The reactions to Robin Williams' sudden death have been many and varied. Personally, I've been reeling from it because I've been down that road and, thank god, made a different turn.
Few people know that I was deeply depressed in March 2013. It's not something I like to advertise. My ego far prefers sharing pretty pictures, achievements, and outings, rather than things that leave me so vulnerable. But mental health is such an important thing to talk about that I couldn't ignore this opportunity.
My real "issue," if you will, is anxiety. I have long gravitated toward worry and fear, muting them with constant activity and control. But when I do fall into that dark pit of depression, it is damn hard to climb out. Especially because I just want to be left alone. Outwardly, I seem fine, but inside, I'm totally freaked out that I'm in this pit again and that I always wind up back here and that things will never get better. Hence why controlling my fate and planning to escape pain through suicide becomes appealing. This escape hatch didn't just open up in 2013 though; it's popped open to varying degrees for a long time. But 2013 was the time it swallowed me up the most.
When I was that depressed, I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to call my psychiatrist and, for the first time, stopped scheduling follow-ups. I was so convinced that my life would be forever a loop of anxiety and sadness that I didn't want to hear otherwise, although I desperately needed to. It is so vitally important to seek help when you're depressed, ESPECIALLY if you don't want to. Luckily, I never attempted anything, but the thoughts I was having were scary as hell. So I finally treated depression like the illness it is, admitted that I needed help, and committed myself to treatment.
If you have a friend who expresses suicidal thoughts, do whatever you can (within reason) to make getting help easier. I usually can't sit still, but when I was depressed, all I wanted to do was sit on the couch watching The Carrie Diaries. Doing anything felt like a huge chore. Thankfully, the one friend I inadvertently opened up to called the suicide hotline for me, offered to take me to the ER, actually took me there the next morning when I decided to go, and covered things with my family until I was together enough to deal with the outside world. Having less things to worry about gave me less "outs" to justify not checking myself in when I so needed to.
Suicide is the depressed mind's main option, when in reality, there are so many others. I'm living proof of that.