The day Robin Williams left this earth was the day I realized staying silent was deadly. I was not surprised at the reasoning of his passing and I will explain why…
When I was pursuing acting as a career, my mentors would always ask why I and other fellow actors wanted to act. This was always my response:
“I want to be everyone’s escape from reality. People go to the movies to feel a certain emotion. Whether it be excitement, sadness, happiness, fear – whatever! I want to give people that. My role model for acting has always been Robin Williams. I can remember watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time as a child. I looked into his eyes during the scene where he was interacting with his kids for the first time as Mrs. Doubtfire and said to the Tv Screen – “I see you” – I want to give people the happiness Robin gave society. I can see that he had the same feeling and desire I have- and that was to be the escape from other people’s negative daily living.”
At the time, that was my passion. That was my mission. That was my purpose.
And then 2014 happened. All the hidden, misunderstood, undiagnosed realities of depression and anxiety fell into my life HARD. I did not know how to change it, I didn’t know how to control it. My life quickly became quicksand – barely breathing but fighting SO hard to get out of whatever this mental trauma was sucking me into…only sinking faster into negativity and sorrow.
August 12th, 2014 – I remember grabbing sushi with my boyfriend at the time and across the way was a huge billboard of Robin Williams above the Improv in Irvine, CA. Williams had passed away the day before. I just starred – drifted off and started evaluating this life event….
And then I finally began to realize – We who suffer from depression and anxiety have a choice. Do we stay silent, keep smiling and strive hard to make those around us NEVER feel the pain and suffering we deal with on a daily basis? No. I really suck at staying silent anyway. But rather, there needs to be a reason and purpose to take these crippling demons and demolish them.
This wasn’t going to be easy.
But it didn’t matter, Robin Williams was now my role model for fighting the truth behind my internal struggles. I did not want to stay silent anymore and I did not want our society to keep loosing such remarkable people due to hiding behind their internal struggles. This is when I became aware that “We Are Not Alone”.
It was then that I realized that my passion wasn’t acting to be the escape from reality to OTHERS – It was an escape from MY OWN reality! I thrived on making people smile, making people laugh, making people feel like they have every reason to live because I didn’t want anyone to feel what I was feeling inside: A bourdon, A mistake, A failure. I didn’t want people to feel like their life wasn’t worth living… because I felt that way about myself.
My aspirations for acting was set to the side and my focus became stuck on speaking out about depression and anxiety.
First, it was like word vomit. To my friends, to my family. I was in party mode at the time so being intoxicated caused my eagerness to be heard to practically implode! It wasn’t good. It wasn’t the right way to handle my struggles. It made everything worse. I was surrounded by people who didn’t really understand what I was going through – I don’t blame them, they just didn’t understand – But I later found out that sometimes in life you have to remove yourself from people you care about to get yourself back on track. You have to surround yourself around people who DO understand what you are going through to begin to heal…otherwise you will be talking to a very bored, uninterested, frustrated brick wall.
Once I made these hard decisions and basically started brand new, I was in the process of starting my own movement – The NoShame Project. I would go back and forth on the message I wanted to convey. I was still in a deep depression and writing to others really helped me slowly get out of it. I was talking to people who understood the feeling: people who were there and people who had been there before and found a way out of it. The NoShame Project became my new passion to not only help myself but to really have a purpose in helping others. To help others build the courage to reach out to the right peers and finally begin to live again!
I am still struggling with depression and anxiety. However, I finally can understand where these emotions are coming from and take steps to make it better. Depression and anxiety doesn’t just fade away, you can’t just ‘snap’ and be internally happy. It is a long and sometimes very difficult journey. But it is a journey we do not have to embark alone. Behind our smiles, beneath our skin – is our soul, our mind, and our hearts. Do not let yourself go without giving yourself the chance to finally grow. Do not be afraid to face the cracks you hold so deeply within. Set yourself free and always remind yourself that you have a purpose and you have THIS life to take what you may see as a weakness and turn it into your greatest strength!