Thursday, August 14, 2014

Selfish? I Think Not

I wanted to  begin this post by screaming,  "HEY STUPID PEOPLE, ROBIN WILLIAMS WASN'T SELFISH......" but I reconsidered because I know using caps and bold in the same sentence is not a good practice.

A strange thing happened to me last night that prompted this post.

I, my wife and my dog were out at the local park attending a free concert that the State Park holds each Wednesday ( my dog is partial to rock and roll but will listen to anything ) when what was a beautiful evening was ruined by the ignorance and stupidity of "an acquaintance" of ours.

About half way through the evening this acquaintance, suddenly appeared before us, and one of the first things she says is, "How about that Robin Williams?" I just assumed this was her awkward way of starting a conversation so I answered with the prerequisite " I know, very sad." As it turned out, she wasn't just making happy talk, her purpose of appearing at our feet like a jeannie out of a bottle was to spread her bigotry and stupidy over us like the blanket Rosie was laying on.

If you want to have me fully engaged in a conversation, say something to me like, " How could he have done that, he must not have loved his kids..." or something to that affect. As my wife and I calmly tried to explain out thoughts to her on the subject...."It wasn't his choice"......."Depression is a  sickness as real as cancer or any other disease" ......etc etc.

With each attempt by us to drain the stupidity out this person, she would look at us and roll her eyes, repeatedly saying she just didn't understand  "it". It, being depression, the word she was afraid to say.
When she finally exclaimed, "Do you understand why I can't understand this?"  I SPRANG FROM MY CHAIR, TACKLING HER..........
I'm kidding, just fantasizing for a second there.
My wife responded to her with, " No, I thought you were more intelligent than that."

Oh, and, did you know that all Koreans are bad people? I learned this also during my conversation with crazy lady.

Anyway, Katie Hurley who writes for the Huffington Post says all of this in a much more grownup manner then I can. "Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression." 
She goes on to say, "Until you've stared down that level of depression, until you've lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness... you don't get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won't help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others."

Robin Williams was a very funny guy, and even a better actor in my opinion.

He was not a coward. He had a disease. A disease that isn't understood by people like the like the lady who interrupted my evening in the park last night. 

The Huffington Post article is here, and worth reading, again, in my opinion.


Susie said...

Mark, I agree with you. First that Robin was a great comic and he is one of my favorite actors. Also what you are saying about depression. You can be in a crowd having a fun time and still be very alone. People sure don't choose to be depressed. The lady was having her opinion and she should watch making a judgement. We do not know what our own loved ones may do , ever. Serious pain from diseases make people do desperate things. Blessings, xoxo,Susie
P.S. my other two favorite actors are DeNiro and Hanks. I loved the "Awakenings" It had Robin and DeNiro.

Marilyn said...

Wow! Mark you have explained this so well. Good for you.

Karen Ann said...

You really can't fix stupid. It's very easy to judge another when you're not walking.. or sinking.. in their shoes. It takes an ounce or two of intelligence and compassion and maybe a little maturity that some 70 year olds don't possess to realize you have not a clue as to what their own personal hell must have been like in order to make such a drastic decision.

You were more tactful than I, friend. Good for you.

Joey said...

Ok - I love your wife...

Barbara/myth maker said...

Thank you for this post. I have suffered from severe depression for 20 years... better now with meds, but there is often that underlying thought that family would be better off without my troubles to worry about. I bet Robin thought that too. It is very sad. People don't "believe" depression is real... some of my own family members don't. It's a struggle every day.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Thankfully, I haven't run across anyone suffering with this level of cluelessness with regard to Robin. Yes, we have lost a great person, but I have to believe he's no longer suffering.

beth said...

superb! you did it again. a perfect post!


you should have physically tackled her :)

and to your wife…bravo bravo bravo!! unfortunately she was talking to the wall, but i'm still so proud of her!

nacherluver said...

I had so very much to say about this but my comment was turning into a lengthy letter so I deleted. No need to clog your comment feed. :)

I guess all I have to say is...
a lot of people these days seem to react out of ignorance, fear, or pain. (shit. I just started going on and on and on again and had to delete! I guess I should find someone to have this conversation with as I obviously want to talk!)

I have lost three relatives to suicide and my mother was in the hospital the day after Robin Williams lost his battle. She is severely depressed and was suicidal. My step-dad is dying of cancer. It's fucking hard.

Last year we lost our best police officer to suicide. He had seen so much and been very affected and struggled with depression.

Robin Williams passed away and it was shocking and painful and sad and... within 30 seconds I counted 8 people I know who lost their lives to suicide.

Okay... I just deleted another three paragraphs. I am going to stop here or I will go on and on.
I will close with Thank you to you and your wife for your compassion, understanding, courage and voice. Thanks for keeping it real and chipping away at the armor of ignorance that lady was wearing.