Depression is a disease that currently plagues millions of people. Why does it seem like some of these stereotypes continue to cling to certain scenarios, and people despite the fact that it is the year Two Thousand and Fourteen… I feel like it almost needs to be spelled out to get the weight of what Century we are in across. Would you call someone a coward who was ill with cancer, or any other Disease? Well maybe if you were completely devoid of compassion, but otherwise you would know that it’s not something the individual has “control” over. Yes, there are treatments, that are sometimes effective if the disease is caught in time, some diseases thankfully even, have cures, but it’s still not something you can snap your fingers and just decide is over.
Where we can be currently challenged as a society, is that so often we degrade what we simply can’t understand. This could be compared to a fish degrading sneakers…. Simply because it has no use for them, has no feet to experience them, has nothing to relate them to, and has ZERO understanding of them, and yet…for a pro runner, or even just you running to the grocery on the weekend, sneakers are completely relevant and valid, thus…. We must not judge what we don’t know. If you don’t understand something… that’s cool, but please do us all a favor and be beyond the ignorance it takes to degrade that same thing that you don’t understand, in this case.. Depression.
I write this in the face of the tragic passing of the very talented and incredibly soulful Actor Robin Williams, and also in the face of some, to include a Fox News Anchor, who have labeled this incredibly inspiring man a coward. I write this upon being someone who has myself struggled with depression, and someone who as a spiritual counselor to this day coaches clients through similar struggles back to the reminder of the truth that only love is real.
Now, I believe in science… yes. I believe and it’s now gratefully scientifically documented that we can reshape our brains inner landscape, or synaptic connections, yes! Based on the thoughts we choose to grow, and the actions we choose to do, so the good news is… there is hope. Is there a “cure” for depression? That’s debatable… I do know however, that you can find relief, that you can bring more love and joy and gratitude in your life, and that it can and does get better. Then I also know that it’s a Disease… one that no one asks for, one that is triggered by a multitude of things.. one that does not care about race, or class, or your level of success or money in the bank. The people who struggle with it, are not horrible people who have no gratitude or grace… they are ill people who are struggling, and more then condemnation, they need love. And if you label Robin Williams a coward for submitting to the pain that we can only guess became to much for this inspired heart to bare, then we simultaneously condemn the 13 year old student, the 25 year old actress, the 40 year old husband, the 52 year old divorcee, and that to me is beyond an injustice to society, and completely counterproductive to empowering the millions who currently struggle with depression, as well as those who's lives this Disease has claimed.
So let’s set the record straight, what happened was a tragedy, and it is devastating, my heart goes out to the family and to the millions maybe billions of people this brilliant soul touched. There IS hope if you are struggling with depression, you are loved… and you are worth it, and it can get better. But it is also a Disease (I'll say it again), it’s NOT a choice, and it needs to be treated as such with love, and compassion, and nurturing…the true ways to alleviate pain, which in my opinion is what we should all be focused on in a the face of multiple tragedies worldwide and current, from shot down airplanes to wars raging in the middle east, to ongoing sex trafficking, it is our responsibility to take responsibility to strengthen our brothers and sisters of planet earth and not to degrade them.To be a part of the solution, and not the problem.
Lastly I would say to any who choose mockery in the face of others pain, what are you teaching our future generations, and what kind of world do you desire your children to live in? More importantly, who do YOU want to be? And how do YOU want to be remembered?
You, we, are worth it. Choose love.