Somber Thoughts

Late Monday, the world learned that Robin Williams had died, and it was a coarse, stark reminder of what real grief feels like. Because after hearing the news, I refused to accept it. It didn't make sense, and was clearly some terrible clerical error. As the news sunk in, the total weight of the loss welled up inside, as we took stock of what we no longer had: a boundless fount of energy, a true light of humour and wisdom and compassion was gone from the world. I won't bother doing the usual run through of his accomplishments, because everyone already knows them. And it was twice a tragedy. First, because he was gone, and second because he had killed himself.

This is a subject that I am woefully, painfully ill-equipped to speak on, so I'm not really going to try. I have had dark days, but even at the bottom of my personal umbra, I recognized that it would pass and that things would get better. The villain of depression is the lack of that perspective. From the midst of a true, paralyzing depression, there seems like there is no getting better. Everything looks equally black, in all directions, or so I've been told. It's a bitch of a disease, only too late and still misunderstood as a disease. And those that succumb to it, like Williams, are victims of its ravages.

I'm going to link to two pieces that deal with the issues of depression and suicide far better than I ever could, if only for the simple fact that the authors have lived through it: first is an essay from Cracked's David Wong essentially about Poliachi Syndrome, the notion that those who try the hardest to make us laugh are themselves trying the hardest not to cry. The second is Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half graphic telling of her own battle with depression, perhaps the best way I've ever seen depression described if only because it made me, for the first time, really understand what it was like. She managed to impart 1% of what it really feels like to be in the grip of this disease, and staggers the reader knowing that she and millions like her had to go through the other 99%. And that for some, like Williams, that 99% is ultimately too much.

Here are some additional suicide resources, which are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is available to help.

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Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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