Mental Health · Uncategorized

Hiding behind the smile

A quote from Watchmen:

“Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.”

Like many people I woke up this morning to the news of Robin Williams death. As I write it appears to have been confirmed suicide due to depression. Tributes are piling in about his greatness, his charity work, the way he would cheer up his friends including visiting Christopher Reeve in hospital after his paraysing accident dressed as a Russian doctor.

Like many people I cried at the news; he’ll be a man sorely missed but it also brought home something. I’d like to think that as his press agent mentioned Williams’ depression that it meant he had discussed it but for so many this isn’t an option. Feeling that no one will listen, that you are bothering them with trivialities, that they’ll be too busy to listen, so many other reasons to not speak out.

I’ve had that feeling in my bleakest moments where you feel the world will be a better place without you but luckily for me I had a stubborn inner voice that wouldn’t let me act on my thoughts and feelings. At the time though I did what many people do- I became the ‘funny one’, cracking one liners and smiling through the pain. I became such a good actress that no one, not even my closest friends and family, had a clue about what was going on inside. But that’s what we do; we strap on the game face, paint on the big smile and address our audience, whoever that may be.

No one should have to suffer from this disease, no one should have to feel the world will be a better place without them. Depression, like cancer, is a non-discriminatory disease (and it is a disease  one that works it way, deep inside and cripples you, causes pain, destroys lives). It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, an A-list celebrity or a homeless person. It doesn’t care what your social status is, if its coming for you, it will find you.

Please, if you need to ask for help, don’t go through this alone. People will listen. The following link is full of websites and telephone numbers of people to talk to and get advice from:

Take care x

One thought on “Hiding behind the smile

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