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Oh Captain, my Captain.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I have not a lot to say about the revelations of the past 24 hours.

I have never had much experience with clinical depression. A short 10 years ago, the boys and I went to Ireland and the first day we were there we wanted to visit the Cliffs of Moher. It was closed that day because a woman was visiting with her friends who thought a trip to Ireland would be just the thing to snap her out of her funk. They took her to the Cliffs of Moher. She looked around, took a drag off her cigarette and one step forward.

I was angry. Not because the Cliffs were closed to visitors. But because I thought she made a selfish gutless choice. Suicide is the coward's way out.

In those last 10 years, I have done enough reading and and listening and thought to come to the conclusion that it is not a gutless choice. It is not a coward's way out. It is extremely complex.

Several years ago, I think it was 2011, one of my favorite baseball players committed suicide. Mike Flanagan was a pitcher, a TV and radio voice of the Orioles, and a general manager for the O's. He was saddle with huge debt. He had other problems. But one thing he mentioned was that he believed that the fans of the team he loved felt that he was responsible for them being on a 14 year losing streak. I came to understand that his problems, when looked at individually seemed trivial, and in the case of taking responsibility for his team having a tight-fisted cheap owner actually a little silly. But when all balled together they were very complex.

The news of Robin Williams last night was a shock. And it was not. He often spoke openly about his depression and his addictions. He also took on a TV show, something a star of his calibre would normally be above. And that show failed. He had a well-known dislike for spin-offs and "sequels." And yet he did "Night at the Museum 2" and had just wrapped "Night at the Museum 3". He was supposed to start work on "Mrs Doubtfire 2" at the end of this summer. Why? As it turns out he was facing bankruptcy. At age 63, working in Hollywood for 40+ years, winning Oscars, this guy should not be having to work a TV series just to have a paycheck.

It all piled up on him I suppose. I was saddened. Shocked. But not surprised.

And the first thing that flashed through my mind was the scene from "What Dreams May Come" where he joined his wife, a suicide, in Hell.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    RIP Robin Williams

    I watched weather channel and saw all that flooding- hoping you fared well

    1316 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/14/2014 3:22:48 PM
    Of all the mental illnesses, depression is the worst. I hope anyone who is dealing with it gets help. Robin Williams was wonderful. I wonder if he even realized how much he was loved all over the world.

    I saw you got quite a bit of rain out there yesterday. I hope all is well.

    1316 days ago
    Holy cow, that Cliffs of Moher bit made the hairs raise up on my arm. I saw all of the signs when I was there, but to witness it? Oh man. You definitely won't forget that.

    Depression does not discriminate, and it makes a person someone they are not. It has a strong grip and it can make someone do horrible things. I always try to be kind to everyone I meet because they could be fighting a battle that I know nothing about (I know I fight them, so I appreciate when people are kind to me). Depression is not necessarily a disease people wear on their skin.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1316 days ago
  • TINA8605
    I discuss this issue about suicide w/my bf last night....the first words out of his life is Robin Williams was rich. How could a rich person be depressed....he had the means to everything. I've heard my bf make these comments in the past. He makes really good money at this job. But he's not happy. Money might give you the means to pay the bills and the ability to have material things. But one thing you can't do is buy happiness. Happiness comes from within. I, too, suffer from depression (which is under control thru meds at this time). But deep deep down, I'm content, I have never consider suicide as the answer. Its sad for those that do.
    1317 days ago
    He also had alimony payments to two ex-wives. Depression, addiction and financial pressures are each common motives for suicide. Robin Williams was dealing with all three.
    1317 days ago
    it is sad.
    1317 days ago
  • CIPHER1971
    Mental Health is so difficult, especially for those of us who have naturally robust psyches, but you are right it is complex, and because it is difficult to see it is easy to overlook.

    Thank you for another thought provoking blog.

    Have a good day

    1317 days ago
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