When I learned about the passing of Robin Williams, I was stunned. He has always been one of my favorite actors. From phrases like, "Nanu Nanu" to "Shazbot" to "Goooooood Morning Vietnam". To classic movies that pulled on our heart-strings - "Dead Poets Society", "Awakenings", to "Patch Adams", and the fun-loving Genie in Aladdin. Robin always had a way of finding that sweet spot with a joke, or just using that infectious big smile.
Then I heard what caused his death - an apparent suicide. It's been widely reported that Robin has struggled with some form of depression. But it begs the question, "How can a comedian that made so many of us laugh, feel so sad?" Couldn't he tap into his "inner-genie" and come out of the bottle?
If you have never battled depression, it's difficult to understand what it really is. You almost feel as if you are at the bottom of a hole and can't get out. You know that there must be a way out, but you don't know how to make that happen.
That's how I have felt on a few occasions in my own life. I remember sitting in a chair at my friend's house, almost motionless, watching everyone else go about their everyday life. I wondered, "How can they be happy while I feel so sad?" There weren't words that changed the situation, but, I had a good friend who stayed by my side. He was there for me, even when I didn't know what I wanted. I knew I just wanted help.
I felt like I was frozen. I couldn't laugh. I couldn't talk. I didn't want to eat. I just wanted to sleep, and escape from the world. Fortunately, it took about a week for me to get out of "the hole". But for others, it can be weeks. Months. Years.
If you find yourself, "frozen", please reach out to someone. Talk to a friend. A Pastor. Someone you can trust. Or, just ask someone to come over and be with you. It really made a difference in my life.
Unfortunately, as lonely as life can be, there is no genie to fix depression. But, in my life, I have found God's promise to never leave us is true. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6