Sara Hickman, Austin singer, songwriter and 2014 Honorary Walk Chair has given us permission to share her August 12 Facebook post. In light of Robin Williams’ death, Sara shares her reflections on her struggles with depression and a suicide attempt. We thank her for her courage and willingness to share her story and her hope!
As a survivor of a suicide attempt, I can tell you that it is the loneliest feeling in the world. You may have 10s of friends, hundreds, millions of people who love you, but the depression sneaks up and in and hurls you further and further away from yourself, from reality, and towards the only thing that, finally, seems like a rational answer (which it is not): to remove yourself from this world. It’s not a selfish feeling or act that leads anyone to suicide. Trust me, anyone that has attempted (or completed a suicidal tendency) is not wanting to hurt anyone else; many times, one wants to leave because they feel like a burden, they feel unnecessary in this time and place, and there is nothing known as a “future”—the pain is so intense, one is only in that moment of very, very real sorrow. Feeling unloved/unloveable/unsuccessful (as a person, in general) is part of the guilt and shame, as well. It’s a completely oppressive, never ending slide down down down into a black hole, until you are swallowed alive. If anything, people who are depressed need more patience, more love, more gentle support. It is not a choice to be depressed. Depending on the level of depression, it can be anywhere from mildly difficult to a horror story that one has to get up and face one’s pain every day, but I know millions of people DO. We work, live, play, love and manage to do all we do while living with our depression, and we learn to let people in, to ask for help, to allow ourselves to cry but, also, to know suicide isn’t an option. Anyone who wants to condemn me, go right ahead. It won’t bother me in the least, but I will say to those who speak ill or condemn others with this condition: why not educate yourselves? Think of your actions. You add to someone’s suffering with depression in a negative way if you judge, but what if you kindly, and humanly, learned what depression is and became a positive support instead? And…I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me. I’m only saying depression is a rough road, and those who don’t have to confront it need to learn the reality of what depression is and support those they love who have it. I live this life I’m living the best I can because I am very, very, completely grateful for all of it to date—good and bad and in-between—and I LOVE LIFE! I really do. But those shadows come, and when they do, I ask for help. God bless Robin Williams, and people all over the world, who smile and carry on and bring happiness while struggling in private. I find him to have led a courageous life, he was a shining soul, and the depression took it’s toll; in no way was this action Robin’s “fault”. We were not in his head and heart. But we were allowed to love him and laugh and cry and be a part of all he brought to the table. That. Takes. Guts.