I watched Jack last night with the kids and then binge watched The Crazy Ones again while I waited for my husband to get home from his cricket match. He then crawled into bed with me and binge watched it too. Until way later than he should have.
During the releasing of the ducklings scene on one of the earlier episodes of The Crazy Ones I suddenly thought it’s weird that I don’t feel sad watching this. I had kind of expected to. But I could still laugh. I guess that’s where the world as a whole is kind of lucky. We didn’t lose a husband or a father or a friend. We lost an icon. And we only need a television set to revisit him. We can, if we wish, simply pretend.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on suicide or depression. I won’t pretend to understand fully. I think personally I am very much inclined towards possibly serious depression and anxiety from time to time (ok fine — all the time). Being a hyper-sensitive person in a world that seems to have collectively learned how to be cold has its challenges. I hope that if it ever gets really bad that I might be brave enough to ask for help, though to be honest I probably won’t.
The thing is: life feels really long sometimes. We all love to yell “carpe diem” and wax on poetically about how we need to use every moment. Am I the only one who feels like it’s a bit of a farce? Now and then I catch myself thinking “Another 40 years of this? Really?” None of us actually asked to be here. And yet here we are. Here we are loving people who have the power to hurt us in every conceivable way. We’re going through the tedious motions of what is expected – living impossibly busy but often empty lives. Sometimes we start the day with little more than the goal of getting through to the other side of it. Our friends get cancer and they die. We lose people constantly – to accidents, to suicide, to murder. Daily we are bombarded with just how fucking crap it is to actually exist. I’ve just this minute seen a photograph of dead children covered in blood. We’ve got Christians and Muslims killing each other. We’ve got human trafficking. Rape culture. Ignorance. Oppression. Homophobia. Racism. Slut shaming. Fat shaming. Misogyny. Bullshit. We’ve got factory farming which is literally (yes literally) worse than anything your mind will allow you to imagine. We’ve got the homeless on our streets and we’ve got governments who are making their already difficult lives even harder. We’ve got people stealing our pets and using them as bait for dog fighting. We’ve got high jackers dragging four year old boys to their deaths (I couldn’t even type that without my breath catching and now there are tears pouring down my face). We deal with permanent powerlessness when it comes to the things that hurt our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Not only do we have to somehow manage our own baggage, but add a spouse and children to your life and guess how much the baggage grows!
I’m not saying that depression isn’t real – of course it is. But fucking hell life sucks enough without it! Add depression on top of “just life”? Bloody hell! Yes, enjoying all the little things can make a huge difference….but….but there’s always a but. I should feel grateful that my children are not being bombed in Gaza. And I am. But how do I not mourn for those who are? How do I not feel guilty for having what others do not? I am grateful to know that my family loves me. But how do I not mourn for children who do not have that for themselves? Sometimes all I want is peace from the thoughts and life that seems to so fully consume me, as if it is gnawing at my very bones and digesting my entire essence. I cannot be the only one.
Here we are in an age where we are so connected to each other, and yet how many of us feel like these tools that were meant to bring us together have only made us more disconnected from our own lives? This massive disconnection from self is crippling. It is exhausting. It is overwhelming. It can be worked on, yes. But it takes work. Something more to make you feel like you might be failing. Being “ok” does not come nearly as easily as being “not ok” does. It is the joke of The Universe. It is why we need to constantly feed ourselves with all sorts of things to keep afloat. Be it art or literature or entertainment. Or food or booze or drugs. Be it hanging around people whose views uplift you. And even then, all that “filling” guarantees nothing because sometimes there’s just a hole in the bag…
I saw someone say today that perhaps if Robin Williams had known how much he was loved he would still be alive today. That’s a kind of sweet (sad?) thought, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily true.
I need to say here that I promise I am not going to commit suicide. I gave up my right to do so the day a second blue line showed up on my pregnancy test. But the thing is….so often I find myself tired of being alive. And that is not a reflection on my family or my friends or any sort of lack of love. I know I am loved and I am blessed in that regard. I also have an extraordinary amount of love for others. That in itself can be debilitating, though I admit that loving my son brings with it a certain flicker of hopefulness.
But love is not a cure for life. It may act as a soothing balm from time to time, but the magic of love is limited. There is no cure for life except to get to the other side of it. I may never choose to hurry that process by my own hand, but I sure as hell will never judge someone who made that very real choice for themselves.
So to Robin Williams I can only say this: I know that we the public did not fail you in our love for you. I know that your family did not fail you. I know that your friends did not fail you. And I know that you did not fail yourself.
It was Life who failed you. It is, after all, what Life is best at.
Rest in Peace, dear friend. You will be missed, and always loved. You may not have been your own reason to keep going, but I think in a very big way you have given many many others a reason to get through just one more day.