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