Today, a comedian died. Robin Williams was an internationally known and well-loved comedian who brought cheer to millions worldwide. Sadly, the man was suffering from depression for a very long time it seems. I didn’t know this about Mr Williams but I had heard of many other comedians suffering from depression with few of them even committing suicide. When I first heard of such a case, I just couldn’t digest it. This was way back when I still had an idealistic view of the world. I remember thinking at that time, how can a comedian commit suicide?? Isn’t that really, really ironic; I mean, comedians are funny people. They make people laugh and consequently, they should be feeling good about themselves, right? What could possibly drive a guy who makes a living out of making others laugh, take his own life? That question left me confused as a child!
But then I grew up and learned that the world is not all hunky dory. People often wear a mask of personality, hiding who they truly are and what they actually feel. The happy face we put on and the jokes we crack are well rehearsed. It may or may not fool everyone but most of them don’t care enough to peel off the mask and take a good look inside. Hell, they don’t even remember/realise that everyone has a mask because their own mask got super glued to their face long ago. To put it in simpler terms, Bruce Wayne wears the metaphorical mask when in public but being The Batman is his true calling. However, people only see his money and the beautiful girls on his arms and buy into the playboy image he has crafted for himself.
Almost all of us go through the whole gamut of emotions during the course of our lives and unfortunately some of us fall prey to the illness of depression. Sadly, there is still a lot of ambiguity on how to effectively deal with this. Some people naively (but probably with good intentions) offer advice like “just go out and have fun man”, “pick a hobby” etc but most of them aren’t practical. You can be in the company of your friends who are having fun yet feel completely lonely because mentally you are a thousand miles away. Picking a hobby is difficult because sometimes you have trouble getting basic day to day things done. Almost daily you feel like you are falling down a never ending slope, trying desperately to cling on and climb back up.
They say look at the bright side and that, in the end, everything will be fine. But they don’t know that there is no bright side and that looking into the distance, you will only find darkness staring back at you. And that can be nerve wracking. To paraphrase what the agent of chaos, The Joker said, Depression is like gravity, all it takes is a little push.
Apparently there are a wide variety of coping mechanisms for this illness. However, all of them are akin to throwing wet paper towels on the wall hoping that at least one of them sticks. They say keep faith and hope for the best. But isn’t hope the original drug? Sure, in moderation, it drives everyone by giving us a sense of purpose. But once you get addicted, then you start hunting it for everywhere and anywhere, disrupting your normal life. And holding on to the belief that imaginary beings will bail you out when things get too tough is just another form of hope, an unwarranted one at that.
Sometimes you need to let go of hope, just let go of it completely. Because once you have absolutely nothing left to hope for, every single thing suddenly becomes a gift. Or in other words, when free falling into depression, maybe sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can climb out; provided the fall doesn’t kill you, figuratively of course….
So now you might ask, am I depressed? And I will answer, I don’t think so. Am I going to do anything about it? I don’t know. Will I be okay? I have absolutely no idea at this point. They say knowledge is power. But ignorance is bliss. And for now I am choosing bliss. Because at this very moment, I need the bliss. Desperately.