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.
“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.