Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Appearances.

Appearances are deceptive.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

Aphorisms that I grew up with.

The first I agree with wholeheartedly.  When I look at people leading the perfect life who have everything I think of water birds.

They look so serene floating peacefully on the water and yet I know that under the water their little legs are going hell for leather keeping them afloat.  Lots of unseen work goes to keeping them there.

Sometimes they/we/I succeed.  Often for years.  And at other times, like Robin Williams, the never ending exhausting effort can be too much to sustain.

The covers to people's books are trickier.  Sometimes what we see is what we get, and a quick glance will tell us whether we want to read more - or walk away.

Other, very pretty covers, conceal a lifetime of pain, grief and despair.

Anne Lamott said what I feel better than I can.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.”

And how I wish that Robin Williams, and so many more people, had been able to wait out the dawn one more time...  And then another.  And another.  Which is a big ask.


 

126 comments:

  1. I wish they could have seen the dawn. If only they could have the foresight to see how much their passing affects so many with such a great sense of loss and grief.

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    1. DeniseinVA: Depression is a soul-sucking liar. And a very convincing liar too. When I have been in dark places I have been convinced that my absence would make other people's worlds and lives better, and easier.

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  2. Thank you for sharing that passage from Anne Lamott. Hoping it is one of those great days for you EC x

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    1. Carol in Cairns: Thank you. Darkish - but the dawn is almost visible.

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  3. Unless we have been in that well we can never really understand.Just grieve.

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    1. dinahmow: And if we cannot understand we shouldn't judge.

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  4. Thank you for this tribute. I have been touched by this death. First of all, because I really liked his talent. Secondly, because it highlights the agony that someone must go through who is clinically depressed.

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    1. Myrna R.: I have been touched by this death, and by many others. And have felt some of their pain.

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  5. That is a good way to look at it and it seems to be a very fine line preceding dawn.

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    1. Andrew: Sometimes dawn takes a very, very long time to arrive.

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  6. That does sum it up very well. We need hope and faith that the dawn will come.
    The world will miss him...

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: The world will miss him, and so many others as well. Less famous, equally valuable.

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  7. I agree with your sentiments, EC. So very said regarding Robin Williams. Depression is a dark, invisible demon.

    He was a unique talent.

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    1. Lee: Depression is a very, very powerful beast. A skilled liar with a loud and convincing voice. Which sometimes drowns out everything else.

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  8. Quite right. Never assume about anybody's life. Unless one has walked in the shoes of the depressed, one cannot judge.

    Over the last day or two I have seen some positively appalling comments regarding the suicide of Robin Williams. Such as it being a 'selfish act' - among others. At which point my blood boiled over ...

    A fitting tribute, EC, to an extraordinary man. Heartbreaking.

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    1. Wendy: I have seen some of those comments too. Comments based on ignorance, and a lack of empathy. And, in their own way, selfish - expecting someone to live through incredible pain to protect them.

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  9. Thought I'd pop back to leave you with a quote from the man himself.

    'I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you fell all alone.' - Robin Williams.

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    1. Wendy: I do like his quote. Sadly at the end he was alone with Depression, Fatigue and Fear. Powerful, soul-sucking, lying depression. Being alone would have been better than that company.

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  10. Beautifully written and a reminder to those of us who remain paddling like hell to stay afloat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Bookie: To those of us frantically paddling, never sure that we will make it...

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  11. Replies
    1. Joanne Noragon: A sad loss, which mirrors other sad losses.

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  12. A thoughtful post - I'm sure you have more insights than many, given your volunteer work in suicide prevention. I was so moved by Zelda William's words about losing her dad, that she would "never understand" how he could "not find it in his heart to stay." He seemed to be someone who had so much to live for and fight for - a loving family, a successful career he seemed to draw so much of his energy from, the adoration of so many fans - but we can never know what goes on in the private life and in the heart and mind of another. His psychic pain must have been profound indeed to have felt a need to end it at such a cost. So tragic and unsettling.

