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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ROBIN WILLIAMS & DEPRESSION

I was, interestingly enough, working on a (hopefully) amusing version of my obituary. With the news that we have lost yet another iconic entertainer and the circumstances surrounding him, I felt the need to write something else.

Look close at any Robin Williams routine, scene, or interview, and you won't see it. He was a HIGHLY intelligent human being who seemed comfortable with who he was and what he did, but you didn't see it. He had professional success beyond most of his peers, and thoroughly enjoyed performing for anyone, bringing a laugh to lighten the load of the daily grind, yet you didn't see it. His life, by all appearances, was a dream come true, but what you didn't see was the nightmare his alone-time must have been. He could have been your closest friend or relative, and you might not have had a clue that something was seriously wrong.

Depression.

It makes no sense to anyone who doesn't suffer from it. Here's the hard fact – YOU CAN'T MAKE SOMETHING LOGICAL WHEN THE SITUATION IS ILLOGICAL. There's nothing that makes sense with this.

People think life has to be awful to be feeling down and dark.
People think by telling someone they are loved, it will cure it.
People think only the weak among us are affected.
People think they should be able to see the pain and suffering on a person's face.
People think they could have helped.
People think those that are depressed feel NO emotions.

Look at Robin and you will see the real answers to these questions -

FALSE
FALSE
FALSE
FALSE
FALSE
FALSE

Someone's life can be everything you want it to be for YOU, yet if that person is battling with depression, they have another vision. There can be lots of love and affection, but if that person doesn't see it, feel it, or want it, it's not relevant. Weakness of mind or body doesn't qualify or disqualify you from having to cope with it. You probably won't see the signs of depression in a lot of people because it's hidden on purpose, cleverly disguised, and not for anyone's eyes to see, especially if you are close to them. No one can help until the victim is able to recognize their situation and want to find a way out. Not everyone does, has the desire, or strength.

I am lucky. All I have to do is know the funk is staring me in the face, and I have learned what needs done to lighten the blow. I exercise a bit, mingle with folks a bit, find ways to help someone or even just put a smile on a strangers face. It sounds so simple, yet it can be very VERY hard to do.

Let me explain how life CAN be....

  • You wake up and your first thought is, “damn... I have to live through another day.
  • You are doing your favorite activity, yet your reaction is, “...sigh”.
  • You KNOW if you do this or that, you will feel better, but you just can't bring yourself to do it. Don't confuse it with laziness, it's the paralysis of the affliction.
  • You can appear happy in public, yet you almost look forward to the solitude of loneliness, wallowing in the misery that allows no hope.
  • You can have moments when you think a real option is, to just take a long walk in the desert with no plans on returning. On a good day, you see this as a BAD option and move on. But not EVERY day.

Many of you will recognize what I'm talking about. Many will just have confirmed,  I am coo-coo.

The sad truth is, we are all so different that there is no one cure for everyone. Some can take a pill, some can go for a walk, some can talk their way through it, some never find it.

I think the one thing that is very important is to be able to recognize your dark side. Everyone has a side that balances out the joy we feel. The problems lie in those of us who have that side occupy a larger portion of reality that others. It can also be a benefit.

Huh?

Here's my take on it. The dark side is the extreme version of hopelessness, yet it IS an emotion of extreme power. It is ALSO balanced out by joy that is just as extreme. That is how a talent like Robin Williams can spend his life entertaining, acting out every emotion because, to him, it's easy. He had the tools that come from these wild emotional extremes. Higher highs, lowers lows. Life is about emotions and having more emotions means you will live a more complicated life. It's like taking a windy road instead of a straight one to the same destination.

I came to feel comfort in my feeling down. Once it fully kicked in, I would spend an entire weekend letting the emptiness, the bleak despair, envelope me. Solitary confinement was a reward, my friend and companion.

BUT.....

I was able to fill the emptiness, repair the despair, blot out the bleakness, and want the company of other human beings. It was like changing clothes. I was lucky. I could take off the jacket of hopelessness and put on my Hawaiian shirt of happiness. I mean, who can feel down wearing something like THAT?

Medication didn't work for me. People's affections didn't help. Talking to a professional didn't improve anything. Nothing WORKS for me.

I found no cure. I found control. I found a way for ME to deal. It never goes away fully. The clouds of gloom and doom are always in sight. Tears are a moment away, waiting to be exposed. Like I said, higher highs, lower lows.

If you are in the grips of the big “D”, take it from many who struggle with the same thing.

If a pill helps, take the pill.
If a walk helps, take a walk.
If you know darkness leads to destruction, stay in the light.
If talking to someone really helps, keep talking.

The world is a better place with you in it. You CAN contribute. You can HELP others that don't have your strength deal with this evil monster that cowers in the dark.

The world NEEDS flawed folks like us to show them the limits of joy and sadness, because they have no idea how happy or despondent they can be. Look around and know EVERYONE is messed up, it's just a matter of degrees. Some are better than you, some worse.

Once you find your happy place, you can visit the darkness anytime you want or need to.

Even if it's only to cry. 



1 comment:

  1. It was really interesting how you put those point of views in perspective. I transport my self to certaint times in my life when i have to face really dificult situations and i got good results from it. I don't know if i was lucky because i have a great Family to sopport me, as well as big group of friends that are always there when you less espected, giving me the right advice or just conforting me
    Luck

    Life is becoming more easy for me once y face a big bump. Now i think that no mather what is in front of me there is always a way to overcome that particular situation. I became a beter person just by not hiding my feelings or emotions as well as giving my opinion with no hesitation. Sometimes it is not very well taken but later i got tanked.

    Congratulations for the Hawaiian shirt. If makes you feel great wear it more often.

    It was a pleasure for me to read your post today about Robin Williams. Some how we all face that demon at one point and sometimes the ones that looks stronger are really week. I know that first hand.

    ReplyDelete

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