Every morning, after the prolonged period of coming-round that follows the children’s dawn chorus, I check Twitter and Facebook.
Just in case anything sufficiently apocolyptic has happened to justify my desire to spend the entire rest of the day in bed. And before you say anything, I’m well aware that there are other, more grown up ways of checking the news. It’s just that they don’t come with holiday photos, gratuitious cake pictures and empathy from my fellow exhausted mothers-in-arms. Don’t judge me.
Occasionally this plan backfires. Because something bad genuinely has happened. And that’s no way to wake up.
Today was one of those days. Even in my semi-comatose state I knew that so many quotes from Dead Poets Society was not a spontaneous celebration of 1980’s cinematography.
He joins the list. Of celebrities who have accompanied me through my life, without them ever knowing. And have, for whatever reason, been unable to continue living.
Heath Ledger. Corey Monteith. Alexander McQueen. Whitney.
And now Robin. Who will forever be the voice of every genie in my head. Who introduced an entire generation to men in drag, and outshone Pierce Brosnan in the process. Who inspired giggle doctors across the country. And taught us all how dangerous board games can really be.
I’m pretty sure that everyone has a favourite Robin Williams movie. Mine? Good Will Hunting. No question.
The pivotal scene in the film. Where Williams’ therapist finally breaks through to Matt Damon’s mathematically-brilliant tortured soul.
“You see this? All this shit? It’s not your fault…”
It’s not your fault. Over and over again. Until Damon, and the entire viewing population, break down and sob. Because sometimes, that’s what we really need to hear. That actually, this time, it’s not our fault. That shit happened to us, not because of us.
Social media has made me cross today. People talking about another Hollywood star taking the easy way out. Another loser who couldn’t cope.
To all these people, I say this. Be grateful.
Be grateful that you have no idea what depression does. How it steals every single piece of you. Until there’s nothing left except the sad and the cold and the lonely.
Be grateful that you haven’t had to watch your world turn dark. With no logical explanation. Despite having everything you ever wanted.
Be grateful that you’re able to get out of bed in the morning. That you’re not so empty that everything feels utterly, competely meaningless.
Be grateful that you have a high horse to sit on. I had one of those once.
I’m getting better. The medication is good. The support is amazing. My family and friends are incredible.
The other day I made pancakes and homemade jam. Before 9am. I think I might even have been dressed. Things are getting easier.
But still I have days. Days when the chilly, grey cloak settles on my shoulders and threatens to stay there for good. Days when the numbness and emptiness feels like more than just a memory.
Days when the only thing worse than getting out of bed is the thought of what the children will do to the house if I don’t.
Depression is not a choice that anyone makes. It is something that happens to you. At you. Without your consent.
I can’t judge you Mr Williams. I won’t. There but for the grace of God go I, and so many, many others.
I don’t understand it. Any of it. I don’t know why some people make it through and some don’t. There’s no logic. No pattern. Not even Mrs Doubtfire could tidy it up.
One day, I’ll get to compare Scottish accents and poetry quotations with the man himself in eternity. Where he is free. Where we will all be free.
Until then, we take each day at a time. Today, we made party bags for Elvie’s birthday party. And went to the park. Because we can. Because we are alive. And fighting. And not yet overwhelmed. Because life, in all it’s chaos, is still beautiful.
To all the social media haters, I say: be grateful.
To anyone who’s lonely, or scared, or empty, I say: there is help. There is hope. Talk to someone.
And to the man himself, cracking jokes up with the angels, I say this.
“You see this? All this shit?
It’s not your fault.”