It has taken almost two months to find the words to describe the liquid of sadness that has been running through my veins.
It began after a restless night’s sleep. I awoke on Tuesday morning, July 12, 2014 to the sound of the news programmed on the television to CNN at 7:00 a.m. I heard a familiar name that automatically made me smile as the flash of a face with physical expressions and words had been unforgettable. Within this image, a corny thought of a young man popping out of an egg in the home of a young woman who eventually fell in love with this alien overtook my heart. Yes, it was a funny image and a comfortable one.
The sit-com, “Mork & Mindy,” was unforgettable as were the relationships between the characters. For a moment, I wished an egg would drop into my home with a creature that made me laugh and loved me unconditionally as this alien loved the human no matter where he landed. What a fantasy! I had to splash water on my face to wake up. I did not really focus on the words of the news reporter’s voice as I was in a hurry to pick up my aunt, as she suffers from acute depression and waits patiently for me to keep our weekly visit of errands and appointments, always ending in lunch and long, sincere conversations about life.
Speeding through a shower, make up, and dressing, I found myself still thinking about Robin Williams, the name I heard on the broadcast, which I had turned off just minutes ago. I hadn’t been smiling much lately due to personal conflicts I have had to face and a sadness which had encompassed me over the past several weeks. Besides keeping up with my home “chores” of managing children in and out for the summer, major organization projects, I was trying my best to please my husband with whom my relationship felt as though it was waning slowly from the hopes and dreams I had wished for.
I innately fought the feelings of depression and sadness. In fact, being busy with all of this had helped me mask the fear of sinking back into a deep, black hole where I had once been, almost never to return. I understand this almost fog like existence, as I watched my mom fight against her blackness most of my life, as she had taken her own life due to the sadness and frustrations she felt.
No, that would not be me. I made that promise to myself. Although the struggle continues, my war against giving up when I feel abandoned and useless like a once used a paper towel soaked with old, spilled milk, pushes on as not to end the existence of a woman who knows the feelings of deep depression since childhood.
The worst part about all of this excess thinking was that it was triggered by the name of a man, an actor, who not only made me laugh, but had the ability to make me cry as well. I guess the laughing part was a good sign as this was not a laughing time for me. So, just the thought of an actor who could make my day or the moment before dealing with my weekly visit with my aunt was perfect.
I jumped in my car to drive to Ventura. I put on my usual radio station and the words I heard were not from a pop song, but rather a voice speaking of suicide and depression. At first, I wanted to switch the station, however, I turned it up out of curiosity. At once, I heard the current event circulating like a storm. Robin Williams made the decision to end his life by hanging himself; the cause was intense depression that had been bringing him to this point of self-destruction. My level of comprehension sharpened as I listened carefully.
My body began to hurt. Physical pain attacked my back as I tried to sit up, hearing words and sounds of sadness. I trembled. Driving my car in a direction, which was so familiar, suddenly became a maze with an unknown destination. The names of the off-ramps became blurry as I realized I was endangering my safety as I operated this moving machine. I pulled off the Ventura freeway at the next available access to a street.
I left the radio on to finish hearing details that brought icy chills to my skin and nausea to my physical being. How could this be true? Another person I knew had taken their life. There was no denying the investigation made by the authorities. He went by his own hand, a hanging, without pomp and circumstances or threats. Reports claimed that depression and his failure to overcome his inner demons apparently pushed him to not only mentally consider, but to physically make the decision of going back to his home, the egg that brought him into our lives.
Flashes of what happens, what mental demons can do, was familiar to me, as I grew up observing the unhappiness unfold with my own mother’s attempts to get back home to her “egg.” Lightning struck my heart as I tried to imagine how he made this decision, as I have wondered what would happen if this world recognized that he wasn’t being selfish as we proclaim suicide victims are. Perhaps people could now relate to the intense feelings of frustration and sadness and the inability to overcome them, as the intense pressures of our world have created for us.
Immediately, my mind wondered back to an instant when my world became black and the tunnel I was hiding in was stuck shut with the glue of shame. Depression, depression. Oh, how I have despised that label for many years. For me the diagnosis of being depressed not only made me feel worse about myself, but inadequate as well. No matter what label one uses to describe the internal spiritual strife’s of another, it all boils down to feeling totally and inexplicably hopeless and alone.
I turned off the radio. I took a deep breath. My eyes were heavy, but condemnation of this incredible man was not in my agenda of curiosities. I understood. That was why I was going to my Aunt’s house.
Praying as I traveled, I wanted to yell to the world to pay attention to those who are ailing from monsters worse than Dante’s Inferno attacking them endlessly. Maybe, this was Robin’s way.
I am not saved from the damage of depression. Trying to make sense of suicide has not been very easy for me, as I have said it was my very own mother who lived in a black hole of pain and disturbance of her own. All the chemicals she ingested never seemed to wane the pain and being chemically dependent on varieties of drugs only masked the ugly that haunted her on the inside.
As I contemplate life and death, I begin to reminisce about my life when lying in bed, under the covers, hiding myself, was the only way I believed I could survive. I don’t know how many days of darkness passed before I saw the sun; but I did in fact, see the sun.
And last night when I was on my way to an exciting event, I found myself stuck yet again. The agony of putting on a foundation laid smile became less appealing then hopping in the car and going out for some fun. Yes, depression. But it is only a battle. I may have lost some of those depression battles, but I always come back swinging in the sunshine. I plan to win. Robin Williams, like my mom, sadly lost the war. Their darkness was beyond black. And there lies the tears of a clown. Where was someone to understand? Where was the help?
And, now I realize that my time with my aunt not only lessened her pain for the time being, but me being there when her world was falling apart is what really saved me from my own mindful demons lying dormant in my brain.
With so many people fighting depression, I wish I could send a message. Don’t give up before the miracle happens. We all have hidden demons, some we can confront and knock out, and others just live, silently but painfully inside. And, while we do hurt today, tomorrow will come and hopefully, with support and love from the right people, the silent demons will remain silent or possibly find a way out of our souls. Add years to your life and life to your years. Open a dialogue and talk to someone.
As the sadness of losing someone we love can be overwhelming, in time, we can learn to accept it. RIP Mork. RIP Mom.