So, I’ve been doing alot of RT’ing and tweeting about this topic, and I figured I’d stop and just compile my thoughts in one place, and get some stuff out of my head at the same time. And being a couple days before GenCon, note that this has nothing to do with games.
Robin Williams has reportedly taken his own life. That sentence is about as wrong a sentence as I’ve ever typed. A man who for decades poured his heart and soul into his craft and gave millions of people across multiple generations joy and laughter. That man took his own life.
FUCK YOU DEPRESSION!! God dammit. Depression lies. Depression twists and distorts our perception of reality. When depression is strong, it can leave you feeling like you have nothing left. Trust me. I’ve been there. Thankfully I’ve never been there so severely that I considered taking my own life. But I have been to the point that I didn’t know what I had to live for. And I didn’t see a way out. Depression is a god damn liar. And the worst part of depression is when it starts to wax and wane. And it’s at those times when it’s the hardest to see when it’s lying to you and when what you’re seeing and feeling is real.
Depression is real. It’s legitimate. It’s not just people being sad, or people being weak. You are not broken if you are depressed.
If you think you might be suffering from it, talk to your doctor. Get a referral to a mental health professional. DO NOT JUST START TAKING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ALONE! Drugs can help, and your doctor will likely prescribe them, but they just take the edge off. They normalize the levels. Talk to a therapist. See a counselor. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, DO NOT GIVE UP! Find another one. When you find one you’re comfortable with, and that you feel you can trust, open yourself up. Tell them what you really feel inside. Don’t try to self diagnose. Don’t try to say what you think they want to hear you say. Say what you feel. OWN YOUR FEELINGS! Warts and all. Own them. They are a part of you like everything else. If you ignore them, they will fester and become harder to ignore. Only then will you start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know. And you’ll learn tools that can help you diffuse depression and combined with prescription drugs, and let you lead a normal life.
DO NOT TURN TO ALCOHOL! Alcohol is a fucking liar too. At least for me, alcohol felt like the one way out. And it was. For a few glorious moments, depending on how shitfaced drunk I got, it all went away. All the demons, and the sadness, and the worry, and the stress. All gone. For a few moments. And then, they came back. And they came back stronger than when they left. And they stayed stronger for longer. And the only way out I felt was more alcohol. Alcohol does not help you deal with depression. It strengthens it. And it tears down any barriers you had worked on to keep it at bay. If you take to heart nothing else I’ve ever said, take this. DO NOT DRINK IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION. PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.
I fight my depression battle every. single. day. I have to stay vigilant to be aware of when it’s getting bad. I have to study my situations and my past experiences and learn about triggers that exacerbate my problem. I have to realize when I’ve gotten lazy and let myself slide too far and I have to put forth the extra effort to get back to where I was. And I lean on my friends and loved ones. And that gives me some shame. But I know it’s what I have to do. And I cherish them for letting me do it. I would not be here without those people. And you can find people like that too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ever. Don’t feel ashamed or weak for how you feel. Ever. You are not broken. You do not need fixing. You just need help.