There’s a lot being said surrounding the very sad news of Robin Williams. I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add to this discussion. Just to say that as someone who has struggled with depression probably most of my life (but only recently openly acknowledged it and now attempting to become healthy) it has been very touching to read what others have to say about the “daily struggle” of depression. I’m going through a great deal in my life right now, from finding my own identity (or believing and trusting the person I know is there), the loss of a very beautiful and deep friendship, finding meaning in my career, my role as “mother”. These all have left me heartbroken, confused, sad, and struggling to find meaning and peace and beauty in my life. But even in all of that, I “keep going” because, despite the feelings of hopelessness, I do believe I have so much love to give to the people in this world. And I also believe that things will work out, despite the hurt that I may cause others in the process of finding my own true happiness. And I believe that people have a way of coming back to each other. That all gives me hope. In the meantime, I have a wonderful network of friends (minus one) who love and support me.
On depression: I was talking with my friend Miranda the other day about how some people are just melancholy souls. We talked about the benefits and drawbacks to living/being this way. One thing we talked about was that melancholy souls tend to live more deeply and fully… or at least tend not to be afraid of their emotions. Whereas others try to compartmentalize and keep order in their life, at the expense of experiencing raw emotion, beauty, love, romance, etc. I have always felt I am one of those melancholy souls. When I was a kid, I used to write by candlelight while listening to really slow, gloomy music. Sometimes I would weep into my journal. I had (have) a sort of fatalistic attitude. I was always writing about my unrequited love, or love in general. I wrote about feeling different from others my age. And when I was finally old enough to understand and appreciate these feelings, I got myself involved in a really destructive relationship with a man that took every ounce of beauty and hope and idealism and romanticism I had for life. He sucked me dry and then handed my heart back to me with such carelessness that I have never fully recovered. Sure, I’m over him, but not the damage he did to my self. And even though I know I am a different person (a more beautiful person) than I’ve been this past decade or so, it’s hard to find the strength and courage to let that person out into the world again. I know I’m speaking in cliches here, but sometimes that’s all I can do. My heart is fragile. But it’s also full of so much love and I just don’t want that to wither away. So I’m trying to love as much and as deeply as I can, even though the risk of heartbreak is there.
Since I can’t adequately capture the sadness I feel about Robin Williams’ suicide and also can’t adequately capture the influence some of his characters have had on my identity (such as John Keating from Dead Poets Society, explained rather eloquently in this essay by jazz interviewer and poet, Jason Crane), I’ll offer quotes that I have come across from friends and strangers that have touched me in one way or another.
I can hardly entertain the idea of living on the surface of life. My empathy is going through the roof and I spend much of my time in despair over the state of the world, feeling in a way too many will call naive or oversensitive. I happen to think plenty in the world could benefit from the level of sensitivity I feel. I have caused others pain in my life, but to this day, I feel a great sense of responsibility for correcting those errors in judgment and living in my depth, where sensitivity to the poor conditions in which others live prevails. It gets dark down here and it can be lonely at times, but it’s a life I’d much rather live than to skim the surface. There is more to life than accumulation of wealth and a safely guarded ego. I have no need for pride, and benefit not from shame. This does not make me better, but this makes me feel more whole. It makes my own struggle more trivial, for the benefit of clarity in others’. At times I feel I’m vomiting my own words- cycling through hundreds and thousands in hopes of capturing what it is that simultaneously gives me hope and gives me anger. I’m not an idealist as I once thought, or so I’ve been told. I’m a person who has been broken and negative and hurtful to others, who is slowly learning that to operate from a place of lack will always turn one to greed and desperation. To operate from a perspective of prosperity & gratitude, even when it’s merely an idea, allows for decisions that benefit the whole (and in turn, the self.) I refuse to stand back and judge who deserves what, as I know wholeheartedly that all deserve basic decency and sustenance, basic love and respect. Beyond that, we are free to earn more. If you are whole, you will quickly find that the old cliche “more is less” rings truer and truer.
~ my friend Brittany Nicole Swope, via Facebook
found via Instagram:
Found via Twitter:
“Liberation does not come when you conquer your ego, silence it, or through repression and denial get it to behave ‘properly.’ Liberation comes when we release our attachment to the habitual conditioned nature and structure of our temporary egos.”
It seems unfathomable that Robin Williams would have suffered from depression…to the point of death. It rings as an alarm in my head.
Pro 12:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
Let’s be givers of good words. Nothing more important than love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control, …. true, real, deep purpose.
Rather than now thanking a dead man for the impact he had on my life and the laughs I had at his expense, this moves me to thank those around me who may need to hear how much I enjoy them being in my life, and what they do.
So if you’re reading this… thank you for being you… and bringing what you bring to the table.
~ my friend, Will Snyder via Facebook.
Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish
by Dean Burnett on The Guardian.
WHEN “POSITIVITY” GOES WRONG: PLEASE STOP SHAMING PEOPLE FOR BEING SAD by Pia Glenn via xojane.
That’s it. I love you all. Keep going.