I thought we we done with the Robin Williams commentaries, but Pat Deegan just posted a great one.
There were public displays of affection. There were public memorials. Cries went out imploring the public to seek treatment for depression.
But my reaction was somewhat different. I felt angry that Robin Williams took his life. And I felt scared that, completely sober and without the numbness of narcotics, he killed himself. He finally said, “Enough” and then checked out.
To be honest, I felt threatened by Robin Williams’ decision to take his life. I reflected on that for a long time. Why did I feel threatened by his suicide? Eventually, I realized it was because I could relate to his struggle. Recovery is hard work. Treatment does not cure and is often not totally effective in relieving us of symptoms. Those of us with substance use and/or psychiatric disorders are challenged, each and every day, to make the choice to say “yes”. “Carpe diem”, seize the day, said Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society.
As I reflected on my reaction to Robin Williams’ suicide, I realized those of us making the journey of recovery are connected. Without even realizing it, I was depending on Robin Williams keeping his sobriety and recovery, to support my own recovery. When he kept going, it emboldened me to keep going. When he gave up, it opened up the frightening possibility that I, too, could choose to give up.
I do not choose to end my struggle, because my life is more than my struggle. I am moving forward in my recovery despite his choice.
The lesson I have learned through Robin Williams’ suicide is that we are all connected. I depend on each of you who are living your recovery. You give me the hope and strength to say “yes” to today. We are connected. Even though I may never have met you, I rely on you to stay true to your journey of recovery. I will stay true to my journey of recovery. Together we shall forge a life and fulfill our human potential, despite the pain.
3 thoughts on “We are all connected”
This was really powerful and moving.
Insightful. It reminded me that even sober life is difficult. Especially for people with co-occurring disorders (IMO-thats everyone).
Sobering up won’t fix every problem. There is disillusionment for those who think it will.
I am thinking of myself, but I also see sobriety thought of as a miraculous cure for a failing marriage in alcoholics spouses. Sometimes it is, but often not. it won’t make depression or the horrors of war go away. It only makes them more manageable.
The really sad fact about seeking traditional treatment for depression is that it very often does not work for extended periods of time. The toxic effects of medications eventually continues a person down the dwindling spiral. The same way that alcohol could not cure life’s problems, we found the same to be true for drugs and psychiatric medications – “Not the solution.” Medications work well for short term acute situations that is true. Of course the long term more sustainable methods are more natural and in alignment with our physiology, nervous system & brain chemistry — nutrition, vitamins, environmental medicine, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, finding ones life purpose, 12 step support etc.
Mark Wenzel — Mental Health Consultant (Mesa, AZ)
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