source of rescue. Freedom of choice and belief. Life, all about perception, entirely subjective. All free will. You do you and I do me. The beauty of life comes from its balance. Presumptious, NO, perception, yes. I can only speak from my lens not anybody elses.

    • vintage3000

      If you are saying you can only speak from your point of view, it’s incongruous to assume that a random stranger will be receptive to hearing “God is one of the constraints…” etc. That is YOUR reality, not everyone else’s.

      However I do agree with your advice that they are their own
      motivation because often that’s all each of us has in life.

    • TheQuestions

      God doesn’t have to be the classic idea that has been pushed on us by western religion (white man sitting in a cloud). I think it’s a positive power “bigger” than our simple human experience, and I find it comforting to know that “something” is out there other than the air and dirt. I think that this is where kisa was coming from. Of course we’re all entitled to our beliefs or non-beliefs but I will say this: 99% of the time people who say that they don’t believe in the idea of God are almost always very pessimistic, sarcastic, sad and angry. Why is that?

    • vintage3000

      “but I will say this: 99% of the time people who say that they don’t believe in the idea of God are almost always very pessimistic, sarcastic, sad and angry. Why is that”

      I have no idea, you would have to ask an atheist about that. Also, I never said criticized the idea of Western religions nor mocked any interpretation of Christianity, so not sure where you pulled that from.

      I can and do believe in God, and have met many people who don’t or have other faiths (some of them are even Black–gasp). However I never present my beliefs as a universal panacea because it’s not my place to do so.

      I find that many people who deem it necessary to bring up their faith as the end solution for everyone else to be self righteous, hypocritical and disingenuous. Why is that?

  • Michelle

    On June 6th 2011, I was rescued. It was the day when my psychologist told me about my diagnosis, after spending a few weeks performing psych evaluations. I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, also known as ‘BDD’. Once she told me, I felt immense relief.
    Fortunately, on my father’s side, mental illness isn’t consider to be a ‘defect’. But there is a stigma. When it comes to mental illness, on the paternal side of my family, the “million dollar question” isn’t ‘Who has a mental illness?’, but, ‘When will your mental illness pop up?’
    I was born in the generation where every child was diagnosed with a mental illness by the age of thirteen, by a licensed behavioral health specialist. I knew this since I was the age of five years old… and I was petrified. And my mother didn’t help matters by speaking about her theories about my father’s family (her theory: incest). Her negative outlook kept me from speaking about my issues.
    Honestly, her negative outlook keeps me from telling her about my weekly appointments with my psychologist. She thinks that I have a man and a secret relationship stashed away.