Tears of a Clown

I’m not jumping on a Robin Williams band wagon, but hearing of his death made me feel very sad on a day when I’d also heard of the suicide of a boy in my son’s wider circle of friends at just 14, a lovely, friendly, happy lad who was concealing a deep sadness which he couldn’t express or share for whatever reason.

So many people commenting everywhere on Robin Williams saying they can’t believe such a funny guy could be depressed. It just goes to show  how little people still know about depression and how little people still know about people.

Some of the funniest people I know (I’m one of them of course < that was me being funny as evidence) are masking sadness, some of the most outgoing are masking deep shyness, some of the most gregarious are masking deep seated lack of confidence (gosh I’m all three of these). What we show to the world and who we are… they’re not always the same thing.

download“Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” (Watchmen)

We can be surrounded by people and feel alone, we can be loved and feel neglected, we can have riches and feel poor we can have much to be happy about and yet feel sorrow. I believe the only real way to deal with depression is to find its root cause and explore it honestly. So I guess I come from the Freudian rooted school of psychoanalysis in that respect but I do believe that talking therapies are the way forward. Maybe combined with other treatments. Blocking with drugs, altering the mind, zapping the brain although all achieve an effect all seem to be long term programmes, lifelong in many cases. I don’t know maybe that’s what we need, maybe depression is a forever condition, maybe it can’t be cured and that’s where we’re going wrong.

Maybe a course of therapy, talking to a counsellor isn’t good enough, talking to even a psychologist isn’t good enough, we need to have that release every week or every day. I guess when we’re being treated by professionals we are restricted to time slots, appointments. How do I as a depressed person know that I will feel like talking at 3pm on 17th September? How do I know I’ll even feel depressed then? It could be a great day. I could have my happy head on. How long do I need to talk to someone before I really open up? Hours and hours and hours that’s how long. I need to have trust, I need to have a rapport. I’m not going to do it in a fifteen or thirty minute slot with a complete stranger.

This is why I believe that blogging is so beneficial. For me it most definitely is. It can be like an honest talk with yourself or with someone else, sometimes you get response back from posts, sometimes you sit and write and thoughts flow freely and tears fall in abundance and you wipe away the snot from your nose and realise a blockage in your head has cleared and you don’t need to publish at all.

Sometimes you are the best therapist but those thoughts need to come out, out of your mouth or out of your fingertips, but they have to come out.

And of course this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t mention that food and exercise are fabulous tonics, they may not be the solution but they are certainly not going to do any harm.


2 thoughts on “Tears of a Clown”

  1. I am still feeling rather gutted about Robin Williams. I was always a fan from a very young age. I loved ‘Mork and Mindy’ when I was a teenager and it just went on from there. I totally agree with what you’ve written. Don’t know if you saw this article by Russell Brand but it is just brilliant. I am not Russell’s greatest admirer but I think this piece shows incredible insight. He has very obviously been there too.



    1. I was never really enamored by Mork and Mindy, I used to watch it but found it a bit zany for my liking. I found him far better in his non-comedic roles, Good Morning Vietnam has always stuck in my mind, the way the humour was mixed with atrocity.. where do you begin entertaining people in that situation? I think he was perfect for that role, that kind of let’s give it a go anyway because we can’t be all about doom and gloom. I loved Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society where he had the kind of modern day nutty professor role, a man obsessed and consumed by his passion and intellect who just wanted to share his wealth of knowledge and put it to good use in others and I also loved him in Jumanji running around screaming like a fool and of course more latterly in Night at the Museum where he played a rather tender character which was unlike him.

      Thanks for sharing. That is a fabulous article and like you say, our Russell is not always the most likeable of people but when he’s on point he makes so much sense. The article linked beside it was also really interesting the one by Mary Hamilton, about the sensationalising of suicide.

      I changed my mind on Russell Brand, having found him amusing seeing his rise to fame through his zany hosting of a show supporting Big Brother in its hey day and going off him hearing of his exploits since. I saw a documentary he did about how to really help people with heroin and crack addictions and it opened my eyes to so many things and I admired his honesty when he left a crack den and stood outside and said, “I really wanted to join in with them, it took me all my strength not to”. It made me realise that we’re constantly fighting our addictions, that they can haunt us or make us stronger depending on which way the coin falls today. I’m sure he’s been there and that’s why his piece is so well written, I’m sure he’ll go there again and so does he and that’s probably another reason it is so candid.


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