Robin Williams and Depression’s Beacon For Us

Robin

I’ve been vacillating between crying and on the verge of tears since I heard Robin Williams died.  Things happen in life and you run these things through your own particular filters. They take on a life intertwined with yours, because once they happen, the rest of their existence is completely subjective, completely in how they occur to you.

How his death has occurred to me is as such a sad reminder of how hard we are all trying. Trying to be loved, trying to surround ourselves with happiness so we don’t face our own demons all of the time, trying so hard not to get hurt.

We’re never more safe to be with than when we are laughing, but it’s as if laughter has died for a few days, as if I’m learning that laughter will never be enough, no matter how wonderful it is, no matter how much I admire and love people who make me laugh and think and feel. My uncle Joel comes to mind, my very own Judd Hirsch character from Ordinary People or Sean Maguire from Good Will Hunting complete with sweater, beard, pipe and tweed jacket, great wisdom and a fantastic sense of humor. He has no idea how much I love and admire him, how him just being alive comforts me!

We’re really all trying. We seem so dangerous to each other and so vulnerable, that our facades, our acts seem so necessary, but we’re all so much the same beneath them, all trying. When someone yells at me, argues with me or looks at me funny, they’re really not trying to hurt me, that’s not their primary goal. They are trying to stave off their own pain and anticipation of pain.  I see it in my sons’ anger so clearly (their tool of choice for staving off pain). They’re beautiful little souls trying to protect themselves and I’m so sorry that they know from pain, that their life of trying has begun.

Accomplishment, laughter, success are sometimes just what they are, but so often they are what we are using to stave off the pain and the fear of the next hurt that’s coming, which is why their effect never lasts. We are still fooled by each others facades, because we are primarily operating as evaluators, on guard, protecting our vulnerable hearts.

I can get very frustrated with the impact of depression on relationships, but when more clear-headed, it occurs like a beacon. We are missing the point. It is truly the blind leading the blind, as we lead each other into these lives of trying, when all we really need to do, all we are and we are in denial of, is love. I think everyone I’ve ever known with depression or biploar disorder has known this so much better than I have, buried in the necessity of my own protection. All it takes is for us to see that it is here, everywhere and stop putting so much stock in each others facades. Imagine living in a world where the illusion that we are not surrounded by love went away.

Easy to say, challenging to do when the tide of this is in the early days of turning and there is so much in the world telling us that fear and hate and danger are everywhere, but if we choose it, it is ours.

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