This Robin Wliliams death is hitting me harder than I thought it would—enough that I had an anxiety attack earlier and am still recovering. In part because he’s one of those performers who’s always been there since I can remember. I grew up with Mork and Mindy; I’ve seen The Fisher King a dozen times; and I’ll even admit to guiltily loving Good Will Hunting.
Here’s the thing about chronic depression—you don’t get better. This isn’t like grief, which can ebb away until it’s manageable and you get through the day. Chronic depression never goes away. You have good days, but you will always have bad days. I’ve tried therapy, medication, lifestyle changes. I found my husband. I have a pretty comfortable life, considering what the world is. But I can’t shake the depression, the anger, the self-loathing. Nothing makes it go away permanently. You manage it, and hopefully you manage it long enough to die naturally. But it doesn’t always work that way.
It’s weird, thinking about all of this, after reading Zack Handlen’s entry on dealing with being bipolar. I was diagnosed bipolar during college, but my later psychiatrist disagreed, since I really don’t seem to get the highs I did in college. But I’ve been on different medications—Zoloft, Lexapro (which caused me to gain 70 lbs I still haven’t lost 10 years later), Welbutrin. None of them really made me better-able to manage this. I still have deep, dark periods where I hurt myself and everyone around me. Hell, I just went through a bad one—really, I still haven’t gotten through it—and I’ve lost two good friends I’m never going to get back. And so the cycle deepens.
I don’t know what to do about this. I try, and I’m still here (for now).