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    1. Laloofah: Voluntary work and experience. I teeter in the dark myself often, as does my partner. And too many other people. It is a lonely and desparate place. And can be all consuming.

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  13. today I read about an australian man who saved literally hundred of folks from suicide by engaging them in conversation and asking them to tea. he lived by a famous place for suicides called the cliff., this story reminds me I need to engage folks I encounter into conversation and hopefully others will do the same.

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    1. Linda Starr: I think the place you are thinking of is 'The Gap'. He and his wife did indeed save a lot of people. Talking to people is a wonderful starting point - but not always enough. Worth trying though...

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  14. Life is hard and not always as it seems, sometime lots of money and fame makes it harder.
    Merle..........

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    1. Merlesworld: I suspect that often fame makes it harder. No privacy. Ever.

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  15. I am, like many others, brokenhearted over the loss of this fine man. I too know it is a big ask. My heart goes out to his family, and to all of us who have lost him. :-(

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    1. DJan: And to all those who are teetering on the brink, and to the people who care about them.

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  16. That's a beautiful post for a very tragic end.

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  17. It just makes me wonder if the family really knew what he was feeling. There are signs if you know what to look for. Some people are more sensitive than others, and some medical people are too wrapped up in procedures and their compensation to care about the patients.

    Too bad that Robin Williams didn't have a strong safety net about him; despair can be crippling.

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    1. D.G Hudson: Sometimes there are signs and signalls. Other people are more skilled at concealing their pain. And, as an actor, I suspect he was better than most.

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  18. What some people are afraid of here is that if someone who appears to have everything going for him can't deal, what hope is there for someone with much less going for them and this alone will lead to a rash of suicides. Also some tributes that say Now Genie, you are free shows suicide as liberating. But as you say, no one knows exactly what demons he was battling as this book had such a pretty cover..

    He was an exceptional human being that touched so many lives.

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    1. Sue in Italia/In the Land of Cancer: Yes. On the phones since he died we have heard from lots of people reflecting the view that if he can't cope, how can I? One tiny, hard won step at a time...

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  19. For some it is 'Just too too much' -
    EC that was a fine post dedicated to the man - not to all the things he had done but to the man, another human who suffered in the same way many many others have.
    Cathy

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    1. craniethie: Too much, too hard, for far too long. Which is sad and bad. And not rare.

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  20. Of course, as I have followed him for many years, I was well aware of his struggles as he never kept them a secret. What I wasn't prepared for was that he would allow them to win ... how desparate he must have been in the end and I feel so bad that, with everything and everyone around him, they couldn't reach him ... help him see another day as you so aptly put it. I almost always feel there is sadness behind the comic ... as comedy comes so often from tragedy. But in this case, the loss of this comic is the sadness, the tradgedy. He left us much to reflect on, but it will always be tainted by this sadness. Wonderful words EC ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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    1. Andrea Priebe: I am hurting for him and his family, but I am also hurting for so many other people in the same boat. Less famous people carrying similar burdens. And yes, how desperate he/they/we are to feel that anything is better than the pain we carry.

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  21. A comic artist, full of inspired nonsense, yet somehow the world makes less sense without him.

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    1. Geo.: Yes. And I can't help wondering how much it cost him to inspire us. Too much, obviously.

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  22. For someone that loved to feel that alone and hopeless is the convincing evidence that depression is a liar with the cunning of satan. It tells you that you are alone and this is the way it's always been and it will never change and twists the truth to prove it to you. It tells you that you are only hurting those that you love and that they will be better off without you. It tells you that death is the only way for your pain to end. Selfish? No, because when you are there you are there all by yourself. You can't see that there is anything to stay for.

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    1. Lisa: No arguments from me. Depression and its siblings fear, and anxiety and bone-crushing fatigue are soul suckers and very convincing liars. s

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  23. You've all said it so very well, that there's nothing I can add. Those black holes are always within falling distance, and most of us have felt their emptiness and terror to some degree or other.

