"Genie, You’re Free."
Genie, you’re free. pic.twitter.com/WjA9QuuldD— The Academy (@TheAcademy)August 12, 2014
This is the Tweet that broke me.
It’s such a shame that so many brilliant, talented people who have depression find suicide to be the final solution for finding freedom from their own minds. My childhood optometrist— a warm, caring man who campaigned to stabilize my startlingly rapid deteriorating vision at a young age and paved the way for the journey back to nearly 20/20— took his own life when I was in high school. He locked his beloved hunting dogs out of the room to do it. When the police responded to the scene, they found them still waiting obediently outside the door, whimpering. My father’s good friend, the funny and clever sculptor Patrick Farrow (brother to Mia), took his own life a few years ago in his studio, the place he resided with his wife and brainstormed his wondrous creations. My father still hasn’t forgiven his friend for what he did— “I’m still so mad at him,” he’ll say.
When I was in high school, I looked my best friend in the eyes while she was seeking help for her depression and told her, “I’m going to tell you something I may never tell anyone else in my entire life— I can’t make it without you. I don’t want to have to live without you. So, please, don’t ever do anything stupid, because I don’t know how I would survive it.” Thankfully, for both her and me, who was also diagnosed nearly 5 years later, suicide isn’t something that even registers as an option, even in the most desperate of times. The thinking is, there’s just too much to live for.
I am not a depressed person. I’m a person who struggles with depression.
And I think that’s the important part to remember; that it IS a struggle against something inside you that you have very little control over. With depression, it can be the world’s hardest chore to get out of bed in the morning, to go through the normal motions, to be “yourself” for other people. It’s not a choice, and it’s certainly not a desired lifestyle. And often, it’s a more or less silent struggle, as the Man of a Million Laughs showed us. It can be so exhausting performing for everyone else that sometimes, unfortunately, we forget to take care of ourselves.
What a tragedy that the World’s Funniest Man was so sad inside. I have shed so many tears during the writing of this that I am now emotionally exhausted. But I suppose that’s the beauty of being touched by someone and their passion, their craft, or their indelible spirit— we mourn because they made us feel something; still make us feel something. And oh, it’s so hard to see a keyboard through blurry eyes.
So as a person with clinical depression, I stand in solidarity to say that there is a better way. You are not alone. Please let those who care help, because you will never know how much they would miss you if you were gone. Even when you think there is no one, you have touched SOMEONE, and you will touch someone again. Live for the good. Live for the laughs.
U.S National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255