Monday, August 25, 2014

Depression and Humour: Odd Couple

I am probably one of the many people in the world that is still reeling from the death of one of the most loved actors of all time: Robin Williams.  People have associated his death with a severe case of clinical depression, as he took his own life.  

Many people scoff at the term, depression, but you see here; we get mood swings, we feel sadness, we feel disappointed with continuous struggles in life. But depression is so much more.  Depression is a combination of genes, chemistry and environment and it is clearly a complex mental health disorder that does not spare anyone wealthy, prominent, or even successful.

I grew up fascinated with this gentleman; back in the days of "Mork and Mindy" where he became every household staple comedian extraordinaire. There is always something deeply profound and intense in the character of comics, Mr. Williams included. I have this premise that the funnier they are, the lonelier they could be inside. But they shield it so well with humor, irony and sarcasm. Studies have disproved this, I just happen to believe that because comics need to find funny and laughable materials from their own lives, that could seriously be very depressing.

The real crux of the matter is when does one hit rock bottom, feeling empty, and totally worthless, to take your own life? 

Earlier on in my life, I took off hurriedly away from a lifetime of clinical practice because the patient I thought we were gaining ground in our sessions together, took her own life right after Christmas. She was a teenager and a week away from being discharged. I could not wrap myself around what just happened, where I failed, where I went wrong, where I could have been better at? I just lost it. And much like Robin Williams, there is something utterly romantic about hanging yourself, because she did just that, too. Physically harming yourself to feel pain is unfathomable; the depths of which only the clinically depressed can relate with.

I was reading this book by Ned Vizzini, a gifted talent and a great writer. The Book's Title is "It's Kind of a Funny Story" and it has been made into a movie.

The Book (I reckon also the movie as I have not seen it) is largely based on the author's 5-day stay at the loony bin, and you're right; for clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. It is an honest, touching and really funny read.  But you see here, years after the book and the movie was out, sometime December 2013, Ned jumps off from his apartment building in Brooklyn. He was 32 years old.

I still don't get it. I probably never will as I already failed the first time. I just think there is so much tragedy around us and so much comedy.  Perhaps it is easier for escapists like me to just laugh at the tragedies.  What is not to laugh about?

Or maybe I just love life (and hate pain).  Or maybe because life is already too short for a lot of us to make it spectacular or make a difference. Maybe both Robin and Ned found the way to make a difference in their lives that it was just about the right time to make a wonderful exit. 

Nah ... there are a million ways to end a life, and to take your own is not in any way romantic, wonderful or even courageous. And the irony of it all, Ned ends his book repeating this 4-letter word again and again: LIVE.  Here's to Life!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 ... H.O.P.E.

Well, well, well, it has been three years since I took this therapeutic road of the Blog world. Not unlike most people I have met across the universe (copyright Lennon-McCartney) that took to writing, writing helps.

The few that have decided to keep on would have found out by now that given enough time, a working computer, a functional internet, a more intelligent approach rather than taking snapshots of food that you will eat or the shoes you will wear; the Blog world is a community of people who took to writing for widely diverse reasons. There are a lot of real talents with equal amount of honest to goodness crap. And I have come across all types. Not that I am complaining. It's rather amusing and I prefer to learn from both. Oh and did I mention that I have had the privilege of meeting real writers (as in book authors, fiction and non-fiction) from the Blog-verse and sheer geniuses in comedy writing? I am awed.

Since we have clocked in to a new year, there are a few things that I realized are compelling enough reasons to move me to post, again.

First off, if you are not stricken with a terminal illness and your Doctor has not given you a few weeks to rule the world, then you are not dying. BUT, the world is. It's cruel to have to choose which comes first. However, the odds are freaking me out.

Niagara Ice Falls
From what I have gathered, the options are rather few. You can choose to die of hypothermia (like right now, the cliche' hell freezes over has come true); get drowned, even swallowed by a storm surge # Haiyan; have a picnic and then caught in an overwhelming forest fire; have a fun time with friends trekking the mountains, then suddenly the world decides to shake and tremble under your feet you get buried alive at the earth's core wrapped ironically with your safety gear.

Second, because we are generations post-Roman civilization, we completely embraced the concept of law and order. We have a government. Or do we? Don't get me started on this. One word: useless.

Okay, so nature does not get you and you are smart enough to evade (or delude yourself) the idiocy of government leaders, but guess what? Look around you, no, not in the far distance, look nearby. A neighbour, a friend, a blood-kin, a stranger or all of the above, can just snap and lose it. What would you do if you are taken hostage by a completely deranged or even drug-induced individual who can't take Scenario 1 and 2 anymore? Depressed and hallucinating, he or she takes you to represent the sum of all his greatest fears and frustrations.

And because life can really be tough, you can get shot at whilst trying to get an education or watching a movie; or you can choose to hang yourself in your flat because the world is not cruel but people are; or because you are worry-stricken of what may cause your death, you die of ischemic heart disease.

You could have just been on your way home from work, or buying bread from your nearby Deli, or sipping coffee in that corner Cafe' reading over a good book. You could have been doing anything but you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but all that is irrelevant if shit happens, right?

What to do?
Don't get me wrong. I am not a proponent of paranoia. It does not help to think that all these scenarios are stupid if you have the luck of sliding in your shower and breaking your neck. that's beside the point. It just is, reality. It is almost downright comical that nothing seems to work: not nature, the world, government or the people around you.

And that my dear padawans, lead me to my thesis. Hold On, Pain Ends. H.O.P.E. There will always be better days. Not everyday but as frequently as you choose them to be. Live a day at a time and be thankful you survived 24 hours, unscathed, well possibly battle-scarred, but still alive. It does not take much to breathe in 86,400 seconds a day, if you are not counting. 

There's not much we can do about stopping nature from fighting back, guess why they called her MOTHER? Yeah, payback is a bitch. But we can take steps to try to prevent her from overdrive menopause if we are really serious and have the political will to sustain it. 

Government. We have the luxury of choosing our leaders. When I say WE, I meant all. Morons included. News flash: how many morons do you need to elect idiots to government? If there's a Bill on establishing an I.Q. and E.Q. prior to the right to vote, I will be on the lobby by dawn.

As a function of my anal military breeding, I have been taught to "scan" or in my Dad's jargon, "reconnoiter" (whatever that shit is) but it basically means, passively observe surroundings, people and possible threats. You may ask, threats to what? To anything. To my simple mind, it only means being a little cautious and perceptive. It's the 21st century, nothing should surprise you. Nothing. Or do we have to debate on this?

At the end of the day, it's simple. Nobody gets out of this life alive. Whilst you're at it, might as well have a great, safe and hopeful time. 

"When the sun goes down, the stars come out."

Like I said before, and I say it time and again, the darkest hour comes just right before dawn. Have a wonderful 2014 peeps!

Psst! Thanks to Agnes and Despicable Me.