Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Be kind. Seek compassion.

There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light
And I'm frightened by those that don't see it.
-Avett Brothers

The death of actor and comedian Robin Williams has left me feeling brokenhearted on so many levels. The first of which is the simple fact that I can identify with his depression and understand the cloudiness that becomes your rational thought process while you are in the thick of it. During my relatively short bouts with Postpartum Depression after the births of both my children, I experienced an array of feelings that were completely abnormal for me, ranging from deep and uncontrollable sorrow to a choking feeling of desperation and a lot of times just a complete numbness, like I'd fallen asleep on my brain and it went numb like an arm or a foot.
I personally never had thoughts of suicide, but I did have moments where I just wanted to stop time and not exist. I couldn't leave my house but I didn't want to stay. I wished I'd never had children and thought my life would end without them. It's a daily battle of inconsistencies that cannot be explained or understood, even by the person experiencing it.

So my request is simple:
If you have never battled depression, seek compassion in this moment for those around you. Author Wendy Mass wrote, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." Her words could not ring more true in this scenario. Even someone who lives their whole life and builds a career out of bringing joy to others may be themselves, joyless. BE KIND. SEEK COMPASSION. Take the loss of this beloved man and learn from it. Those around you may be waiting for someone, ANYONE, to ask them how they're doing. And not just ask, but LISTEN. Be that person.

There is a darkness that accompanies depression that only the individual can sense, and there is nothing more isolating in the world than to feel like you are lost and alone in the deep. It's murky and you're drowning and it's exhausting to just EXIST some days...
and I think some people just get tired of swimming.

Be kind. Seek compassion. For everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Tanaka

-Sarah Autry

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