Moment Of Clarity

The Weight of Depression

Actor Robin Williams touched the hearts of millions and his loss will forever be felt. His unexpected death and rumors about his depression and suspected suicide has left many wondering “why?” The hardest part of dealing with depression and suicide is that no answer will ever soften the loss.

The weight of depression is heavy and real. Depression is a slippery slope because it’s a normal and real emotion. For example, when we lose a loved one, we are sad and even depressed because it is a real loss. However, if that sadness becomes elevated or lingers too long, it can become a huge problem.

In talking with people who’ve attempted suicide – either actively or passively – they describe similar experiences. So, when people ask me to tell them what depression feels like and how it might lead one to take their own life, instead of listing symptoms I try to describe what happens:

“Depression feels quite heavy. You start to feel it inside of your chest, but then it moves into your head. When the depression starts to linger and become stronger, you tend to get stuck in your head and become lost in your thoughts. Every idea seems like a good idea. When the depression becomes very heavy, the thought of ‘going away’ (or go ‘home’) can feel soothing. It’s like having a full-blown conversation with yourself that is so clear, you can’t argue with it. You can feel like you’ve found the answer to all of your problems.”

It is in that final moment the weight feels as if it’s gone; but it’s not, you’re just stuck in your head. And, this answer seems to be the best answer in the world. When in that state, it can be difficult to remind people that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Some people have different experiences, but for the purposes of generality, I use the previous description. There are other descriptions that may be helpful like the one found by clicking here.

Please … if you experience the following: sadness, irritability, or depression most of the day, everyday for two weeks; loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to like; weight loss or gain when you’re not trying; insomnia or hypersomina; agitation; fatigue; difficulty concentrating or making decisions almost everyday; recurrent thoughts of death (not just afraid to die) or suicide … go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 because these are the symptoms of depression.

If you have these symptoms, there is help. If you know of someone who is depressed, here is how you can talk to them.

Life is tough and you don’t have to go through those tough times alone. Reach out for support to one of the many groups that are available. The national suicide hotline is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week: 800-273-TALK (8255)

You are loved. Please share this with others as you never know what hides behind a great smile.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams … pleasant journeys.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!