It’s hard to not be affected by the death of a beloved comedian and actor. Especially someone who has been such an integral part of my movie memories as a kid. Sometimes it seems weird to mourn over someone you never actually met. But the death of Robin Williams has stirred up more than just grief and sadness in me:
Several months ago a close family friend died. He was very young, too young to die, in his twenties. He struggled with depression. He was found in his room; the cause of his death was inconclusive. It is a tragedy and a heartbreak when someone you love dies, but it messes with you when you don’t know for sure if it was planned.
It’s hard for me to collect my thoughts on this issue. If you have been following my blog you might have suspected that I struggle with anxiety and depression myself. I never felt strong enough to confess this outright. But these recent deaths have, in a bizarre way, given me strength (after facing a lot of weakness and fear) to come forward.
I, Lizzy, a believer in Jesus Christ, a child of God, struggle with anxiety and depression.
As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, the news of suicide/possible suicide/suicide attempt stirs up a mountain of unresolved fears. I am suddenly forced to look at my own battle with depression and wonder, “could that be me someday?” “Will it get that bad for me?” “Will this battle ever end?” It is terrifying.
You see, I feel like I have a special connection with others that struggle with anxiety and depression. We are warriors fighting the same battle side by side. We are Gimli and Legolas tallying up our victories over Orcs and Uruk-hai (yea, I went there…)
Somehow knowing that others are fighting the same battle by my side gives me extra strength. Hearing their victories over depression encourages me to keep fighting.
But in the same way, seeing others fall during battle can leave me feeling defeated. I see my fellow warriors falling and dying all around me and our numbers are dwindling. This week I have felt overwhelmed with fear and grief as I dwell on the death of an old family friend and Robin Williams.
Those of us that struggle with depression don’t often talk about it. Although it’s not something to be ashamed of, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel shame about it. Talking about it is hard, people judge, and it’s difficult to understand. But when we don’t talk about it, when we don’t share, then all we hear about are the deaths and tragedies. Even though I am alive and able to fight, I feel like Theoden at the Battle of Helm’s Deep when the Orcs and Uruk-hai are about to break through the gate (I can’t hold back the nerd, it fits so well). Suddenly the battle seems unmanageable: “The fortress is taken, it is over…so much death; what can men do against such reckless hate?”
But it doesn’t have to end there! There are loads of us fighting this battle! Aragorn urged Theoden to keep fighting. He reminded Theoden why they were fighting in the first place. Aragorn didn’t tell Theoden to retreat, but instead he urged Theoden to face his enemy with Aragorn at his side.
The problem is that a lot of times we don’t find out someone was fighting the same battle until it is too late. That’s why I am coming forward. I have victories over depression. I want to share them. I want to remind people why they are fighting and I want others to do the same for me.
But it gets better, it doesn’t even have to be a battle only fought by those struggling with depression. This may seem sacrilegious but, when Gandalf comes charging down into the battle with a thousand men behind him I think of Jesus leading a charge with all my friends and family following Him. What a glorious site.
This post was a little scattered, because in the midst of all this sadness I am a little scattered, but my point is this: Depression is not a battle that should be fought alone. We do not have to accept darkness and despair as our future. We need to help each other fight, and the first step is coming forward. The only way I made it through my rock bottom was because I had friends who talked about their struggle years ago, before I struggled with it. I called on these friends because I knew they would understand. Hearing their personal story gave me enough hope to keep pushing forward. Don’t hide behind fear…
RIDE OUT WITH ME!