This week marks the fifth Anniversary of Robin Williams’ suicide. For me and for so many others, that day is still very raw and is wholly etched in my memory forever. I have written several times about the impact his death had on me and the impact it had on our society as well. In these articles I have emphasized the importance of our words and the language that we use pertaining to suicide which can also make an impact on how we as a society help end the stigma surrounding Mental Illness. Moreover, in these same articles I have discussed how so many people battling a Mental Illness still need to wear their “mask” for protection too.
As you know, I chronicle my own personal journey quite openly and honestly and I rely mostly on Social Media to do so. Robin Williams’ did not necessarily choose to do so and that was his choice and so upon hearing the news of his sudden death by suicide without knowing through any media outlets in general that he had been battling with depression it made it seem that much more difficult for many to understand. I mean, he always “looked” so “happy”, he had a thriving career making the world laugh, he had lots of money, fame, a loving family and great success; he had it all so why would he end his life many still wonder.
What we saw was what was hidden behind Robin’s “mask” as with so many other celebrities who have taken their lives before him and following his death on August 11, 2014 did all too well too. A day where I myself had been alone, no one knowing my whereabouts and contemplating ending my own life as the news of his death broke. But like Robin and Kate and Anthony and so many others, celebrity or not, I have learned to master my mask without always realizing it.
As I mentioned above, I use Social Media to chronicle my journey and Facebook in particular has become a very important tool in doing so. I will admit that I love Facebook (yes I love Facebook) even though I don’t actually spend a lot of time each day on it scrolling through my feeds because I can be easily triggered. But it’s a safe place for me to write and express myself without having to be face to face with others. It has helped me build up a substantial network for many things including my blog, it allows me to keep up with daily news & entertainment and it connects me to old friends and so many of the new friends it’s allowed me to make.
So what’s my point you’re probably wondering? I get the impression some days that I am confusing many people and I don’t want to wear my “mask” anymore because it is suffocating me. People read or see many of my posts on Facebook (and Instagram too) and think “oh look how great, Kim is going out, she must be feeling better!!” The truth is I go out all the time and for the past five years since I began battling with depression and anxiety I have gotten up everyday and showered everyday as well (sometimes twice). I do what I can most days, when I can and with who I can and even if I am quite limited as to what daily activities I can and can’t do and with whom I can and can’t do them with I am doing them at my own pace and within my own boundaries.
I want to be able to show the world the many faces of Depression and Anxiety and that includes all the good stuff I do along with the hard stuff too. I want everyone to see that there are many sides of Depression and Anxiety but I want to also be able to do it without being judged and I most definitely want to do it without my mask on because no matter what I am doing, more often than not, I am still doing it while experiencing severe anxiety (and sometimes panic), chronic depression and on many days with suicidal ideations as well.