This morning I woke up to find out that Robin Williams has died. It's a big shock and a huge loss. The thing is, with all these people saying he was a childhood hero for being Genie in Aladdin, or Mrs. Doubtfire or Mork. If he's a hero to me for anything, it's for Patch Adams. I was about 12 when I first saw it on TV, and it was the first time I'd seen something that I felt actually showed depression. Proper depression. At 12 years old, I'd already been thinking of myself as depressed for two years, though I think the feeling had been coming on before that. I already identified as someone who wasn't coping, but I didn't have the ability to explain that to anyone. I couldn't organize the thoughts in my head in such a way that allowed me to discuss it with anyone.
The biggest shock this morning wasn't the death of a great actor, it was in reading the responses. I can't even count how many times I've seen "Don't bottle it up," and "Talk to someone" today. I have come to respect Jason Manford for being a bit more decent than many people, and his status was a good effort. He at least recognized you might not feel able to talk to family/friends and offered the Samaritans as an alternative. The problem is... what about when you've tried all that?
I spent very nearly a decade refusing help. I didn't think anyone would understand or could understand. I didn't believe anyone could help. But it got so bad I had to do something. So I started going to a private counsellor.
That was seven years ago. In the last seven years I've tried private counselling, four years of talking therapy through the Community Mental Health team, anti-depressants from every group (all from basic dose all the way to high dose, stayed on highest dose for therapeutic time and weaned back down). Since being diagnosed I've had a year of therapy from someone who specializes in Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. I have been treated by four therapists, three consultants and a psychiatric nurse. I can't use phones because of my disability, but I've emailed Samaritans in the past. They replied, but they couldn't understand my situation enough to help.
I rarely talk about just how bad I feel. I don't tell people how dark it gets in my head, or how frequently that happens. People say they're there if I need to talk, but having tried that in the past, I know they just have too limited a comprehension of my condition and how it affects me to even understand the problem, let alone help. It would take days, at least, to scratch the surface of the problems, and in all honesty, I just don't have the energy to do that. With anyone. Being like this 24/7 sucks energy out of you like you wouldn't believe, and I just don't have the energy myself to each new person who thinks they can help.
Recently I've been a little more honest, just to save the guilt I feel for never telling people. I have few friends as it is -- I don't want to push them away by my response to "how are you?" always being "god f**king awful, and I want to be dead." Up until recently, I've always gone with "OK." These days, the select few who actually want to know (I can literally count proper friends on one hand) have had "meh" or "not great" or "struggling tbh" as the response. I told one friend I was struggling, and after a short discussion he said "Well at least you don't want to kill yourself."
The thing is, I fight this thought more than I fight anything else in my life. I am constantly fighting -- I don't want to get up, but I make myself. I don't want to go out, but I make myself. I don't want to make eye contact, but I try to. I don't want to talk to people, but I try. But above everything else, this is the thought I have to fight hardest. Because in all honesty, I don't have anything left in me to fight with. I have tried all the therapies that have been suggested. I took all the pills they gave me, even when they made me feel awful. I went to all the appointments even when I felt they weren't helping. I've done everything that's supposed to make you better, and the short answer is it hasn't worked on me. It's no one's fault. I get that. But when you feel so awful you genuinely feel you, and everyone around you would be better off if you weren't there, and that this pain is just not something you can soldier through, and there's nothing in the immediate future that's going to improve it... Staring at days, weeks, months of this pain before it improves -- IF it improves at all.
I understand why people kill themselves. I think about it every day. That's not an exaggeration. It varies how much I think about it each day, but there hasn't been a day in the last six months that I haven't thought about it, and it's been this way since I was about 10. Very very occasionally I get a day where I'm struggling really bad, but I don't want to be dead. But it's not often.
Anyone who is feeling low / depressed / suicidal -- it's important they try and access help, but I think sometimes people forget that not everyone can be helped like that. People think they're being helpful by telling us there's always someone to listen, or there's always doctors to help. It's not very encouraging for those of us who tried to get help, and committed to help, and it didn't work...
People need to understand that sometimes, there isn't a way to cope with the pain, no matter how much help you receive. People need to accept that suicide isn't always something that happens because that person "bottled it up" or didn't try to get help. Sometimes it was trying to get help and still be no better that makes you feel there's no alternative. Because for some people, there isn't an alternative. For some people, suicide is the only chance to stop it hurting, and believe me -- it's a pain like no other. I wish instead of "It's a shame they couldn't feel they were loved" people realized they should be saying "It's a shame despite how much they were loved, the pain was even bigger."
R.I.P Robin Williams. I hope you're not hurting any more.
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