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Category Archives: Depression

Robin Williams madness

The death of Robin Williams has come as a complete shock to all but it lingers in the hazy parts of our brain. It seems beyond comprehension that Robin Williams died of suicide, succumbing to his severe depression. How could the funniest man in the room suffer from depression?

Robin Williams’ performances were broad ranges of manic brilliance, comic timing, creative thinking, heartfelt emotions and vulnerability. He won his only Oscar for playing an empathetic therapist in “Good Will Hunting.” His performance had to be inspired by his real life experiences. It may be that Robin Williams suffered from a dual diagnosis depression. 60% of people suffering from depression have a dual diagnosis; this means that they suffer depression and substance abuse.

His brilliance, his humor, his open heart, his philanthropy, being a loving father, and his vulnerable, honest and searing explanations of the demons that he was fighting touched us in the deepest parts of our brain and hearts. With all of his accolades, he did not hide from the dark side of life. He was open and honest for anyone that could understand or learn from his challenges.

robin williams good will hunting

We are struggling to understand how a bright light suffered from such deep darkness and despair.

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“You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear,” he said in 1989. “Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it’s going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you’ve laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That’s what I do when I do my act.” — Robin Williams

Robin Williams fought valiantly and sought help for his addictions multiple times. He worked to make us laugh as he wore his own mask (and a big red nose as Patch Adams).

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For those who think that depression is a sign of weakness or only a disease for the poor and homeless, remember Robin Williams’ 30 plus years of acting, performing, laughter and heart. Remember that he made us laugh when we felt we could not take another step in our own sadness. We sought escape from the struggles and challenges in our own lives by laughing along with him.

He left a legacy of laughter, but also a reminder that even the funniest, most brilliant, man in the room could suffer from depression.

Rest in Peace.

Robin Williams optimism

Over 20,000,000 million people in the U.S. are affected by Mental Illness. One of our best and brightest just died from it.
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“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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This beautiful, open, honest young woman ~ Anna Clendening ~ put a face on anxiety, panic attacks and depression for millions of people.

Every person who has ever suffered a panic attack, a depressive disorder, an anxiety attack or any other mental health issue, has spent a life in shadow. The stigma, lies, shame and fear has kept each one locked in an individual cage of isolation. Some suffer for minutes, others suffer for years. So many suffer alone or cannot get relief from conventional methods.

The blame and casting off from those who have never mourned, grieved, struggled to get out of bed, or make it through another day is the real dis-ease in our society. To those who foolishly think they are immune, there is not one person who has not been touched by some form of anxiety, phobia, depressive disorder or mental health issue in their inner circle of family and friends.

I can only say that I sobbed as I listened to her heart and soul bared for all to see. I imagine that if you have a shred of empathy, or have ever experienced such pain or despair, you will find it hard not to cry with her as well.

Life is filled with peaks and valleys…. Anna Clendening climbed out of the darkest of months to honestly share her situation, on national television, and offered hope to others who struggle silently each day. The love of her parents gave her strength and she showed the courage and strength others take for granted. This is Bravery.

What a breath of fresh air ~ Hallelujah!

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For some reason, in the last two weeks, a couple of people have made comments to me that it is amazing how quickly time has gone by, as it is almost a year since Mom passed, and I should be feeling better. People don’t know what to say, or how to make conversation, or are just really obtuse. I don’t want to call them stupid, but it might be time to change the batteries in their empathy chips when we turn the clocks back tonight.

I don’t count the days since my Mother has passed. I count long months, tears, memories and the knowledge that I am no one’s favorite. It has been ten months since my Mother passed and nine months since my Grandmother passed on. The period of time watching each of them deteriorating has chipped at my heart of glass and left sharp craggy edges.

I still weep copiously at the sight of my mother’s photos and I wonder when she comes to visit, as a spirit from the Light, if she will linger long enough to leave a message in my dreams.

People want grief to be defined and confined to some statute of limitations. Here is the thing that you need to remember: Grief is Messy. It does not care about times or decorum. It hits when it is most inconvenient or when anything special happens in your life. It makes you weep at the hole in your life without a Significant Other who loves you and thinks you are funny, witty and special.

Loss is a plant that never dies; it has deep roots, with periods of growing and waning, fresh bursts, and blossoms in its season, but can never be fully harvested.

People tell me not to be angry at G-d as it was His decision and his judgment. I am not; my mother was lucky to move to a better life out of her imprisoned body. However, I still miss my Mom.

I am very aware of how much time has passed and the dates on the calendar that mark holidays and other major occasions in our lives. When babies are born, I want to call her and share the news and the photos. As my father prepares to walk down the aisle as a proud Grandfather in two weeks’ time, we are well aware of her absence.

This is not a time of crossing X’s on a calendar counting down to some date of freedom. My mother’s spirit was set free and for her it was a joyous reunion with family long since gone. But, for me, I am chained to the date with full knowledge of what it means. The calendar is a masquerade of days. It is not a sign of moving forward; rather it is a measure of the time I have been looking back over my shoulder to see what is left behind.

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