Sky Williams on depression: “A message to the depressed”

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In this blog we will discuss Sky Williams, depression, and his efforts to advocate for mental issues. 

Sky Williams on depression: “A message to the depressed”

US comedian and youtuber, Sky Williams has taken to social media to start a conversation about depression with his followers and to advocate for mental health.

His video titled “A message to the depressed” was posted soon after the death of famed and beloved actor Robin williams. 

The speculated suicide of actor Robin Williams has opened up discussions about suicide and mental illnesses online and Sky Williams is one indidvdiual who is taking this conversation seriously. 

After hearing the news of the death and suicide of Robin Williams, Sky Williams uploaded a video about depression on his Youtube channel called “A Message to the Depressed” in which he extends support to his viewers. 

This particular video created by Williams, is different from his usual content where he has chosen to start a conversation around something very important- suicide. 

In this video he tries to describe depression for people who have never experienced it as he painted a picture of the hopelessness that many people with depression struggle with. 

In the video Sky puts his own opinions about the matter and is empathetic when he wishes that finding happiness was “as easy as buying a soda from a vending machine”.

He is kind in his words as he says that he knows that it is not true and that happiness in today’s day and age does not come easily. 

He also is empathetic when he says that living with depression is not easy and that he has also experienced it at one point in his life as he says:

“Unlike a maths test, there’s no right answer when it comes to depression, but I know what it feels like. It’s more than not being happy, it’s more like you can’t bring yourself to be happy.”

Sky Williams also opened up about his experiences and encounters with depression when he talks about his close friend who had also suffered from depression and it is speculated that he has lost that person since he only realised the right words to say to that person when it was “too late”.

He adds that 

“Depression is indiscriminate, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have in your own life – it can find you,” 

Depression can happen to anyone, irrespective of who you are and what you do, and it is also important that you are able to support and be supported when it comes to dealing with depression. 

This is a similar sentiment that Sky Williams holds to his heart as he has highlighted how important reaching out and supporting people with depression is.

He says that if it was possible to talk to the friend he lost, he would say the following:

“I’m not a miracle worker and I can’t promise you much… I can’t make the words go away, I can’t make you love yourself…and I can’t magically make you sleep.

“What I can do is wait right here with you until you are ready, we can talk all day, or we could be silent.

“We can do anything you want, as long as you know that when you leave this room, and re-enter the world, we’re going to do it together, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Through his video, he has been able to provide support to many individuals by just putting out the content and educating others about it. 

He has also gone far enough to provide in person support along with hotline information of various countries in his efforts to extend support and build awareness about suicide and depression. 

What is depression?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a leading publication used for diagnosis of mental disorders by mental health professionals, Major depressive disorder or depression is a serious mood disorder.

Depression is marked by the following symptoms:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

Depression symptoms also include extremely low mood and fatigue and is often accompanied by thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness which can lead to suicidal ideation and even attempts. 

Depression related symptoms such as inability to focus, lack of energy, and hopelessness can impact a person’s ability to work and meet the demands of their daily lives. 

People with depression often struggle with low self esteem and self worth which can cause them to negatively assess themselves. They may fear rejection and abandonment from other people which may cause them to isolate themselves in a bid to protect themselves.

This social withdrawal can make it difficult for them to maintain social commitments and relationships as they might choose to push people away especially when they do not have the skills to communicate and manage their emotions and thoughts. 

While these are some of the ways depression impacts a person, the disorder itself can cause the quality of life of people who have it to drastically decrease and in extreme cases, if the disorder is left untreated, it can lead to suicide attempts and death. 

How to cope and manage if you have depression?

Here are a few things you can do to cope with depression:

Seek professional help

If you have not been diagnosed, do not stick to self diagnosis based on your symptoms. Seek out professional consultations starting with your GP who can refer you to specialists in the field. 

There may be different medications- some which might work for you while others that might not help you. 

Taking time to find a doctor who can help you with estimating the right dosage of medication and the right medical treatment can make the quality of your journey to recovery drastically different. 

Reduce stress

If it’s a job that is causing you immense stress, maybe it is time to consider taking a leave of absence. Or it could be your own family environment that is causing your symptoms to flare up- consider moving out if your financial situation persists. 

The intent here is to reduce or remove the things in your life that add stress. If it is a certain relationship, taking the time to set boundaries or communicate that you are taking time out can be one way. 

By reducing stressors, the thought of waking up and facing your day may seem a little less daunting, you might even look forward to it. 

Learn and apply coping skills

If you are depressed, you can learn coping skills and techniques and apply them at least once a day when experiencing depression. 

This can be learning how to tackle your anxieties and negative moods by regulating your breathing and engaging in deep breathing techniques. 

You can also try grounding techniques to help you cope with spiralling down a negative rumination. Make goals for each day and let your goals be small, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound, 

Make plans for your day that suit your pace- if today is especially difficult, make a step by step plan from your bed to the bathroom in the mornings. Reward yourself when you succeed and be kind when you slip up. Remind yourself that you are learning. 

Exercise

Engaging in exercise, even if it is only a 15 minute stretch can be a wonderful step towards loving yourself and caring for yourself. 

You can opt for joining the gym however, if this is too much you can consider yoga or pilates that you can start gradually; you can also go for walks or runs alone or with your loved ones. 

Getting out of your house and doing something that allows you to get your blood pumping in itself can be a great way of self care. 

Eat a healthy diet

Diet is an important aspect of overall health and is an important component of maintaining a positive state of mental health. 

There has been plenty of research studies that have been linked to what we eat and higher risks of depression. Research finds that well balanced meals with adequate intake of vegetables, fruits, grain, and healthy fats are related to lower risks of depression.

Sleep well

Take time to improve your sleep hygiene. Research has found that sleep disorders are also a core symptom of depression. Irregular sleep and not enough sleep can make your healing process difficult and can even heighten the risk of relapse. 

Some of the things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene are

  • Avoid substances that impact your sleep, this includes caffeine. 
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid heavy dinners
  • Change your sleeping environment to be more soothing and sleep inducing. 
  • Make changes in your pre-sleep routine such as taking relaxing baths before sleep, avoiding gadgets two hours before sleeping time.

Connect with loved ones

Reaching out to people who love you and letting them know that you are having a hard time now, can bring you closer to people who truly love and care for you.

These are positive relationships we want and need around you as you begin your journey to recovery. Positive relationships help you discover joys and meaning to your life. 

Make plans to meet them for lunch, or go for a walk with them. Make sure you make clear what you can and cannot do and agree on something that both you and them can enjoy. 

You can also take the step to connect with other people who are coping with depression through group therapy or support groups.

Oftentimes, listening to other people’s successes can instil hope, it also gives you the opportunity to learn new perspectives of living and life along with new techniques to cope.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed Sky Williams, depression, and his efforts to advocate for mental issues. 

References

Michelle Jaworski. YouTube star Sky Williams makes a promise to everyone with depression. DailyDot. Retrieved on 28th April 2022. https://www.dailydot.com/irl/sky-williams-depression-discussion-video/

Rachel Moss. Comedian Sky Williams’ Video On Depression Goes Viral Following The Death Of Robin Williams. Huffington Post. Retrieved on 28th April 2022. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/13/robin-williams-dead-sky-williams-depression-video_n_5674832.html

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