Robin Williams has left us. My friends and I are all in tears. Those that bring laughter and joy are usually the ones who battle in private. Acutely aware of not wanting to burden the people around them, they say little of their struggles. They keep busy, running several projects at the one time, spinning the plates with only two hands. Their social life looks full and one witnesses the happy snaps, reassured that your friend or family member has had a week of contentment. Busy, busy, busy. Loathe to stop and sit quietly with their thoughts. Running harder and faster, with a full calendar and mind. A fleeting sinking feeling might appear, and they acknowledge the hidden anger, grief, pain and sadness within their psyche. Who to tell? Everyone is so busy. Everyone has their own stuff. I have to keep it together. I don’t want to have my depression dismissed by platitudes. It wont help. When I was in the midst of grave depression, what did help was acknowledgement. A hug, and sharing a pot of tea. Going for a walk in the sunshine and talking to a friend. It is a tremendously brave thing to do, to share that you are in hell. So very brave.
One cannot keep depression at bay by running harder. You stumble, and the black dog awaits the fall. Maybe we need to have a revision of life, and how we do it. Simplify, go back to basics. Keep Sundays as a day of rest and of connecting. Give more hugs, be attuned to the subtle nuances of our other humans. Pare down the commitments and be with those who fill your heart. You can’t afford to be punctured, to leak as though you were a sieve. This is your life that is at stake. Anything and anyone that compounds the darkness, must go, at least for now. I regret that life is so difficult, and for some, too difficult. I have lost many loved ones to suicide. My heart still aches. If I could have breathed hope into them I would have. If you are suffering depression, and are dismissed by the first person you confide in, keep going. Go gently in this world, beautiful people. Too much activity is just as troubling as none. Balance. These are things I am learning. Robin, we love you. We cherish the legacy you left us. As I sit with my daughter in the years to come to watch your movies, I will tell her about you. Bless you always and ever, and our love to those whom you left on earth.
I am going to republish this post, after hearing of the passing of Robin Williams.There are many amongst us who are battling depression. Brilliant people, who seemingly have the world at their feet. I can tell you from firsthand experience,that when you are feeling low, you have fallen into an abyss where the stars aren’t seen. They are smothered by an unforgiving cluster of coal, smeared across the light. I almost succeeded at ending my life at fifteen. In fact, I had a few serious attempts. Serious enough to have claimed my life each time. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain to stop. I had to be brought back after my heart stopped. I awoke several days later in ICU,after dancing between life and death. I wasn’t pleased to still be here. I felt like a stranger in this world, without a home nor tribe. It seemed that circumstances including severe abuse- had conspired to push me out, and so I spun around in orbit. I tried to cling to a glimmer of hope, but in that dark moment,I couldn’t imagine anything changing. This was before being thrown off a building. This was before more pain, and a lengthy recovery.
I am a grown woman now. I would say to that teen, “little girl, don’t give up. Don’t react in an act of violence against yourself. There will be growth after this anguish is done. You will get away.” Have you ever seen a forest after a bushfire? Black, the trees devoid of life. Then, regrowth. New shoots, tremulously and shyly start to peek out of the hollows. When I see this spectacle, I get emotional. That is what a person battling depression must cling to. New shoots will grow. It wont always feel like this. Today I talked to a friend, was helped by a friend, my daughter told me about her day, and we played. I had a few of her friends rush up and give me a hug. I have been loved. I have eaten good food and smelt citrus fruit. I have heard my little canaries melodic song and patted my guinea pig’s soft fur.
Those with sensitive spirits, the wounded and vulnerable. We need more of you. You are the healers. Defy the pain that wants to take you out of this world. Just keep breathing. The answers will come to you in time. If you speak and aren’t heard, put it down to a dodgy connection, and try again with someone else. I love the saying, ‘If you are brave all the time, people will come to expect it of you’-Mignon McLaughlin. Nobody sees your suffering if they don’t know it exists. It is true, that some won’t understand when you speak your truth. Keep talking. I know Lifeline is stretched, and sometimes they can’t pick up every call. Try again. The stakes are too high. You are fighting for your life. You are precious. We need you. Lifeline, 13 11 14 in Australia. xxx