Forgive me if I'm more than a little cynical about this surge of newfound "concern" over depression. These platitudes anger and frustrate not only those who suffer from this condition but those who love them. It will be all forgotten when one of the willfully stupid celebrities society worships pulls another bullshit stunt.
Because that is part of what this disease inflates: the sense of futility, hopelessness, and despair that nothing will improve as long as the world worships moronic behavior and stupidity. From Honey Boo Boo to Kim Kardashian, the Westboro Baptists and ISIS, to every polarized self-serving jerk in Congress, the idiots are glorified, worshiped, adored--and emulated. Apathy runs rampant among those who could potentially change the world because they see the majority of people choose to love stupidity and refuse to change.
Perhaps there was a subliminal reason the Genie character Mr. Williams voiced in Aladdin was blue. They say most comedians are in psychic pain; it allows them to see how inane and ridiculous the world can be. His death hit me hard. If someone as funny and amazing as Robin Williams couldn't manage to see his way through, how in the world will I?
"What do you have to be depressed about?"
Words, platitudes, cheerful intentions, and slogans from well-meaning friends don't help. Being there, silently supporting, making an effort to understand, does. I sympathize completely with Mr. Williams and his frustration with treatment. There are no easy answers. My heart goes out to his family who have suffered for decades with him and his efforts to keep going. They are heartbroken now and yet, surely they understand that at last he is at peace.
[This post has been simultaneously published on The Writers' Vineyard.]