Robin Williams & Steps To Overcome Depression

I'm a bit overwhelmed by the love poured out over the loss of Robin Williams. But I can't help but feel vulnerable when a man of such cheerfulness can be overtaken by depression.
It scares me.

Depression and suicide are like an experienced thief. Nobody sees them coming. And when you do, it's too late. We think, “how did we not notice? What could have we done to prevent it?”

I posted this tweet just a few hours after the news of Robin's death was released.

Robin Williams was a great man. Especially for my generation. His life left a dent in the universe and kids across the globe were better for it. But how can we prevent chronic depression? How can we prevent suicide? Here are a few pieces of advice I believe we can all lean on.

1. Never make big decisions in a valley
I've had a fair share of depression and anxiety. Enough to spend 90 days off work because of it. But in an effort to escape the pain, I found myself making big, unrealistic changes in my life. I wanted to move or quit or run away. This is dangerous. Strong people wait to make decisions from the mountain top where they can see the landscape, but weakness pushes us toward decisions in the valley, where we can only see what's in front of us. My advice is… wait. Keep climbing before you make a decision to do anything.

2. Realize Depression is Counterintuitive
When you want to be alone, don't. When you think everything is broken, it's not. When you can't seem to get passed it, keep trying. Humans have struggled with depression for thousands of years. At the core, it's a system malfunction. It's based on lies and a phantom reality. It's times likes these you may consider relying on the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

3. Recognize Your Need for Need
Society has convinced us that having needs equals weakness. This is why we don't ask for help or for money or for a friendship. We believe that people flee from those who are lacking. This is far from the truth. Rather, we crave vulnerability, connection, and transparency. We want to love and be loved for who we are. Be brave and put yourself out there. Tell someone you're depressed. Tell them you need someone to hang out with. Tell someone you are weak. I promise they will not turn away.

Lastly, let's celebrate Robin. The genius, the poet, the master.

How did Robin William's death make you feel? What has helped you prevent depression and suicide? Let me know in the comments below.

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55 Responses

  1. Despair, with no end in site. Years of therapy, medication. All of your energy everyday spent trying to act “normal” and function. Your heart literally aches. Stress makes you hurt all over. You can’t get a good nights sleep. You can’t make plans, because you don’t know when an anxiety or panic attack might erupt. You can’t explain it to the people around you. They don’t understand and get tired of hearing about it. You’re alone. Even when others are around, because you can’t be who you truly are and how you truly feel. The anxiety makes you feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. You start to shake. It’s embarrassing. It’s horrible. Day after day, year after year, this is your life. We don’t commit suicide because we want to die. We commit suicide because we have to stop the pain. It’s a black hole and we can’t get out.

    1. I know this post is a little older, but it is such an apt description of what depression and thoughts of suicide/self harm are about. I hope you found your light…

  2. Hello, this is kind of an old post, but I thought I would comment since I’ve been reflective lately.
    A couple years ago I found out someone in my family committed suicide, when, at first, I was told that they just simply passed away.
    I remained numb for a couple of weeks, but soon enough, I realize, I was feeling symptoms of anxiety. Constant guilt, thoughts about thoughts, crying, and just plain unhappiness. What can I say, I’m an overthinker.
    Now, time has passed, and I found ways to cope, and they worked very well. Such as writing in a journal every day, drawing, exercising.. Sounds cliche, but it works.
    However, there is one thing on my mind; my overthinking. It consumes so much of my emotional energy, and I have tried so many things for myself. I once thought of being homosexual, ONCE, and now it is a source of anxiety for me and it is a burden, even though I am 95% sure I am heterosexual.
    Any tips on how to reduce overthinking? It would help me out a lot.

    1. Hey
      You can test meditation, or spending regular time in nature. The second one helped me so much. And remember, it’s not just your problem, it’s many people’s issue.

      Best luck!

  3. This is the stupidest bit of amateurish bull I have read regarding depression. Depression is a disease and suicide is a result of it. If it were as easy as your silly ‘advice’ do you really think depression and suicide would exist? Do not write silly stuff like this when you clearly have no expertise. And your ‘fair share’, no that was not depression, that was life’s ups and downs, which we all go through. Anyone who knows depression, would not write silly shit like this, it is an affront to people who suffer from depression, an illness that one can not simply get over ‘by telling someone you are depressed”. When people like you write infantile stuff like this you trivialise a disease that needs medical care, not ‘someone to hang with’. You clearly have no real knowledge of depression, so do not give advice with no bearing on reality and no factual basis.

      1. I think he is right on. I believe if more people would open up and feel comfortable talking to their friends, family, and those they talked responded in a way of help they would not have to medicate and such.

    1. Oh stfu! Who are u? The depression police? I suffer from depression and any advice helps and you don’t have to be an expert! :sometimes these doctors don’t know what they are talking about either! So again stfu!

  4. Right about suicide never get answer. Suicide is always greedy. I was ex depression. My mom save me and droivce with my ex husband. I was realize I’m no longer depression, and I save my good friend think about give up his life for reason money issue and child support. I always explain him never think about suicide. But he realized he won from judge. He is happy have me. Depression people need thinks and find the key why you don’t happy for reason. And if you beileve in Jesus then pray everyday never give up. You know I did beg and anger with Jesus what I need remove my memory which make me sad and cried all times. Now I’m better but I can return little dreppssion for reason hearing people make me down because of I am deaf. I’m keep fights until my old age. Say “I can do it”
    I love Robin but I blame his dark side hurt him and hurt us too. I beileve depression had the key that you have find it.

  5. Parkinson’s disease! Depression is a major huge part of it! You watch your body fail you and try not to be depressed. Medication only helps so much. I have watched it take hold. It’s unfortunate but he saved himself from years of decline and depression. Parkinson’s will leave a person in diapers, bed ridden, unable to do anything for themselves, anything! Perhaps he had more courage than any of us will ever know. He had no weakness of any kind. He had Parkinson’s. A very evil disease.

  6. since you brought this thread back to life, I learned he actually was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a nasty combination of memory loss, neurological motor control degeneration and hallucinations. This was confirmed by autopsy and disclosed by his wife late last year.
    my take on this, being told he had parkinsons a year prior with the hallucinations places the cause of his suicide likely outside the realm of depression.
    this information surprisingly not newsworthy in our culture.
    it doesn’t make his loss any less saddening. he was a joy.
    this new information makes this superficial piece on depression and how to pull oneself out all the more disgusting.

    I agree with Tara. I doubt any of us would rule out this option given his horrible situation

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