Wednesday, August 13, 2014
is something I have felt I ought to be able to do, but somehow couldn't. I trained as a linguist; if anyone could write, you would think that I would be able to. I thought that I was condemned to translating other peoples' work, other peoples' ideas...that I had none of my own. Recently, though, I've been writing a lot, mainly haiku, but some poems, and the tentative beginnings of a novel. Very tentative.
I've been quite disturbed by the way in which the recent suicide of the truly gifted Robin Williams has been reported, so I wanted to share this. Those of you who have followed the blog for a while, know that I suffer from chronic depression, and that some of my work is around that. This is by way of an attempt to explain to people who just don't 'get it' for one reason or another, just what depression is like.
To Those Who Don't Believe In Depression.
I know you don’t believe that we’re in pain. Mostly because you cannot see we’re broken, The things that we keep hidden because we feelAshamed, inadequate, insufficient, lostIn a darkness you don’t seem to see,Mostly because you don’t know how to look.Or perhaps, you’ve never thought that it was possibleTo seem to be one thing, yet feel another,Both at the same time. And yet, it is.We can’t explain it to you; hell, we can’t explain it to ourselves.But it is as real as you are, to us, and though our bodiesAre not broken, we are in pain.How can we explain it? Did you, when you were young,Lose a cat, a dog, or even, perhaps, a person? RememberHow it hurt? Remember being told that the cared for oneHad gone away to heaven? And thinking that you didn’tUnderstand? Such pain, such confusion…but gradually, youFelt less and less, remembered less and less, and returnedTo your usually happy state… and life went on.Imagine that pain, intensified, confusion combined with the feelingThat it is all your fault, the way you feel, that this thing should be happening.Imagine it going on and on, for years and years, without improving; ratherIt just gets worse. And it is never forgotten, not for a nanosecond.
Perhaps, if you can imagine that, you can beginTo understand, to accept, above all, not to judge.That is all we ask for, we who suffer. It doesn't seem like much.
Personally, I thought Robin Williams was immortal, a touchstone, a miracle. Through his work, perhaps he truly is. His death is a reminder that all of us have demons. Some of us deny them, some ignore them. Some grapple with them and lose. Some gain temporary respite... but they don't often go away entirely. We don't know each others' demons... but we should try to remember that they are there.