This morning I woke up to the news that Robin Williams is dead at 63. He was in all the shows I grew up watching: Aladdin, Jumanji, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Live on Broadway, Hook… All those wonderful, humorous movies. You’d never know that he has… had been battling depression for a long while.
Let’s Talk About Depression
Most of us don’t take depression seriously. We take depression as a form of weakness, a poor excuse to get out of doing something. Sometimes, this is true. Too often you hear attention seekers proclaiming their depression to the world over social media. They wear their pain in their words and wallow in self-pity, wearing you down with their sob stories. You know who I’m talking about. The ones, who like clockwork, would post, ‘omg, I’m so depressed right now!’ every two to three weeks.
No. These are not the people I want to talk to you about.
I want to talk to you about your friends with whom you laugh with and share a beer with. The friends whom you envy and think don’t have a worry in the world.
Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains. –Rorschach, Watchmen by Alan Moore
It is often the people who hide in jokes and smiles that have the worst pain to hide. The invisible suffering they go through gets bottled up so much that even when it surfaces, their friends take it as a joke. I want you to take a look at your friends who were there for you when you need them most. The ones who don’t seem to need any help with anything but is more than ready to offer you aid whenever required.
You know who I’m talking about. Those friends you only think of when you need something? Yeah. Them. No, don’t waste time feeling bad about that time you asked him to do your homework for you. Or the time you asked her to drive you to work even though you live nowhere near each other. Instead, I want you to talk to them and tell them that they are appreciated. I want you to tell them they are important and that you value your friendship. Then, ask them about their lives. Ask them if they are happy with their lives.
I want you to think about yourself. Are you happy with your life? I want you to go out and do what you love. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a dead-end job, working for an unappreciative boss who underpays, undermines and overworks you. Don’t pull those unpaid overtime in the office and bring home work. Don’t hate your life because you hate your job. You can get out of it. Life is too short to be doing something you don’t love.
I want you to know that you are not alone, no matter how it may feel. There’s always someone who cares more than enough to help. There’s someone who loves you and cares for you.
Reach out. Know that you’re loved. And don’t forget to love yourself.
Suicide Prevention Hotlines
- Malaysia (1): (063) 92850039
- Malaysia (2): (063) 92850279
- Malaysia (3): (063) 92850049
- Singapore: 1800- 221 4444