The Rabid Conservative

Think Right, Act Right, Be Right.

Remembering Robin Williams – And A Plea to All

with 2 comments


We never connect to each other in a real way anymore – we manage our relationships virtually.

Yesterday, as you all know, a great man, a legend in the world of stage and screen, and a master of comedy, Robin Williams, took his own life. And while we are all still waiting for the reports from coroners, law enforcement officials, and his family, his death marks the conclusion of his struggle with severe depression.

That is the subject of this post. No rants on politics today. I think we all just need to stop for a moment and realize the final lessons that Mr. Williams is now teaching us – that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, how beloved you are by fans or how many people are around you, when you fight the demon of depression, you often fight it alone. And it knows it.

I myself suffer from depression – I’m definitely no stranger to it. All my life, I have suffered and wrestled with feelings of abandonment, neglect, and being ignored, pushed aside and forgotten. I have felt like no one cared that I existed – no one cared for anything that I was or did. The whisperings of the demon are constant in my life and there are days when I rise above it, and there are days when I am overcome by it.

I’ve been to counseling, taken anti-depressant medication, focused on my spirituality, fought addictions, and watched in horror as my struggle spilled into the lives of my family and friends. I’ve used the Twelve Steps, focused on my job, family, God, people. And yet, the demon of depression continues to plague me. It never goes away. It is my thorn in the side.

With Robin’s passing, I think we need to stop for a moment and realize that, while we are the most connected society in the history of mankind, we are also the most isolated. We use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the like to fill the social need that we all have as people, yet we never truly get to know one another. We don’t spend any real time talking to one another. We post things on our walls, timelines, or whatever, hoping someone will come along and give it a read. We use sub-tweets and suggestive statements to get the attention of certain people without indicating that we’re calling someone out. And we all do it behind the cozy confines of our phones and computers, without actually looking the person in the eye. We never connect to each other in a real way anymore – we manage our relationships virtually.

And as we use social media, we become socially disconnected and isolated. It’s a grand paradox.

If you are reading this post, I want to make a special plea to you. Liberal, conservative, libertarian, whatever – doesn’t matter today. Today, politics doesn’t matter, because this is a human problem. And we as humans need to take a moment of pause.

First, I want, you, friend, to reach out to someone else. Make it a point to do so – make the effort. Perhaps you do this already, but if you don’t then take a moment to do it. If you are heavy into social media, then instead of sub-tweeting them or posting things on your wall for them to read, call them!  Send them a personal message. Write an e-mail and show some concern for someone else. Go to lunch. Go to coffee. But please, reader, reach out to someone – preferably not through a digital medium, but through real, old fashioned human-to-human communication. It’s time for us to re-learn what it means to have real relationships, not virtual ones.

Do you know anyone with depression? Someone who silently suffers and who can’t seem to reconcile the pain and the raw of life?  And for the big question, when was the last time you reached out to that person – not to treat them as a sufferer from a disease or someone disadvantaged, but as a person and grant them the one thing that they desire – inclusion into the human race?  The biggest complaint of all those who suffer in the shame of depression is that no one cares enough to grant them their humanity.  So, as Dr. John Bradshaw indicated in his book, Healing the Shame that Binds You, many sufferers slink off believing they are less than human, or they exaggerate themselves to a “larger than life” status in order to compensate for their internal failings. In either case, they suffer.

Maybe you don’t know someone like that, but everyone is connected to someone. Even the Scriptures make this key point:

For no one lives to himself and no one dies to himself. – Romans 14:7 ESV

Each one of us is connected in some way to someone else. Each one of us represents a thread in that tapestry of humanity. Pull on that thread, cut it, remove it, and something unique is lost. The challenge that we all have here is that we must realize the value that each of us has on society.  Regardless of our political leanings, religious affiliations, status, station – every person matters to someone else. You, as a person, may not have that much of an impact on me as a person, but that does not mean that you are unimportant. Those of us who suffer from depression make that mistake in thinking. Find your importance. Be relevant. Don’t sit idly and let it pass you by.

Maybe you’re suffering from depression and maybe even teetering on brink of suicide. Maybe you feel so utterly alone and in this digitally-connected world, you feel no one cares. Whether you realize it or not, there is someone out there in the world who loves you and who wants the best for you. Perhaps they aren’t good at showing it. Perhaps they get so wrapped up in their lives, their job, their pursuits or what not that they don’t make the time. The best thing I have found to beating back depression is not to wait for someone to come to you – you go to someone else, help them, love on them, and show concern for someone else. Only you can break your cycle of depression; no one can do it for you, friend.

And if you are not sure who to talk to, leave a comment below and I will personally reach out to you. I may not have the solution to your problem; I’m just a man with his own issues, but I will listen. And if you are contemplating ending your own life, get on the phone, call 911, and get help. Reader, please don’t think that you must suffer alone – I’ve made this mistake in thinking myself.

You are not alone in your fight. You do not have to walk the path alone.

Robin Williams was one of the greatest comedy legends, and I will always remember him. Not for his genius, although he did make me laugh on numerous occasions, but for his struggle. Every war, ever struggle, claims casualties and the war against depression is no different. But it’s an enemy we can fight, if we take it seriously.

Not just to my friends today. Today, it’s for everyone, particularly for those who suffer in silence.

TRC

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Written by The Rabid Conservative

August 12, 2014 at 9:29 am

2 Responses

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  1. This is so ver sad. You never know what people are going through. I have depression/panic/anexity attacks. I eould go to work every day.. do my job and not complain. My boss lady told me.You are always happy and smiling. You never complain. I told her one dsy. Its fake. You never know how people feel or what they are going through

    Denise Brown

    August 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    • Hi Denise:

      The situation of depression is very sad because it is so misunderstood by so-called normal people. Thing is, there is hope for folks that only comes through the struggle, which, in time, brings experience, confidence and hope – but only for those who are courageous enough to make the choice to keep on going.

      We need to start focusing on looking out for each other, and encouraging each other on a daily basis. We have to stop being so consumed with our own stuff and start listening for those who are hurting.

      But those who are hurting also need to be willing to reach out and let their supports help them in the dark times. The sufferer also has to be willing to step out and call for help, rather than waiting for someone to notice.

      It’s only then we learn the lessons from this week.

      Thanks for writing in and commenting on The Rabid Conservative.

      The Rabid Conservative

      August 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm


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