What I want to say about Robin Williams is what an amazing actor he was – his energy leapt from the screen and even now, as I did when I was younger, I can’t resist ‘Hook’ or ‘Dead Poets Society’ when I need something to remind me of the magic in the world. Magic comes in many forms – the magic of the movies still captivates me, and Robin Williams had it in spades.
So yes, the world seems a little darker, but there are always the films to remind us just how talented he was, and how joyful things can be.
‘No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.’ – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.
There have been a lot of blog posts and articles talking about depression and addiction since. I welcome responsible and awareness raising discussion and sharing around depression because it’s something that has affected me and people I know. I feel that most people will experience it at least once in their lifetime; some of us even battle feelings of lowness and numbness every day. I’ve come to accept that it’s part of me to feel sadness throughout periods of a day – this is just part of me, realising the mortality of life and how fleeting it can be. Yet those moments are tempered with highs and peaceful contented hours. I find the mornings the hardest – I’m not a ‘jump out of bed with joy’ person and need to convince myself to get up and face the day, drink a coffee and do the things I need to do.
These moments of lowness are nothing compared to battling depression. I’ve been in the throes of numbness, and the other extreme, the pain filled depression where there is too much pain. Climbing out of it takes a lot out of you. On the days where everything seems colourless, you can’t cope with simple tasks because you’re expending so much energy just getting through the day. For me, it was as if having a shower and going through the motions of getting ready was my big task of the day. I was often angry with myself, frustrated that I couldn’t do what I needed to do. I’ve learnt to be kinder to myself and to give myself the attention and care I need – treat yourself like a child who needs nourishment and affection.
There doesn’t always need to be a reason. Sometimes it just is. The times that have triggered it for me are usually around changes or a lack of routine – two opposite things. Changes are negative changes that create emotional upheaval. A lack of routine leads to just a feeling of existing, and not seeing or feeling the colour in the world. This is why I’m having to work so hard to ensure I have a semblance of routine in my life so that I don’t slip too much or let the lowness win. A routine that works around my own natural rhythms – being a night owl, I often do more writing in the evening. All I can do about changes is remind myself that changes allow us to grow and as painful as it can be at times, it’s part of life. I still get frustrated with myself and feel paralysed with the number of things I feel I have to do, but I’m learning that all I have to do is do the things that matter – the rest can wait.
There is a lot of information out there about depression: a great post with hosts of links and places to get help is here: Lorelle on WordPress. My main message though is this – you’re not alone. I know how alone people can feel, but you’re not. It takes a lot of courage for people to write about depression; there are a lot of brave people out there. Life is both beautiful and painful but it is worth it.
‘But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?’ – Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.