    Thank you EC - I know the invaluable work you do with people who need help.

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    1. Alexia: Far too many of us spend time in the dark places. Easy to fall into and so very difficult to get out of them.

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  24. I was sad to hear he had died, then angry that it was suicide and he chose to leave broken hearts behind instead of getting help. Then I heard he had been battling depression for most of his life, right back to his school years and I'm amazed at how much he gave to the world in spite of that. It will be a sadder world without him, but I hope he is at peace now.

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    1. River: He gave an incredible amount - and I suspect the cost was equally high. The world is indeed smaller and darker without him but, like you, I hope he is at peace. Finally.

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  25. Very, very well said, EC. Thank you.

    Robin's death has touched my heart, and upon reflection, my thoughts have "come out" in my own blog post.
    I've been silent for too long...

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    1. Vicki: I have just come from your post. And am humbled and awed. Brave and profound - thank you.

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  26. Nicely said, EC. I loved Robin Williams. He was a very good man in so many many things he created and did in his life. Patch Adams is my favorite RW movie. However, I consider his death something like a cancer death. He fought the good fight until he couldn't. Takes nothing from him, in my mind.

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    1. Strayer: He was incredibly brave, and valiant and gave so much to so many. We owe him, rather than him us. Mind you, the fight was anything but good. Depression never fights fair. He did so well, for so long.

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  27. Well put, E.C. Robin will be missed, for sure. Being Bi-polar was just too much for him to bear, I suppose, and we can't hold that against him. During his life he gave much joy to so many.

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    1. Webster: He did indeed give a lot. Some of it incognito. I hope that if nothing else comes from his death we will learn to talk about the taboo subjects of suicide and mental health. Taboos which gain power hidden in the dark.

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  28. A good reminder to reach out to others as they may need our companionship and we may not know it. I just read about an Australian man who lived near a cliff in Australia and he prevented several hundred people from committing suicide by jumping -- he walked by and talked to them and then invited them to tea at his house.

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    1. Linda Starr: Don Ritchie was an amazing man. We are the poorer for his passing.

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  29. Simple, Profound. Beautiful.
    It is a big ask, but we still ask it of ourselves and others; just human nature.

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    1. Jaquelineand...: Sometimes it is a huge ask. Yes, it is human nature but I do hate that we beat up on ourselves and others when it become impossible.

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  30. A little too close in my soul and heart to make much of a comment EC but just know that I've been and listened, and am deeply touched by such a thought-provoking post.
    R.

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    1. Rose ~ from Oz: Thank you. I didn't mean to push on your buttons, and am grateful you came by.

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  31. And woe on the 'frontman' who called Williams a coward. I quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Oh, the mind, mind has mountains,
    Cliffs of fall sheer, deep, no-man-fathomed,
    Hold them cheap who ne'er hung there

    Those who have never had depression are in no position to judge others.

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    1. lynners: Cowardice? No way, no how. Thank you for the excerpt from Hopkins. I suspect he also spent time on the abyss.

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  32. Evidently he did wait it out over and over but like the bird, his little legs finally gave out.

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    1. Grannie Annie: It is no wonder he was tired. So very tired.

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  33. We spend so much time looking at a person's cover and not a person's pages...

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    1. Optimistic Existentialist: Too much time focused on the glitz and the glamour and ignoring the substance.

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  34. Depression is a horrible, horrible illness that people do not want to discuss. It is the loneliest disease.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: A horrible, soul sucking all encompassing illness. Which is strengthened by being hidden.

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  35. I've had Robin Williams on my mind as well. I guess he waited for the dawn as many times as he could. He is a perfect reminder that glossy covers/enchanted lives can hide so many ugly thorns growing inside.
    Peace to you. I know many of us for whom this strikes deep. Hugs.

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    1. River Fairchild: I suspect he is haunting many of us. And his experiences are too close to the bone for many.
      Hugs back.

