Broken Crayons Still Color

Broken crayons still color, but this morning, it is difficult to paint you a picture about fashion. It is difficult not to acknowledge what hit the world yesterday as a shocking reality: the death of Robin Williams.

The Comedy Awards 2012 - Arrivals

Who didn’t know about this wonderful man? Even my children utter lines from his movies. But here’s the part that hit home: how and why he died.

The allegations are that he committed suicide due to severe depression. Watching the news last night, a segment called “Remembering One of the Greatest”, a panel of experts analyzed everything from how many times he’d been in therapy to the many different kinds of substances he was addicted to…and then alas, the conversation around his “wake up call”, the death of his great friend John Belushi and the birth of his daughter. Let me tell you something despite the obvious: Depression kills.

As a high functioning depression sufferer I teared up and nodded my head because I understood. Depression isn’t something you can shake off with a cold shower in the morning, you can’t pray it away (Lord knows I’ve tried) and there are only so many pills you can pop that don’t make you feel like you’re going even more bat shit crazy than you already thought you were. The part that non-sufferers still don’t get is that it’s an illness that carries so many negative stereotypes, that sufferers live in shame and fear. Until something really horrible happens. The signs are there…we leave trails. And while we all have days were we feel blue, for a depression sufferer there is no blue and there is no gray area…there’s only black. The thought that immediately follows that is that if we were out of the equation (out of the way of our families, our colleagues, etc.), our loved ones would be better off. Sure, that may sound dramatic and victimizing…but I am here to tell you that point blank: that is what we see. I’ve had several wake up calls throughout my life. I’ve been very low and very high. Prayer and meditation have been remarkable coping mechanisms for my emotions. I also made the conscious decision to make my spouse and close friends aware that depression is something I still cope with E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y. So yes, Mr. Psychology Expert on TV who says depression is 95% curable…I’d like to ask then why is it at it’s all time high, specially here in the US and why over 80% of diagnosed patients are untreated? Turns out that only 60-80% of cases are treatable and it costs around $22,000 to do so. I am sure Robin Williams had that kind of dough to throw around, but the reality is…if it were that simple, we would not be hearing about depression taking lives of great actors, stay at home mothers or complete families being wiped out by someone’s untreated mental illness. If there is one thing I can leave you with today about all of this is that depression has a familiar face. It looks like mine, it may look like your spouse’s, your neighbor or even your child.

5 steps to being fabulous by Vanessa Coppes

  I’ve been broken for a while, but I can still color. Let’s drop the judgement about mental illness and maybe together we can drop these numbers to zero.   2014 Depression Statistics Source: If you’d like to learn more about how to get help with depression, I’d be honored to help. Please contact me here.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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  • thank you for this article. There is such a stigma to mental illness. So many suffer in silence because it is “all in your head”.

  • Thank you so much for this post, even if I’m reading it a month after it’s been posted. I hate that the discussion comes to the forefront only when someone as beloved as Robin Williams commits suicide. Only when people openly discuss their struggles, like you have here, will change be brought about. Mental illness is real, and it creates havoc wherever it goes. I, for one, want to stamp out the stigma.

    • Thank you so much for reading. Right there with you, “I, for one, want to stamp out the stigma.” The more we speak up, the sooner we will make it ok to have healthy and proactive conversations about the issue. Thank you again 🙂

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