Robin Williams depression and the pink scarf

Robin Williams depression and the pink scarf

When I heard about Robin Williams death and his battle with depression I thought, "There but for the grace of God, go I." I was chronically depressed in my twenties up until my mid-thirties.  

When I think about my depression and the weight it put on my heart I am humbled to think that others, like Mr. Williams, have felt so much worse. This isn't to dismiss my depression it simply re-opens my heart to the power of depression. The depths. The toll.

Here's what I know.

  1. When I was depressed it felt like  a chemical had been released inside my body  that eroded my spirit. It affected me like a virus, made me feel unwell. It weighed me down, ached my head, made my skin crawl from the inside so that it was impossible to scratch. I thought my insides were toxic and that my organs and blood cells had turned the exact color of ash.
  2. Depression was like diving to the bottom of a pool, then propelling up from the bottom only to discover  the surface of the pool had been covered with a sheet of glass.
  3. Sleep was simultaneously a thing to avoid (since the time between consciousness and sleep meant I had to confront my fears, anxiety and pain) and a thing I could not wrestle out of when daytime came. I regularly slept until 3p. I simply could not get out of bed. I may as well have been chained to it. I never admitted to anyone that I slept all day.
  4. With depression comes shame.

Here's what I did.

  1. I couldn't afford therapy in my twenties so I saw graduate students from the Family Institute of Northwestern The program offers a sliding scale. I paid $20 for a 45 minute session. I grappled with the source of my anxiety, mourned my sister who died at age 22, confronted body issues and matters of self esteem. I healed wounds from my childhood.
  2. I went to therapy for years and years and still go during times of stress.

Here's what I know.

  1. Depression haunts me. 
  2. I am lucky I found a way out of my darkness.
  3. There but for the grace of God, go us all.

In an interview Robin Williams did for The Actor's Studio he improvises with a scarf (at 05:04 ) and creates character after character that thrills and captivates the audience.

He is an artist working at the height of his intelligence, joy, spirit and gift. It is a glimpse into his brilliant mind as he tries to explain his creative process. Robin Williams was something to behold. I enjoyed so many of his performances but this one says it all.

 

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