Can we talk about depression now?

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Like many people I woke up on Tuesday to the news that actor Robin Williams had died - at the age of just 63, from an apparent suicide.

This exceptionally high profile funny man - who could act the darkest and more serious of roles as well - had suffered from depression for many years.

We will probably never know what proved to be the tipping point on Monday - what prompted him to take the irreversible step of killing himself - but perhaps his death will wake the world up to the reality of depression.

You see Robin Williams is proof, if we needed it, that depression knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care if you are rich. It doesn’t care if you are successful. It doesn’t care if you are loved my millions.

It doesn’t differentiate between anyone - that’s the thing.

It makes no difference between the homeless man on the street, and the actor in his Hollywood mansion.

It’s not something that you can just pull yourself out of - not easily anyway. You can’t cure someone with depression by telling them there are people worse off. You can’t help someone with depression by telling them to pull themselves together.

It’s not the same as feeling down for a day or two. And it’s not always just about feeling sad. For some people it can be about feeling numb - lost in a sense of nothing being of worth. It can also be about feeling very, very frightened and overwhelmed with every day tasks.

It can be paralysing, and life threatening and at its worst it can be fatal.

But that said, it can also just be a constant niggling annoyance on your shoulder. It can zap your confidence very slowly, bit by bit. It can fool you into thinking you have it under control until one day you find yourself in the horrors again wondering what has triggered this episode.

It’s also something that is all around us. Statistically, you know someone - probably many people - with depression. It may not seem obvious. The person who is suffering may appear, like Robin Williams, to be happy, outgoing and outrageous - but something else may be happening when the doors are closed at night.

But because you don’t know - because you may not have realised that even the person writing this column suffers from chronic depression - then maybe you could just try, a little harder, to be kind to all.

As my favourite saying in the world reminds us be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle. Maybe we need to be a bit kinder this week.