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  36. Finding out about Robin Williams was such a punch in the gut, for many reasons. Of course it is horrible in and of itself-- reading about his depression, I can't even imagine what he has gone through, none of us can, and I feel so much for his family-- but also it brought up a lot of yucky feelings for our family with my brother-in-law's suicide last year. One minor positive outcome: people (here at least) are really talking about mental health and suicide, and they're actually talking about all those horrible stigmas and myths. Like, really examining them. Which is certainly a step in the right direction. Of course, it's too bad that such discussion must come from such a loss.

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    1. Raquel Somatra: Talking about it is a wonderful step. The possibility of good coming from unimaginable pain. For the sufferer and the survivors.
      I hope you and your family are ok(ish).

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  37. Your thoughts reflect mine... suicide is so tragic, those left behind struggle to understand their chosen parting and mourn. I've lost a close friend in chronic pain, and a grandfather with silicosis both decide suicide was their only hope of relief. So sad... mental illness is still a rather taboo subject in our rather wide open culture, and that is saddest of all, forcing people further into the shadows of life...

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    1. Madge Bloom: 'the shadows of life' is a perfect description. I hope that over time we will shine enough light into those dark corners that the shadows are banished.

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  38. That is so true. I wish he could have found hope in something, somehow. I'm guessing he did find that hope many times before...this time just got the better of him.

    There's a quote that says comparisons don't work because "we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." That says it all!

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    1. Stephanie Faris: It is so sad that he, and so many others, become exhausted after fighting battle after battle after battle.

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  39. The song Tears Of A Clown really sums this up. So many funny people are really depressed. Jokes hide so much pain. The only hope I have for his death
    ,besides hoping he is at peace, is that this makes people realize that depression is just as much of a disease as cancer, diabetes, etc. Hopefully this will make people think. Look at other people more closely. See the signs that people are giving. Not tell people to just get over it, etc, Easier ways for people to get help. I have also seen the awful comments. People take this as a lesson. Learn from his suicide!!! Try to see it in a different way. Not critize what he did. LEARN FROM IT. (not people on here as the comments have been positive). Take it from someone who was there and is lucky to be here now, sometimes the dawn is hard to impossible to see!

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    1. Teresa: Sometimes the dawn takes an eternity to arrive doesn't it? I too hope that this tragedy (which is reflected worldwide each and every day) does teach us. And encourages us to reach out and/or to keep going.

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  40. Yes. Amen. That's why there's no resolution in surviving the loss of a loved one to suicide. We want so desperately to go back to their last day, when they were still alive, and get them through to another and another.

    Blessings, friend.

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    1. Rawknrobyn: And guilt/grief/anger are such an ugly mixture.

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  41. It seems such a small thing, to just wait a few days, when you aren't in the hopeless place. It seems to me that every suicide brings back every suicide you've known. Now we learn he had Parkinson's. It's all so sad.

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    1. Austan: And when you are in that hopeless place it is a HUGE ask. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to live with depression. And costs a lot.

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  42. The pain of depression is not something I have personally felt, but someone very close to me struggles with it, so I have learned something of it. Here's to all those still paddling; may they see light sooner and more often. I wish science would hurry up and figure out what we need to know about brain chemistry and come up with more and better help for this terrible illness. Take care, EC. Wishing you less dark and more dawn.

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    1. jenny_o: Thank you. I struggle a lot less than some. MS eats my memory and it is difficult to stay down when you can't remember why. It is there - but usually in the background. It doesn't control me (often) as it does so many. And yes, more dawn for everyone. Soft, gentle, beautiful and hope filled dawns.

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  43. What a wonderful and insightful post. I definitely agree with you. Sometimes it's hard to wait for that new dawn...

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    1. ladyfi: Even knowing that it will come, it is sometimes hard.

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  44. The whole situation is so sad. I wonder if things would have gotten better if he just waited. Or was it so bad for so long that all he wanted to do was live but it hurt way too much.

