What do you see when you look at this picture?
I see it that we have a choice to be sad or to be happy.
It might have been an untimely coincidence, but this picture popped up on my Facebook feed the day Robin Williams died. Upon checking the original Facebook page, I noticed it wasn’t actually posted on that day, it just happened to be shared on my feed on that day.
As someone who has suffered from depression, I am here to tell you, depression is not a choice. Choosing to be happy does not make depression go away.
I’ve heard everyone talking about how great Robin Williams was. How funny, talented, clever. I’ve heard and seen people listing, and debating with others, their favourite Robin Williams movies.
What I’m NOT hearing is people talking about depression. I’m not hearing people talk about suicide. I’m not hearing people talk about how it doesn’t matter how good your life may look from the outside, on the inside it could all be falling completely apart. And no matter how much you might want to put the pieces back together, you feel like there is no point. Like it is hopeless.
I’ve seen people plead for those feeling suicidal to reconsider, as it is not something that just affects you, but your family and friends too. Easy for someone who has never been suicidal to say. I’m not saying I have been suicidal. But I have been in the depths of depression and wondered if it would be easier to crash into the light post than keep driving. At that stage, I was able to think about the rest of the people that would hurt.
Further down into the depths of depression, I don’t think that clarity exists. In those depths, the people you love are better off without you. The easier option – the ONLY option – is to end everything, rather than to face it. At that point, the decision to make the choice to be happy does not exist.
My husband sees it as we have a choice to sit and stare at the mountain, or sit and enjoy the view. Maybe this picture was meant to be that simple. But given the coinciding news, it struck me so much deeper. It reminded me that there is still a stigma around depression. It reminded me that people who have never been through it will never understand it. And it reminded me that if I ever find myself on the mountain side of the bus again, I’ll be much faster to ask someone to help me to the view side.
What do you see? Did you watch your favourite Robin Williams movie last night?
Did you talk to someone about depression and suicide?