Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
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Mental health, medication and Robin Williams

Bloodwise Ambassador Katie Ruane
Posted by
19 Aug 2014

I wrote this the day Robin Williams so tragically took his life before it was known that he had Parkinson's.

Mental health is a funny thing. Well. It's anything but funny actually. And the death of a beloved actor who made so many laugh yet was tormented with demons bring it to light.

So many I 'know' on twitter struggle with depression. Some tell me about it in private. The highs and the lows. The way the meds make them feel. How they attempt to get on with daily life. And how hard it is. Enveloped in blackness. Like wading through treacle. Some strive to make others smile and laugh and others withdraw and go silent.

My last year at Uni was a struggle. Burnt out. Exhausted. Low. Depressed. The combination of extreme stress through workload and the side effect of chronic fatigue due to the drugs I was on.

It was heavy. I was heavy. All I could think about was how exhausted I was. And cry.

Luckily a new consultant listened to me. And I was. At last. Taken off the drugs rather than prescribed lorazepam.

I escaped depression and a large part of it was due to drugs I was on. So many cannot.

I didn't really talk to anyone about how I felt. I wrote and tweeted. I didn't really see anyone. I couldn't face it. All I could do was go to Uni and be at home. Cancelling on friends became the norm. But messages and emails kept me going. And twitter kept me going.

I am now through it and have been for a few months. I cannot imagine never escaping and the only way to be free is to die. I do not judge or think why did they do that. How awful of them to leave behind xyz. They did not do it to be selfish. They did it because it was the only way they could see their way out.

I understand this a little. An uncle committed suicide when I was little. He thought he was doing what was best for everyone else. It was not an act of selfishness.

'We' the general public do not understand mental health. There is a growing awareness which tragically high profile deaths, like the one today of Robin Williams, will help raise it further.

Be kind to others, no one knows what is going on behind a smile. Do not ridicule or blame or wish they would 'snap out of it'. Accept and support. Remember. A message saying 'thinking of you' can mean the world to someone. If someone falls off the radar do not be angry and assume they are being rubbish. Maybe they just can't talk about what is happening.

I have stood and teetered on the edge of the deep gulf of darkness and depression. I was able to pull back. Remember those who are desperately trying to claw their way up that massive rock wall face.

And if I hear anyone be dismissive of mental health, I promise you this, I will go mental at them.

If you need help and feel that you can't talk to a friend or family member, there are loads of numbers and organisations who are there for you. Read a list on the NHS website.

With love and a candle flame of hope,