Robin Williams had a ‘secret’ when he died. It’s one shared by many, myself included – I’ve suffered with depression.
‘You’re going to do it again’ the doctor said, closing his file. ‘I’m going to have you admitted’.
‘What!?’ I’d written the word ‘hello’ in joined-up writing when asked to write the first thing that came to my mind, so how had he come to that conclusion?
At the time, he was probably right, to be fair.
I’d just spent a week in hospital recovering from an attempted suicide bid and while not my first, it had been the most serious.
A series of events had triggered it including a failed long-term relationship and losing a job, all within close proximity. I was 24-years-old, yet already feeling like my life was over.
It was dark and raining heavily when they took me there. The first person who greeted me was a woman who believed she was the ghost of Karen Carpenter, followed by another who was an arsonist. What on earth was I doing there!
‘What’s wrong, are you in pain?’ One nurse asked. ‘That’s why we don’t try to kill ourselves,’ she spat. I complained to a doctor and was called a liar.
The real wake-up call was probably when one of my friends came to visit and when I say one, literally only one came since I had alienated most of the others through my depression.
‘I never want to see you in a place like this again,’ he said. And he hasn’t: six years on, I’m one of the ‘lucky ones’.
They say ‘laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone,’ and that’s a pretty good surmising of depression.
It can happen to anyone regardless of age, background or ethnicity.
According to mentalhealth.org.uk, ‘it’s estimated that around 1million people will die by suicide worldwide each year.’
Now relegated to no more than a statistic is Robin Williams. The Mrs Doubtfire actor died on Monday after taking his own life.
With all the public outpouring and friends, relatives and former co-workers paying tribute, one thing’s for sure – Robin Williams was beloved by many, myself included.
Sometimes that just isn’t enough.
In the words of his Dead Poets Society character: ‘Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary’ – and he did, even if he couldn’t always see it.
Rest in peace Mr Williams.
If you need to talk to anyone or are concerned about someone else, you can find help and advice:
NHS – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/#.U-nYVvldVFw
Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org/
Mental Health Foundation – http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/depression/