“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams
You could be forgiven for thinking I’d lost a bit of my spark over the past few days. I’ve had a very difficult time putting IQs together in and around what has been a hectic family holiday.
To me, holidays are an opportunity to slow right down, rest, rejuvenate. I normally spend a little time on sightseeing activities and a LOT of time on self-nourishment – exercise, reading, naps, quality sleep, etc.
I have been busier on this holiday than on any in recent memory. The mix of sightseeing and self-nourishment has been reversed and I’ve really noticed it in myself and my peacefulness / together-ness.
My last IQ or two feel like they were rushed, and not some of my most considered work. I’m sorry for that.
So tonight – our last night of holidays – I’m staying up a little later to write this because it is important to me that you get a feel for where I’ve been personally over the past week. Possibly you haven’t noticed anything different – but I suspect you have at least felt like things were slightly out of whack.
In a way, this is one of my own little sparks of madness – the … ability? need? compulsion? … to forego sleep in the interests of pursuing my art; and the deep emotional connection, and responsibility, that I feel for my work.
I’ve used this Robin Williams quote as a tribute to the man. As you probably have heard, he took his own life earlier this week, after a long battle with depression and some recurring drug and alcohol addictions.
It is an utter tragedy that such a talented artist, with such access to helpful resources, still felt that suicide was the only option.
It is also clearer than ever that depression needs less stigma, more awareness and understanding, and better options for treatment and prevention.
IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK.
IT IS NOT OK FOR PEOPLE IN THIS DAY AND AGE TO FEEL LIKE SUICIDE IS THE ONLY OPTION.
If you feel depressed, down, hopeless, bleak, excessively sad… Please talk to someone you can trust. See your GP, a psychologist, a counsellor, a mate, your partner, etc.
If you don’t know anyone, CALL ME AT ANY TIME. I’m not joking. My mobile phone number is +61 413 708 432. (That will work internationally or within Australia.)
I will gladly give up my sleep/time for you to make sure you know you are loved and worthy. That someone cares. That there are alternatives.
You have a unique little spark of madness – it is your personality, your creativity, your love, your energy, your passion, your art, your humour, your skills, your desires, your dreams, and so on.
That little spark is worth fighting for, and worth preserving. You are worth something just cos you’re alive, and I’m not willing to simply let more people opt out as a result of depression. One more depression suicide is too many.
When you’re depressed the world looks black, like the inside of a tunnel from which there is no escape. If there is a light at the tunnel’s end, it is the oncoming train of despair and hopelessness. All you hear is an endless looped recording of your own inner monologue, describing all your own failures and mistakes, all the things you should have done, and all the reasons why nothing will ever be fun or good again.
It is a sinister illness that leaches the joy and pleasure from every day, leaving you a withered husk of a person, curled on a ball in the corner of your life, unable to get up or participate. Often it leaves you unable to even do anything to help yourself.
I know and understand all this, which is why I beg you to call me, or someone dear to you, if you are struggling.
If you aren’t ready to call someone yet, perhaps these might help:
Watch my webinar. Check out Beyond Blue or Black Dog Institute. Check out these TED talks. Check out these comics. Forward all this stuff to friends and family to help them understand what you’re going through.
Just take that first step of acknowledging something is wrong and that you want to do something about it.
If you’re feeling adventurous, come to Fluro Friday with me at Bondi, go to one near your home, or start your own chapter.
I want to help kick depression in the balls once and for all, by helping people understand how it works and removing the stigma. It’s time it was given the same attention and resources as cancer.
Rest In Peace, Robin Williams. May your spirit be free from suffering, and find comfort and light and true peaceful rest.
And you, please don’t lose your spark, and please DO reach out.