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Letters to myself

Guest Author: Kevin

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

You ok? Yea I’m Fine.
I’m not a loser, I’m not a failure I’m just sick.

Written PRE #SickNotWeak
I guess you could call this a “letter to Robin.”

Out of all the people in my life that have passed, I think Robin Williams is the one that will stick with me the most. I remember where I was when John Lennon was shot, Elvis died, and Michael Jackson overdose. Up until then the only celebrity that made an impact on my life when they passed was SRV (look it up, I’m a big guitar blues fan).

When was the last time you looked at someone who seemed to have it together and thought wow, I wish I was them (I do this all the time). Sometimes things are not always what they seem.

The ones who seem to have everything, the ones who seem to have a better life than you-maybe they’re hiding something. I know. I have been doing this for most of my life. And no one has caught on yet.

That’s the problem with depression, we feel it, but YOU don’t see it.

We are the masters of deception.
You ok? Yea I’m fine.

We can be the smartest one in the room, we can be the life of the party, we can be the person you love, we can be the ones with the passion for life you wish you had, we can be the ones that reach the ultimate success and dream the biggest of dreams.

But we are not always what we seem.

We are the masters of deception.
You ok. Yea I’m fine.

When Robin Williams took his own life on August 11th, 2014 we were all shocked. How could someone like him, who had everything and was so happy and funny, how could someone who brought joy to so many could do this to himself and those WHO loved him? But most of all, to those HE loved. There was a report on ABC.com with the headline that read: Robin Williams Kid’s Ask Why He Couldn’t Find It In His Heart To Stay.”

 As someone who suffers from this debilitating disease, the first thought you have is of those WHO love you, and of those YOU love. The conflict guilt is like nothing you have ever been through; you can see them in your mind, wondering why YOU did this to them. You see everyone around them giving support, but in their minds they feel sorry for them, because they don’t understand and they think YOU are such a piece of shit for doing this to your family. Now they look at those you’ve left behind with pity and your weakness has somehow spilled over and tainted them as well. But sometimes that’s just not enough, I know it sound selfish but when your mind takes you to these very dark places, as much as you love those around you and don’t want to hurt them, the first thought you have is how to end the pain. And in some cases, you think you are doing those around you a favor by ending it instead of staying with them. In your mind, you think about everything you have done to diminish their lives over the years, and you want to release them from what you are going through and what you have put them through, but most of all, what you will put them through in the future.

At some point, you have to stop hurting others, you have to stop hurting the ones WHO love you and the ones YOU love. They are the most precious ones. They are the ones that have given you the ability to live as a reasonably normal person every single day. They just think you’re a little off or maybe you’re a little different, or you say and do things just to shock, or maybe like in my case, you just don’t have a filter. These are the people that have given more of themselves to you, than you to them. The illness is selfish and without conscious and it makes you feel guilty and selfish to the point that inside, you can only stop being this way by ultimately stopping your life itself.

And that’s what hurts the most, how can you do this to them. You’re selfish; you’re centered on how this day will affect you and not how it will affect others. It’s a dark place. For us who deal with this illness day after day, we can never see the light at the end of the tunnel, except when the light goes out and we no longer hurt but we hurt those we love and care for. “how can we do this,” the guilt speaks.

You ok? Yea I’m fine, what’s wrong? Nothing why.

Always remember, “we are the masters of deception” we don’t want to be what we are, but this is what we do to survive. We don’t let you in, we tell you what you want to hear to make you feel better about yourself and about us because at the best of time we feel weak. You ok? Yea I’m fine, what’s wrong? Nothing why. We’re always hiding something… something that gets us through the day, something that allows us to live just a little bit more as the day go on, something that keeps us the way you see us for just a few more minutes. But someday it ends, it all comes crashing down and throws us us into an even darker place that we never wanted to see. We know it’s coming and we try to avoid it with all the strength we have but sometime, most of the time, we’re just not strong enough, we go to places we’ve said we’ll never go. We all end up there at some point. Wondering why we should stick it out for one more day. Ending it would be the ultimate release. Finally, we can rest. We are so tired.

I know this has all been very dark up to this point, and for that I’m sorry.

The worst part is, we cannot avoid what takes us there, to that dark room with the comfy couch. We don’t know what causes us to take the dark journey. It just happens, one minute all is good and the next everything goes to shit in a heartbeat. It just happens no matter how hard we try. It then takes over the day, the week, and every waking moment. But the one thing we do know for sure is that time and time again as we take the trip, there’s no map to guide us back. This is why some of us never come back. This is why some of you never see us looking for ways to leave until it’s too late. That’s the tragic part of it all.

I know this has all been very dark up to this point, and for that I’m sorry.

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Written Post SickNotWeak

Because of things like Bell Lets Talk and the amazing stories from the likes of Howie Mandel, Serena Ryder and most of all for me, Michael Landsberg and Clara Hughes, I know that someday I will get through the darkness and someday I will be happy without having to work at it. And maybe, just maybe I will feel “joy” from time to time.

Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Clara.

The worst stigma we have is not from others but from ourselves

Recently, I have spent more time thinking about my illness than ever before. I’ve even talked to my wife of over 30 years about it. Damn you Landsberg! She knows how messed up I am but we have never talked about it. She knew when I felt like a wuss, when I felt weak, when I was emotional… I took meds but they always made me feel, not myself, not on the edge where I always felt comfortable and safe, where I felt a minor amount of the emotion I’ve been hoping for. A little joy, so minor to make me smile even just for a few minutes. I would try to explain to what Prozac was and what it did for me (in reality it did nothing) but we never talked about that either. And for that I thank you both because now these lines of communications are open. Mike always talks about the stigma, the worst stigma we have is not from others but from ourselves, from within.

I look at the sick not weak logo (#) and I use it but in the back of my mind I wonder what I would say to family when they ask what it means. Someday I will have the courage and strength to wear a SNW tee and when I’m asked I will tell them of my illness, but for now I just don’t have it in me, I’m still embarrassed about what it stands for. That is on me. For those like me who have embraced SNW, I mean no disrespect, I’m just not there yet, but someday I will be. Most off all, I’m sure we’ll be able to embrace what we are and that is when we will come through the other side. Thank you, Mike. You have a life. You have saved my life and my family. 

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