Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression is very much the same phenomenon as childbirth. Unless you have actually been through the human occurrence you will never be able to have a breathing comprehension of either of them. All the most talented writers in the world can not accurately depict pain like that with words so average Joe can comprehend. 

If you don't know how someone with money and fame could kill themselves, you should count yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet. I understand completely when people take their own lives. I've been a double winner because I have both clinical depression and an addiction that allows me to use most anything chemical to the point of destruction.

The first time I knew that something was wrong with me was in fourth grade. I woke up and my soul hurt so much I couldn't get out of bed. I had no idea what caused that complete collapse of feelings and hope but it was real and it was profound.

In my teenage years I began to self medicate with food then alcohol. The worst thing in the world a person with depression can do is use a depressant like alcohol. Beyond the temporary euphoric sensations, the use of alcohol sets up deeper darker depression.

In the 90's with the birth of Prozac, I pinned my hopes on the little pill with the big buzz in the recovery world. I can't tell you how disappointed I was when it did nothing for me. From the year of 1992 to about 2010, I was tried out on 33 different medications to alleviate the darkness and pain I carried with me.

In 2010 my psychiatrist of a decade or more looked me dead in the eyes and "Clinton, there is no pill on the market that is going to fix what is wrong with you. The best I can help you do is use medication to get you on stable enough ground that if you want to feel better, it's up to you to do the work to make it happen". H may have said it before or this could have been the first time, but I HEARD it this day.

I realized at that moment, I had been looking for a pill to fix me.  I thought, there was a pill on the planet that would fill in all my cracks, to magically give me coping skills or to make me whole in a way I never was. I heard what he told me and did just that. I got sober, took the meds he prescribed and started crawling out of my isolation. I learned coping skills by going into weekly therapy and joining a 12 step group.

There is a darkness that once it settles inside a human susceptible to despair, that light cannot reach. One aspect of my depression is my mind never shut off. It constantly was trying to produce an idea that would get me out of the misery. I didn't sleep because I tried to think myself to sleep at night. There is a point when no matter what the cost, you are compelled to quiet the mind.

I lost a friend last year to a violent bloody suicide. Some people were shocked. I undersood. I have a weird reaction to suicide. I always feel like nodding my head and saying I understand. I understand not being able to find a way out of the thought storms inside your head. There are millions and millions of people who have no idea the torture of thoughts that won't turn off, a mind that will not settle. For some of us, hope has been a suckers bet. I ache for all those lost in plain sight, a thick glass wall separates some of us unlucky bastards that keeps us from touching all the good stuff.We watch the lives of others like looking at newborns in the hospital. Just out of reach and our nose pressed against the thick last window.

 I say this about Robin Williams as I have said about my friend Rusty's successful suicide last year, I hope that he finds the peace in death that eluded him in life. I believe that whatever put the universe together is merciful.  I know a lot of "early exits" and I nod in understanding to each one. I respect others pain today and I understand despair from the inside out. Just because I have strung some very good days together doesn't mean one day I might be looking for my own early exit. I'm sure Robin didn't dream it would end this way either. The world can be shocked and horrified but I, completely understand.

Just for today, I have a reprieve. I am not cured and the specter of doom and despair always waits for me should I quit doing the things I have to do in order to function like a whole person.

I have a warning to all those people that judge Robin Williams and the "Robins" of the world, until you have been wrapped in another's despair or trapped in a mind that won't turn off, you are not qualified to judge. Pain that doesn't end will drive humans to desperate measures.

The famous line about suicide is that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and I think the person that said it never fought with the monster of Depression. It is hideous, heinous and it robs all of us,those who suffer with it and those who love the sufferer.