This is the face of depression.
Robert Enke (1977 - 2009) was a professional soccer player (for Hannover 96, not our favorite team but one we favor because they are our northern neighbor), and goalie for the German national soccer team. He was strong and fought hard. But behind his smile, he also suffered from depression. Last week he took his own life.
Only now are reports emerging that this man, who appeared so determined, kind and full of life, struggled. He struggled to fulfill the expectations laid upon his shoulders. He struggled to cope with the death of his two year old daughter. He struggled to hide the dark feelings inside.
I, and the German, were both shocked and touched by Robert Enke's passing. If a man who appeared so strong had problems, who else do we know struggles everyday? How alone did he feel that he could not go on? No one should have to feel that alone.
But depression is a scary, dark secret that no one talks about. It is dealt with behind closed doors. Often society demands that you "deal with it" or "get a grip on yourself." For those who suffer from depression, this is easier said than done. No one wants to admit that they have a problem and seeking help for that problem is even more difficult.
When I think of the sorrow that was in Robert Enke's heart, it breaks mine. If you know anyone in your family or a friend who you think may suffer from depression, talk to them. Get them help. Do not let them turn away.