Last night, just after midnight, I was heading to bed when I heard the news that Robin Williams had died. Initially I shrugged - he wasn't one of my favourite actors - and then I heard the words "looks like suicide".
Suddenly my heart dropped, and before I knew it I was crying uncontrollably. Rivers of tears rolling down my cheeks for a man I considered over-rated - why?
As you know, I suffer from depression. Not all the time, but it likes to remind me it's there. I think for me, the sadness with Robin Williams is that here was a man who seemed to have conquered all those demons ... and still they hunted him down.
The tragedy is in how archetypal his story is. The clown with the inner sadness. The pain that will not heal. "I am not worthy". Feeling alone and misunderstood. AND UNREACHABLE.
Someone made a good point in one of the Facebook groups I am in - this should be a lesson to remind people how much you love them, respect them, value them. The problem is, when you are in the jaws of depression, you can't even HEAR those words, let alone absorb them. All you can hear is the crashing sounds as you tear yourself to pieces with words and thoughts of utter vileness.
So what could have helped Robin Williams? Probably nothing. He was on meds. He went back to cocaine to try and FEEL again. And in the end, depression still got him, as if he was marked by a wolf bite, ever ready to re-infect him.
I've thought of suicide many many times. I've never acted on it, purely for the reason that I will not leave Beth with that pain, and have her spending her life wondering why her mother abandoned her. It's also not a yearning for death, per se - it's just a yearning to STOP, for the pain to be over. What we seek is more of a pause button, than an eject.
I have the utmost respect for anyone who battles depression. It's an enemy that strips you of the very wits to fight back - and worse, the motivation. Often, we just lie down and take the beating - after all, we feel worthless anyway.
You won't spot us in the crowd. You won't know that we suffer. We are good at being normal, or being the happiest person in the room. We hide things well. We wear all manner of psychological bandages in public, then go home and pick at the wounds, pick, pick pick, till we ooze venomous thoughts, worthless thoughts, destructive thoughts, and the poison runs through every fibre of our body.
And sadly, that's when some of us decide it's enough - because it's the only way to stop that cycle of pain and blame. As Robin Williams's death shows us, you can never be rich enough, talented enough or loved enough to guarantee you can win. And sometimes, you just can't hold on anymore.