You can never tell what is going on behind a person’s smile. A person may be filled with joy and sunshine on the surface, with nobody ever seeing the turmoil and pain that lies just beneath the veneer.
It is a familiar truth, bordering on cliché, that we all tell ourselves whenever somebody reveals that they are low. And yet the suicide of comedian Robin Williams earlier this week, as he finally lost his battle against the demons which had always plagued him, has brought many people up short. Because despite all the leaps forward, poor mental health still retains a stigma; people still don’t understand what it means to suffer the isolation and pain of depression and related illnesses.
I have friends who have been through those dark moments, when the world has laid them so low that they can barely function. We need to be with them at those moments; to let them know that they are loved and that we care for them. Not in a theoretical “I’m praying for you” way; but in a “I’m getting my hands dirty; I’m standing with you” way.
Everyone has the ability to be amazing. In the film Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams played a teacher who told his students, “Carpe diem”. He wanted them to be the best they could; to take life by the scruff of the neck and live a life filled with passion and joy. But sometimes the fight can leave us for no obvious reasons. Which is why we must never forget to tell those around us that we love them. That we will lift them up when they are down. That we will not forsake them. Because God never forgot us – and He made us to be extraordinary.
Ben Evans, Diocesan Communications Officer
If you are suffering from depression and would like to speak to somebody about it, Listening Post is a Gloucestershire charity offering counselling to adults suffering from emotional distress. You can call them on 01452 383820, 01242 256060 or 01453 750123. Alternatively you can call The Samaritans any time, day or night, on 08457 909090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org