My birthday, postpartum depression, and Robin Williams

August 11th, 2015 Posted by Misc No Comment yet


Jenni Buckley

posted in Mom Stories

Today is my birthday.

My birthdays are different now that I’m a mom. I’m a Leo, and if there’s one thing about Leos, we really like to be the center of attention. One of the side effects of having kids, is that I’m very rarely the sole center of attention anymore, but that’s okay, it was well worth it.

Last year on my birthday I was reliving my brush with postpartum depression (PPD). I wasn’t having a recurrence of my PPD, or even a “dark day,” which is how I refer to those days where I can spiral downward a bit. No, I was watching the tragic culmination of someone else’s battle with depression.

It was the day that Robin Williams passed.

Robin Williams always has a special place in my heart. I’ve loved every role that I’ve ever seen him in, and always felt like I knew him. My parents, well my mom and my biological father, had a tumultuous relationship with each other while I was growing up. Without going into the sordid details, there were many times that I was afraid of my father, who passed in 2007. Every time I’d watch Robin Williams on-screen, there was a sad part of me that wished he could be my dad instead. A childish notion, but one I still think about.

I was devastated the day Robin Williams died. I sobbed like I had lost a family member, the youthful side of my brain thinking that I had. But I was also grief-stricken that here was another person who lost their battle with depression.

My bout with depression was relatively short lived. But I still remember the irrational thoughts I had, not realizing they were irrational at the time. I felt I could just go away and not only would no one care, but I would be doing everyone a favor. It’s terrifying to recall those feelings. It’s scary how your mind tries to convince you to leave your life.


Depression leading to suicide or suicidal thoughts is more common than people would like to acknowledge. It’s paramount if you, or anyone you know, is having these thoughts, to seek help immediately. There is help.

Visit Postpartum Progress or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for resources to help yourself or a loved one who may be suffering with PPD.

My husband is my savior. He could see how much I was struggling, and recognized that this wasn’t just a case of “baby blues” or of “needing to get outside more.” He didn’t tell me to “think positive.” He encouraged me to call my doctor, and get the help I needed when I was ready to give up. It was certainly difficult to make that call.

It’s easy to put everyone and everything ahead of yourself when you become a mom, but it’s so important to seek help. After I made the appointment with my doctor, I had debated several times whether I should just cancel it. In the end, I went.

My birthday will always be a grim reminder of Robin Williams’ passing, but it’s also a reminder that I didn’t succumb to my own depression. It’s bittersweet.

Photos: Thinkstock

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