Friday, February 26, 2010

Off the Bloody Path: Andrew Koenig & Depression

I'm going to venture off the path here and post something that's not in line with our other posts, but I feel it's important enough to do so.  If you don't like it, screw you, we never liked you anyway.

After several days of relentless media coverage and tireless searching by friends and family, former Growing Pains actor Andrew Koenig was found dead.  No official cause has yet been released, but it appears to be at his own hand, a result of suffering severe depression.

I heard this comment made: “What does he have to be depressed about?”  He grew up a popular child actor on a highly rated TV show, his father is Star Trek actor Walter Koenig (who played Chekov) and he seemed to have a large group of friends and family who loved him.  Well, here’s the thing, you can have all the fame, all the money and all the love in the world, but clinical depression doesn’t care.  It’s not logical and it makes no sense.

My name is Kelly and I suffer from depression.  And I hate it.  I truly have no reason to be depressed.  I have a loving husband that makes me laugh daily and a baby on the way.  I have a fantastic group of friends who would do anything and everything for me and I have the most wonderful family that ever existed, period.  I have a good job, make good money and have plenty of hobbies and interests that I love and that keep me on my feet.  I want for nothing, and yet, I am depressed.  It’s not something that ever really goes away, though luckily for me, it’s not all-encompassing.  I have better moments and I have worse moments, but it’s something that’s always there.  I can speak from experience that when you get so very down, you have that moment where you go “what do I have to be depressed about”, and then you just feel worse about yourself, because for some stupid reason, you can’t fully appreciate how great your life is, so you must be a bad person, and the spiral just continues.

My heart absolutely broke when I heard about Andrew.  I’d be willing to bet he had those same thoughts, but when you’re sick, those thoughts don’t necessarily help.   In the end, I’m hoping that the media exposure related to Andrew’s battle will help those who still struggle.  He didn’t win his fight, but perhaps his life can inspire others to fight to win theirs.

Depression can affect anyone.  Even if you don’t suffer from depression, it’s important to try to understand those that do.  It’s not just a matter of feeling the blues or being a little down.  It’s a totally different experience, and if you do not suffer from it, I don’t know that I can adequately explain what it feels like.  It’s important not to judge, but to be sympathetic to those who struggle with this.  I’m including this link to a website with information on identifying depression, getting help and coping.  Even if you can’t immediately think of someone in your life that suffers from depression, I suggest you read up on the subject anyhow.  If you think you might be suffering from depression, don’t worry about stigmas or any of that nonsense, go talk to your doctor; it’s an illness like any other.

I hope this post helps someone.  There’s a great big wonderful world out there and I want us all to be able to enjoy it fully!

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