I had some free time tonight so I decided to watch this tribute to Robin Williams on Netflix. It was a well produced tribute to a comedic genius.
But it also reminded me that I’m not done with my battle against depression.
I was unaware that Williams grew up an only child whose parents were hardly around. To keep himself entertained during those early years, he would play with toy soldiers. But not in your typical combat scenarios though. He basically grew up alone, all alone.
Got me thinking about my life and my battles. When Mom died in January 2000, I had one helluva fight on my hands against depression. It reached some very dark days and to be honest with you, I’m surprised I’m still here. I came very close to ending it all one night in my kitchen. I reached out to a friend and they were there within minutes to stop me from doing something foolish.
It took me awhile to come out of those days. I think it was around two years before I could even feel like smiling again.
Then when Dad passed in November 2014, I had another battle on my hands. I’m just now adjusting to life without him. I can actually look a photo of my parents together without breaking down. It’s been a struggle to say the least.
This town of Chester can open its arms to one of their own and make them feel comfortable after dealing with heartache but others in this town can add fuel to the fire and make your fight even tougher. Down right bastards if you ask me.
After Mom died, my haters came out in full force. You wouldn’t believe the letters I got from people who just wanted to tear me down even more.
“How’s life without your Mom fatso.” “Why don’t you go join her because you’re the most hated man in this town.” “Do this town a favor, put a gun to your head and pull the trigger.” “Don’t jump off the bridge, you’ll piss off the farmers in Missouri when their land floods.”
That’s just to name a few that still stick with me to this day.
Robin Williams once said “All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hid an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”
That fake smile is tough to do some days. There are times when I’m thankful that I work alone so people won’t see just how broken down I feel.
I’ve often been ridiculed about my battle against depression. Some people, who thankfully have never had to deal with it, think it’s all a show. That you’re faking just for attention. They honestly believe that you’re weak and a pathetic individual. They look down on you and make you feel worse than you already do.
“Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not signs of weakness,” said Williams. “They are signs of trying to remain strong for far too long.”
I have my good days and thankfully they’re starting to outweigh the bad days. However, when a bad day hits, it can knock you right between the eyes and rip the breath out of your lungs.
“I hate to say I’m giving up but I believe, losing just become the way of life for me. Losing would be so bad at all but I’m always on a mountain when I fall.” Lyrics to a song recorded by the late, great Merle Haggard.
Words that ring true for people battling depression, especially the part about being on a mountain when I fall. You fight each and every day to keep your head above water, then you start to climb, climb to the top of a mountain and when you reach it, it feels like someone is there waiting to knock you off.
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone,” said Williams. “It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
For me, each day is a challenge. It’s not always a memory that triggers a feeling of depression. Dealing with a lower back injury recently has been bringing me down. It happened in junior high during a basketball game. I was told then that there is nothing that could be done and when arthritis starts to set in when I’m older, I might not be able to walk anymore.
That time might be now. I’m in so much pain when I walk that I want to scream or cry. Being alone in this life, I wonder what would happen to me if I fall and can’t get up. What if my phone isn’t nearby?
There are just things that go through your head when you have dealt with demons and battles like I have.
I know I’m not alone and I know there are people who have it 10x worse than me. But this is my life, my future and I’d be lying if I said I’m not scared.
For those people who look down on others who are battling depression, to hell with you. Everyone has skeletons in their closet so why don’t you do yourself a favor and just keep your mouth shut. Talk too much and one of your skeleton bones might just come flying out of your pathetic mouth.
I’ve learned who my friends are during this battle. They know a lot more than what I’m sharing today. I love them all because they haven’t judged me like others have.
World would be a better place if everyone had friends like I do.
If you are battling depression or having thoughts of suicide, please phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The call is free and confidential and will be answered by a trained counselor.
Depression is real. Look out for each other. Help someone if you can.
I hadn’t even removed the wax from my eyes after rolling out of bed this morning when my phone blew up with some unfortunate news.
During an incident at a local bar and grill just after midnight, one person was stabbed and one person was arrested after a fight. The person who was stabbed later died at the local hospital.
Smack to the face is the only way I can put that. Not a good way to start the day.
I began making calls and text messages to find out what exactly happened and who was involved. I hadn’t even combed my hair yet but I was already at work in my home office. Thank God its radio.
Then word broke on Facebook and this town was in utter shock about what had happened. Post after post was made by local residents in this sleepy, little river town. It had been awhile since something this newsworthy sent shockwaves through it.
Early details began to emerge from the local law authorities. There was a fight, one person was stabbed who later died and the other person was taken into custody. No names had been released right away but later the name of the victim was. As of this writing, I think most in this town know who is alleged to have done this but it hasn’t been reported by authorities yet.
What could be so intense that you would first want to fight someone and second want to kill someone. The lives of those two families have changed forever.
I’m sure I have never been so mad that I wanted to kill. In my younger days, I could get so upset and pissed off that I would throw chairs up against a wall at work. Thankfully, the wall was concrete. The chair didn’t stand a chance.
But I have never wanted to get a knife or a gun and go kill someone. Never. Things that use to get under my skin don’t anymore. Have lost both parents and watching them both die will change your outlook on life. Things that you thought were important turns out not to be down the road.
I can’t help but think of the two people involved in this. You get out of bed, you go to work, and you come home and then decide to go out for a few drinks. One thing leads to another, a fight breaks out and in the matter of moments, you’re gone.
Then on the other hand, the person allegedly responsible for this probably had the same day. Their two paths crossed and for whatever reason, a fight breaks out and you allegedly kill another human being. Instead of being at home in bed, getting some sleep before you’re suppose to go to work, you find yourself in a jail cell. Your life has changed forever. Regardless of if this should turn out to be a case of self defense, you still killed another person. You have to live with that the rest of your life.
Back in my dumber days, when I was in high school and before I moved out, every time I was leaving my parents to go out with friends, I would tell them that I loved them. Every time. You just never know what will happen these days. This world is a whole lot crazier than it was 30 years ago.
The last time, I believe, this river town saw a homicide was in February 2004. A then 41 year old Kevin Cavenar stabbed to death his 37 year old roommate and former girlfriend Frances Tobben in the 1500 block of High Street.
According to my old news stories, Cavenar and Tobben were renting a home when a friend brought her there from work to pick up some clothing and then was planning on moving out. When Tobben told Cavenar that she was moving out, he attacked her and stabbed her four times to the chest and once to her side. She died after being airlifted to a St. Louis hospital. He was later arrested in Ellis Grove, about three hours after the incident.
He was convicted some seven months later and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Same as what happened Wednesday morning. In the blink of an eye, in a moment of rage, the lives of two people changed forever. One is being remembered as a good man while the other is sitting in the county jail.
Thoughts and prayers are with both families during this time. May our God give you strength to get through the days that lie ahead.