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    1. ditchingthedog: We will never know - but do know he had been battling with mental health issues for a long, long time. I hope he is finally at peace.

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  45. Since I have found out that he suffered from the early signs of Parkinson's Disease, it makes more sense. I suppose he could just not face one more thing in his life.

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    1. Practical Parsimony: Adding Parkinson's Disease to the mix must have been frightening for him. One more thing in an already burdened life.

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  46. His was a particularly surprising loss to his fans who didn't realize... I didn't realize. To me he was a talented, funny actor. I didn't see past it. I'm sure those closest to him did, and I feel for them now. It's always a tragedy to lose someone, harder when it's by their own hand.

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    1. mail4rosey: I had always assumed (not sure why) that his laughter covered pain. I so hope he has found peace.

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  47. Well said. I spent 6 months of my life in a state of suicidal depression, but somehow managed to keep going. Something I've never regretted even though most of my life since then has been a struggle. Even though I've been there, I still don't understand how people give up. It's really sad when they do.

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    1. Jesusan: Welcome and thank you. How did you get out of that dark place? And does it come back when you are struggling? I suspect that some people become very, very tired and choose to slip away. Some of them way too early (for the comfort of people around them anyway).

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  48. Robin Williams was a brilliant man, so talented. His struggles were unknown to his admiring fans and Parkinson's Disease? I have seen what it can do. It takes away so much. And it exacerbates depression and reasoning. We can never know the depth of his depression.

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    1. Susan Kane: Not the depths of his depression, nor of anyone else's depression. And I have a friend with Parkinson's Disease and it is steadily stealing a lot of his life. And giving nothing positive back to him.

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  49. So sad. And those us of who know it know that all of the money and fame in the world doesn't make it any easier.

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    1. Riot Kitty: I suspect that fame makes it worse rather than better. And money can help - but certainly isn't the answer to many of the important questions.

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  50. I am so sad over Robin Williams too. I know for all intents and purposes... it looks like a suicide. But there is something nagging at me about the whole thing, still. There is a morbid detail that many people seem to have overlooked, or that I am overthinking about.

    They said that he was suspended by about 2 inches off a chair, his body in the sitting position. Well, if you were being hung, wouldn't you struggle? Wouldn't your legs be straight out? And only two inches off the closest surface, right underneath his butt?

    He was sober, and there was no note as far as we know. His wife saw him at 10:30 the night before, left the house at 10:30 the next morning without seeing him. I'm too cynic, maybe.

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    1. Furry Bottoms: I don't know. Just the same I would much, much rather it was his decision than anyone else's.

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  51. What a heartfelt post, and beautifully expressed... especially the analogy about water birds working so hard to swim "serenely" across the water. We rarely know what kind of struggles and pain another person may be enduring inside, even if he wears a smile on his face, so that's all the more reason to always try to be kind. It's such a shame that he gave up, but I hope he's finally at peace.

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    1. Susan: It seems he had been fighting for a very, very long time. Winning battles but not it seems the war. And yes, I also hope he has found peace. At last.

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  52. And the thing with feathers too. You know how upset I've been over his death. Knowing as I did the struggle he fought with over the years, the drugs he turned to in order to find a way through, I'd often thought he might leave us too soon, but had hoped by now he'd remain for the long haul. So it has winded me. The Parkinson's diagnosis adds another angle to it as well. For someone whose head is so full of words, who relys on their memory for stand up, films, just for being as quick witted as is expected of you....knowing you will lose that, and have your family watch you deteriorate, must have added to his inner pain considerably. Thank you for the post. Thoughtful, as ever. x

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    1. All Consuming: Yes, it is hard. I like the empathy which is pouring out for him and his family - and hope that it flows through to all the other people and families who are hurting in similar ways. Hugs.

