Someday, when we are fighting suicidal depression, we are going to be able to get a blood test and the doctor will say, “ok. This is why you are feeling this way. Here is the precise concoction that is going to get your brain chemistry back to normal, lickety-split.” You are going to feel instant relief and no side effects because your body won’t be fighting against drugs you don’t need and you won’t be a human guinea pig. You won’t need to abuse drugs or alcohol in vain attempts to silence the voice in your head. There will be no stigma associated with getting help, no question that your doctor knows what to do. No helpful family and friends telling you to cheer up, suggesting to go do something or asking what caused you to be “down.” People will understand. “Oh, it’s just broken brain disease. But now she is on the mend.”
For now, fight.
I can tell you it is possible to get better. That voice saying you have no other options, that you are too exhausted to try, that you just can’t do this any more … It’s wrong. It’s a voice that comes from a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s not you. It’s not your soul or you mind. As much as it feels like it’s you, it’s not. As soon as you get the right treatment for your disease, that voice begins to dissolve until you don’t hear it any longer. And one day, you look back and think, “who was that?”
Will the voice come back? I don’t know. It has before. It’s a scary thought. But right now, with my brain in balance, it is not the kind of scary that cripples me, discourages me, makes me feel as if the pain won’t end. If the voice comes back, I have people to call. I will try not to suffer alone, try not to believe the voice.
And I will keep hoping for that blood test. It has to be possible. It has to happen.
I’m sorry, Robin Williams, that it wasn’t ready for you. I’m sorry the fighting went on too long. I’m sorry you didn’t have the help you need. And I’m sorry for myself and the world that you are gone.
(I’m adding this post to The Daily Post writing challenge, “Manifesto,” as it is a manifesto toward better mental health care.)