The Face is Just For Show

It is far easier for people to accept what they see when the alternative requires action and thought.  This comes to mind as I attempt to wrap my mind–and my heart–around the sudden, desparately sad, loss of Robin Williams.

The reports say he was suffering from severe depression.  I have seen a massive number of posts that people find this unbelievable when he was always so funny.  People believe, and see, what they choose and this is one of the greatest examples.

Depression is a disease, first and foremost.  It is NOT something to be ashamed of nor is it something to cause embarrassment.  Unfortunately, however, both are still a problem for those of us who deal with this affliction.

Depression takes many forms.  One person faces it head on, fighting and surviving while the next person fights more to hide the problem and never really dealing with it.  One person will seem to always be in a sad mood, remote and distant while the next person will paste that eternal smile on their face for the world to see while, on the inside, they are suffering and in deep pain. 

Many of us are in the latter group.  We put on a very good face for the world.  We learned very early that our pain caused others to be uncomfortable or it caused others to avoid us, so we pasted that smile on our faces, learned to laugh easily and never allow another soul to know how much we are hurting on the inside.

On those occasions when the depression was so great we could not cover it, we learned to listen to the same question over and over and over again.. “What’s wrong”   If we made the mistake of stating we were ‘just feeling down’, we learned to grit our teeth each of the million + times we heard  “oh, snap out of it!  What have you got to be down about?”  or something as equally inane.

The problem with depression is that there is quite often no rhyme or reason for it-not in the practical sense.  It is normally impossible to explain to someone who has never personally dealt with it.  It is impossible to make them understand that you don’t CHOOSE to feel so badly so much of the time.  It is impossible to express to them that there may not be a tangible reason for feeling so lost and alone, helpless and hopeless, but you feel it just the same.  You can’t make most people understand that you aren’t feeling down expressly to cause THEM discomfort. 

People don’t realize that if it were as easy as “get over it, already!  get a hobby or go for a walk.” We would have many hobbies and we would be in the best shape of anyone for all the walks.  But it doesn’t work that way.

For those who have never suffered with depression, and it IS suffering, don’t doubt that for a moment, please just understand that there are things in this world you can’t, and never will, understand.  Realize that everyone deals with their own demons in their own way and the best  you can do is to let that next person know that  you care even if you don’t understand their struggle.  Understand that even though they cannot explain their pain to you, it is real just the same. 

For those who suffer from depression, you are never alone even though it often feels that way.  There are a great number of us who deal with it on various levels.  It certainly isn’t easy to see the ‘bright side’ of life when we feel so badly, but it is worth the effort.

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