I woke up to the news this morning that we have lost Robin Williams. First signs is that he committed suicide, that depression and alcohol played a part, but that drugs didn't.
He is a great loss to the industry and I feel for his family.
He had a way about him that just made you laugh. He was quick, thoughtful, funny, and ALWAYS ON.
How tiring that must be, to be always expected to make people laugh, to feel like a failure if you can't.
I know what depression is. I'm not Robin Williams, I'm not a millionaire actor and comedian who is in the public eye all the time. I have the chance to hide behind my PC, to shut the doors, and luckily, like Robin appeared to have, I have friends and family who see me like that and don't judge me for it.
They say creativity is linked to depression. I don't know how much of that is true, because there are so many different kinds of depression. Some people have chemical imbalance, some people get lost in drugs or alcohol, some people just feel low and can't see why. Like autism, depression is a spectrum and the range of manifestations is immense.
Depression is as much a part of my life as it was Robin's - always trying hard, being *on*, forever trying your damnedest just to be normal. Sometimes the depression breaks through and I withdraw from real life for a while. It's like a toothache, always there on the edges of everything I do, like I am carrying around a heavy weight.
And sometimes that weight is just too heavy. I am so bloody lucky that I can manage my depression, with meds and counselling, and to be honest the best therapy is my writing and the ability to do what I love.
One thing, if you are an RJ Scott fan, you'll notice I never write a depressed or suicidal person in my books, I think if I did I would lose myself in the character too much. And you know what? I didn't even realise I was avoiding that particular character facet until today, and I sat down to think about why that is so.
Zach on a bench in the snow, he could have been depressed, I could have focused in on that but I didn't. He had panic attacks, and people could see that in the story and they helped him.
He was supported enough to be strong. Look at any of my characters with PTSD, or depression. Or any other of the myriad of mental and physical issues. You will see them overcoming it all by being able to find some kind of strength added to being supported by others. They, like me, are the lucky ones. And I always give them their happy ever after.
But to the others, like Robin Williams, or the bullied teenager, or the person with the wrong kind of chemicals in their brains, to the ones where there is so much darkness that they have to leave us... where the weight of it all is too much ... my heart breaks for you all, because it's a hell that sometimes seems impossible to pull away from.