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  53. EC, yes have just heard about the demise of Robin Williams.
    Am not now sure what to write about it. He was slightly younger than me - and yes, self was, once upon a time - involved in the "entertainment" 'industry'.

    Eventually, hopefully, after 20 years "out of it", am discovering "who i am".
    'Tis a long story EC. At this point of my journey through life - so many of my "friends" - the people that i "knew" throughout my life - both in the physical sense, as well as the 'philosophical', "knowing" that they were 'there', somewhere.

    Yes, EC, at some time in my journey though this 'life' - will, at some time - "kark it".

    However, while there have been times when self has thought about "dis-appearing" by my own hand - cannot do it.
    .
    Dunno why, really. No-one actually "depends" on my continued existence.
    Have just decided to 'hang about' for as long as it takes.
    .

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    1. Davoh: Welcome - and thank you. Some of us do decide to hang on, and others to leave. And the reasons are as individual as the people who own them. However, I do firmly believe that the lack of support and the stigma attached to mental illness of any kind push some people towards the exit.

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    2. TY, EC. Will have a think about it all, and try to write something on Womby's drivel. Am guessing that the most important concept is ... hope.

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    3. Davoh: Hope is powerful - but fragile too.

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  54. Hello, blog hopping and found your beautiful blog.

    Nice post.

    Please visit mine too and feel free to add comments.

    Thanks
    Rajiv
    www.magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.com
    www.magicalpresent.blogspot.com

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    1. Rajiv Sankarapillai: Thank you. I will be over to visit in a bit.

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  55. Hope is what we have to hang on to...life can be very deceptive and I have learned not to judge others lives or wish for their life. I will work on mine instead.

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    1. Donna@LivingFromHappiness: There is usually more than enough to work on in our own lives isn't there? In mine certainly.

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  56. You never really know anyone, even those that are close to you. We all have emotions and feelings and fears that even we are too afraid to acknowledge.

    Another tragic loss.

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    1. LL Cool Joe: Yes - to all of your comment. Thank you.

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  57. You took the words right out of my mouth, in fact I posted something very similar on FaceBook following Robin Williams death. What disappointed me most was the troll like behaviour following the news of his death, when did we lose the human out of our humanity? That saddens me most of all. xxxx

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    1. Kakka: I think some of the trolls are ignorant, and others are afraid. And hope (so very much) that as word gets out the ignorant trolls will learn. And that those of them who live in fear will get help.

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  58. Very well said - very true.

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    1. Jackie K: And the sadness is that it is a common truth - for so many of us.

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  59. Dear EC, your posting summed up my thoughts. But I'd add this that one of the reasons I grieve for Robin Williams is the realization that life had become so hard and dark for him that he couldn't imagine living this way any more and so he chose the unknown. The unknown then was better than what he knew. That thoughts makes me ache for all who commit suicide. That life is so bleak. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Not wanting to die necessarily, but wanting the pain to stop. And not seeing any other way. It is frightening, sad and far too common.

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  60. So eloquently put! I never thought about how hard those 'gliding' birds are paddling, and I forget that those around me are probably struggling too. I'm heartbroken about Robin Williams...just heartbroken. He seemed such a gentle soul and gave us so much. I feel so sad that he got so little back.

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    1. Debora: So many people are struggling. Unseen. I hope that if one positive thing emerges from Robin Williams death is an awareness of the issues he faced. And an awareness that he was far from alone.

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  61. We just celebrated the birthday of our friend who would have been 39 yesterday, if he hadn't decided to take his own life two years ago. We still miss him terribly. With the death of Robin Williams, i am reminded that sometimes people hang on for as long as they can... until they just can't. We beat ourselves up - wondering how we missed it, wondering what we could have done to buy him just one more day until perhaps things felt better. Upon reflection, perhaps we did... Perhaps he wouldn't have stayed quite so long without us. We'll never, ever know.

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    1. daisyfae: I suspect you are right and you did help him buy more time. The what ifs and the regrets are painful though. So very painful. Hugs.

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