Posted by jennifer gibson on Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams death has certainly opened eyes around the world. Not only has he brought laughter into our lives, he still continues to inspire us by showing us the importance of staying in touch with each other. He is still teaching us that we need to find ways of reaching out to those that need help, even if it means just listening to them or giving them a hug.

Mental illness, including depression, is not an easy topic to discuss and it's not clearly understood by most people. It's not until you suffer from it, that you truly realize the full scope of it and the impact it has on your life, your family and friends. I know a lot of people who have suffered from depression.  Even I have suffered from it and it took many months to come back from it.  Depression can be triggered by extreme stress, shock, sudden changes in our life, trauma, surgery, illness, new medication, a death in the family, dealing with a heavy or hectic schedule, etc...
Everyone is unique and every single person will react very differently to depression. For most people, it will hit them when they least expect it. The world comes crashing down very suddenly.

What is depression like? Most people have said that it's like being in a dark tunnel with no end in sight. Usually we can look forward to simple things in our life such as celebrating the seasons, wanting to do activities like taking photos, cooking or reading.  In this case, our perception changes. We see the world in a much different light. The ability to see past the next day seems impossible, there's no sense of a future. It's like being surrounded by an intense feeling of dread or an overwhelming sense of despair.  There is usually not much appetite and the food would often be tasteless. There's no sense of passion or the usual sense of life during that time. Everything seems dull, as if being wrapped in a heavy blanket to the world, making it seemingly impossible to reach out to anyone. Then, over time, it begins to improve. Bit by bit, the dark, smoky fog begins to lift.

One way that may help you get through it is
having a routine and sticking with it.  Even if it's something as simple as doing puzzles like Sudoku, exercising or writing in a journal everyday. Staying busy or focused can have a dramatic impact in keeping you moving forward. For the more severe cases, seeing a psychologist can be very beneficial since they often provide a variety of techniques to help deal with depression.

Going through depression may be one of the most difficult things to go through.  However, once you pull through, life can seem so much brighter and you can appreciate even the little things. Why? Because everyday is a miracle.

If you want to have a glimpse into the world of dealing with mental illness, go check out the televison series "Perception" - I highly recommend it. Perception is about an eccentric neuroscientist (Dr. Daniel Pierce) who uses his unique skills to help the federal government solve complex criminal cases.  He's not your typical professor or Doctor, he suffers from Schizophrenia.  Canadian Eric McCormack plays this unique character beautifully and brilliantly. He just gets it. Even though his mental illness is placing severe boundaries on his life, he finds a way to keep moving forward. With an assistant who has medical training, he continues to teach classes at university and also helps an old friend solve crimes. What's unique about him is that his mental illness actually helps him process the clues given to him from boggling medical and criminal cases. He has learned to embrace it and use it to his advantage. This is an amazing show that does an impeccable job at portraying a very tricky topic.


Tags: perception  "eric mccormack" "robin williams" 
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