What is Depression // Robin Williams Gone Too Soon


Last night I heard the sad news that Robin William had passed from a possible suicide. Instantly I felt so saddened because he's brought so much joy and happiness to the lives of many across the globe, when you think about comedy geniuses he tops the scale and films such as Mrs Doubtfire, What Dreams May Come, Aladdin, Patch Adams, Flubber, Hook and more recently The Angriest Man in Brooklyn all topped favourite film lists including my own. 

I remember watching The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and there being tears streaming down my face, while a lot of fans hated it I on the other hand totally 'got it' I could feel his sense of panic and wanting to be close to those that he's become detached from over the years. I remember watching after that Robin Williams had said he too had felt like connected and very much like his character and that was one of the reasons he'd taken the role - shortly after watching it Robin himself checked back into rehab to take control of his mental health and sobriety. 

If you've ever been close to someone with mental illness or went through it yourself you'll understand when I say it's not easy to spot. Most people with depression are good at hiding it because they don't want to burden others with their feelings or worries, sometimes it's the happiest and most helpful person that you know that's really struggling and feeling pain behind closed doors, understanding the signs so that you can help them is really important. 

Some also believe that you can only become depressed if you've got a serious reason to be down, a death of someone close to you, major illness, divorce or something so terrible that it's only natural that you'd become sad. The truth is there's no real cause of depression, sure these bad events can become a trigger but sometimes it's just hormones, being left out, a change in routine, a lot of little things happening over a short period, being too hard on yourself and not achieving goals that you've set yourself, people constantly berating you, picking on you or being nasty, changing seasons, financial woes or even medications can be triggers. Those who have active depression have described it as feeling as though you've fallen into a black hole, have a concrete slab in their stomach that's just dropped or even as though there's a huge monkey on their back. 

Symptoms 

Changes in sleeping habits // sleeping more or less than usual. 
Concentration // Finding it hard to concentrate on tasks especially ones you previously found easily. 
Thoughts & Feelings // Feeling negative, feeling worthless, feeling as though you are a burden to those around you, feeling helpless. When you try to pick your mood up you find it difficult. 
Appetite // Eating a lot more or a lot less than you normally would. 
Personality Changes // Becoming more irritable, aggressive and short-tempered or oppositely becoming quieter and zoning out more than you normally would. 
Additional Symptoms // Feeling as though you have a ton of lead in your stomach or a dark cloud following you, constant butterflies, shakiness, heart palpitations, feeling as though you are fighting with your own [inner] self, feeling the need to numb the 'pain', feeling as though everyone would be better off without you, thinking of ways to end your life to take the pain away. Hurting yourself either minor or majorly. 

If you find that you're sad or your mood has altered for longer than normal and you cannot seem to get yourself back out of your funk, you maybe depressed. Actively seeking help early on can be what saves your life and fighting with yourself to speak about it is necessary! Depression left untreated can become very painful, it can be hard to treat and it can take lives far too early.  

What Steps Can You Take 

Realise that YOU are important, you are loved and you are deserving of happiness! If you struggle to believe it, keep saying it over and over. Eventually it will sink in. 

Speak to your local GP, community midwife, community nurse or counsellor is the first step. Never be ashamed to do so and do not let the feelings of you being worthless take over you. If you cannot speak the words, write them down and hand the note to your doctor - it happens more than you know. 

Education, education, education! learn more about mental illness, how it works, how it's treated and what the signs and symptoms are. Knowing and understanding the condition/s makes it easier to reclaim your mind and body back - realising that it's a condition in the same way that a cold, flu or high cholesterol is will make you realise that you are not your condition. It's temporary and can be treated, the condition can be controlled with the right lifestyle. Some great websites include www.nhs.uk and www.mind.org.uk.   

Assessing your diet, medications and lifestyle. Sometimes it's one of these that's the trigger and seeking help but not altering the trigger will only become a setback. 

I know people who feel it's OK to throw out words such as 'just get over it', 'crazy', 'loony' or 'psycho' as though it means nothing, it's these people who give the condition a bad name and you shouldn't laugh along with them because this may stop someone close to you from talking or asking for help. It's immature and reckless. Some who believe that you're always going to be a danger to yourself or those around you and will treat you as though you're less than a whole person; taking steps to alter your lifestyle, home and those you surround yourself with can be one of the main steps in really taking back your life - it's normally the hardest option but the best one. 

Thinking about your future. Even when you feel better it's sometimes good to really get to the bottom of your worries. Asking to be referred to a counsellor or a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapist) is a fantastic way to empty your mental bag of worries (it's the easiest way for me to describe it). If that bag isn't emptied it will always be lying in wait for your depression to return and for it to start feeding your condition.  

Please always know you are loved and just as important as the next person. I know it can be a lonely condition, you can be surrounded by hundreds or even thousands of people but still feel so alone it hurts. I maybe online but know I am here for YOU! please feel free to contact me at any point because I truly do care about each and every one of you sweeties. Let's make the change and stop these conditions from being treated as 'taboo'. 



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