The Demons Behind A Smile
The news of Robin Williams suicide has prompted many to speak out and think about the effect depression has on every day people. It is a silent killer and many people hide it well and go on with their lives whilst others find it debilitating.
For me personally, I have struggled on and off with both depression and anxiety for most of my teenage and adult life. In fact, it has become so much a part of it that the coping mechanisms I’ve learned over the years just come naturally, but it doesn’t make the battle any easier. I just recognise the signs quicker.
Compared to some, I consider myself very lucky. Not many people who know me, know this side of me. I’m the joker, always laughing and smiling, but behind it is another story. However, I have a great support network around me that consist of family and friends, that will very quickly step in if needed.
But when it comes to suicide, it’s hard as the outsider to understand why someone would take their life and some even consider it selfish or cowardly. I don’t. I lost a close family member to suicide when I was seventeen and it hit me very hard and even now I don’t think I’m fully over it. But I don’t blame that person for what they did, but have some understand at what drove him to do it.
When you are in the depths of depression, it’s like the whole world has lost its light and colour. Nothing makes any sense and there’s no joy in anything. Every day is a struggle and for some they succumb and others recognise something is wrong and have the ability to ask for help.
It’s very hard not to listen those negative voices or little demons as I call them. I am my worst enemy for it. Those voices telling me that I will never be good enough etc and I bloody listen to them. But at best, I shut them up and turn around and say: ‘no actually I am good enough’
This year, I struggled with depression on and off due to a set of circumstances that were out of my control. One where I lost my father, the impact of which was to try and get on with things and not think about it. This evidently resulted in a burnout, but what this taught me was that it was okay to not be okay and admitting that was very empowering. I feel that the stigma attached to depression and anxitiy does cause people to buckle down and try and cope and really the best thing anyone can do is say: ‘I need help’ then maybe suicides would become less common and mental health issues would be highlighted and understood.