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Robin Williams, Depression and What That Actually Means

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posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 10:15 PM
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We like to think of mental illness as a noun. It’s a “thing” that happens to people. In doing this, we concentrate on the mental or cognitive representation of what were actually referring to. This is overall the main problem with language: we get lost in the superficial level of the symbol and forget the underlying subjective reality it’s meant to refer to.

I just watched an interview between Don Lemon and the actor Todd Bridges, who was on to discuss the stigma of mental illness. The interview itself demonstrates what the problem is. When people who deal with mental illness describe their experiences with mental illness, they often experience feelings of shame and anxiety while they talk about it. This results in a change of feeling state for the listener. As we all know, it is painful - jarring - uncomfortable - to listen to people who feel stressed, anxious, or shamed. There’s a pure mirroring occurring. We “pick” up, as if by infection, their emotional or energetic state.

When people feel the need to avoid talking about mental illness, its because of this: how they feel when they talk about it. And by implication, the person they feel themselves becoming when they feel that way. It is human instinct to seek aslyum from negative feelings: they jeopardize the mental feasibility of the organism, just as animals adapt to conditions in their environment, an animals consciousness adapts to its conditions of social and emotional experiences.

The problem is, people aren’t aware of this. Something called “dissociation” happens to them. So, from the example from before, listening to Todd Bridges talk and run on while Don Lemon was moving to ending the interview - and kept talking - this is what it means: to accept HIS vulnerability, as not simply his - but as something inherent to the human condition - to being human. In short, Todd Bridges anxiety is our OWN anxiety. To avoid the experience of vulnerability - his own, and OUR own to the image of him feeling this way - means we wont effectively be able as a society to discuss mental illness.

Discussing mental illness, from the get go, should extend from a common understanding that WERE ALL VULNERABLE to it. This pretension we put on about ourselves as invulnerable to the whims of life - to the changes that could be - is self destructive in the long run, as it denies the fact that were all subject to the same realities, conditions, and pains that may emerge. Caring about one another means accepting our vulnerabilities, and as Dan Siegel once put it, to show kindness means to honor one another’s vulnerabilities.

I feel sad that Robin Williams, the depressive, the man who was vulnerable to this experience, couldn’t feel the extent that he felt that way, and didn’t feel ok to share that experience publicly. I don’t know Robin Williams, but I suspect he tried to hide that part from himself. He wanted to push it away, had trouble integrating it. And my saying this is in no way shape or form meant to belittle the genius that was Robin Williams. Rather, it’s meant to highlight the context he lived within: our society. And his response to his own experience of depression is embedded in a larger relational context that each of us are subject to.

Mental illness is not a noun, but a verb. It is a process. It is US, who we are, and feel ourselves to be, from moment to moment. It is how we think in social situations - what we do - how we adapt. Mental illness is an experience. To even talk to someone with mental illness means you will have to SHARE, at some bodily level, the nature of that experience.

I truly do hope that the death of Robin Williams can inspire our society to deepen our exploration into what it means to talk about mental illness. And by doing so, we can sanctify Robin Williams final act: only a man of his comic and dramatic genius could inspire such a inward reflection on what it means to be human.
edit on 13-8-2014 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 10:31 PM
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Have you seen some of the discussions on ATS talking about this subject?? It's a prime example if why many people do not share. I will not link any threads, but you can find them pretty easily. I agree with you. One would hope that it would be a time to educate instead of further stigmatizing, but alas... for many it is not. We still have many "Get The F$&#% Over It" people in the crowd and untrue stereotypes abound.

Nobody commits suicide because they just didn't have anything better to do. Nobody commits suicide because they lost their job, or their wife. That may be the straw that broke the camel's back, but it is not done for mundane reasons when you look at the whole picture.

I do hope his death will at least let some feel like they can now come out and seek help on their own or open up a conversation between some that may have needed to take place for a really long time.

I would like to think that there would be some kind of benefit to such a tragic loss.



posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 11:11 PM
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This is not the face of a happy man to me. He looks so lost and distant.

Is this what story his face told when people weren't looking?
edit on 12-8-2014 by tinker9917 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 11:11 PM
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This was very eye opening, thank you.

Imagine working hard your whole life to be the best in your field only to be spit out years later. He was an extreme talent which allowed him to remain "relevant" as long as he did. Most dont. The Hollywood machine is pretty unforgiving as is our society.

Robin, you will be missed brother. I hope you found peace...



posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe

I think if you read those threads you might come up with the idea that instead of some people saying, "Get The F$&#% Over It", what they are actually saying is stop making depression into something that separates you from everyone else, because we all suffer from it.



posted on Aug, 13 2014 @ 02:15 PM
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No, everyone doesn't suffer from it. While everyone has bad days when they're down in the dumps, that's not depression! You think it's no big deal, we all have it. That is BS! It's a debilitating disorder that can't just be shaken off. You need to educate yourself before you make such flippant comments. I tried for most of my life to act as if nothing was wrong. I ran on pure will power. I finally found that will power is not something that comes with an endless supply. I've tried all types of therapy I've been able to access. I've been on all the medications available to me. I've even had shock therapy. None of these things have resulted in total relief and whatever relief they did provide has been temporary. It's not something everyone gets (thank goodness). You've obviously never been diagnosed with clinical depression. You better pray that you never are.a reply to: BasementWarriorKryptonite



posted on Aug, 13 2014 @ 02:39 PM
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The easiest way I have tried to describe Depression, or perhaps I should say explain.. is to put it like this...

If you break your leg you put it in plaster..
If you have a headache you take painkillers..
If you have an enflamed appendix you get surgery..

Now, what if you imagine all those things and the associated pain but it's inside your mind and there is NOTHING you can do to relieve it? Imagine that for a moment... no, it's not physical pain but it's still pain and it wont go away, you can't escape.. wherever you go it is there, the moment you open you eyes it is there and it prevents you from sleeping later on. It drains you of energy, empathy, willpower, creative drive, motivation.. everything you are.. it drains it away.

..and there is little you can do about it.



posted on Aug, 13 2014 @ 04:18 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Astrocyte I wonder...are you a psychologist? A Psychiatrist? Or a sufferer?? Why do I ask? Well because as a person with mental health issues I read your post and it made so much sense!

Mention having mental health problems to "the man in the street" and you tend to get one of two reactions. Either "get over it" or they "back away" from you. "Avoid the psycho" kind of reaction.

Why do people commit suicide? Well to THEM they have no other option. THEIR life, THEIR circumstances leave them feeling that the only escape is the option of suicide. To others the situation this person was in may be so easy to solve, so easy to live with but in a troubled mind you don't see this. All you see is pain and suffering. There are NO solutions, NO answers...the suffering will just continue and can you take it?? We all have our "limits".

If yet another person who appears to have it all finds death preferable to living then surely its time for everyone to take mental health problems more seriously.

At least people like Robin Williams ONLY took his own life...others choose a different more publicly destructive route!

I hope this post made sense...if not, my excuse is that i'm on can of lager number 8 as thats how I currently cope with MY problems!



posted on Aug, 13 2014 @ 08:14 PM
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originally posted by: Oudoceus
No, everyone doesn't suffer from it. While everyone has bad days when they're down in the dumps, that's not depression! You think it's no big deal, we all have it. That is BS! It's a debilitating disorder that can't just be shaken off. You need to educate yourself before you make such flippant comments. I tried for most of my life to act as if nothing was wrong. I ran on pure will power. I finally found that will power is not something that comes with an endless supply. I've tried all types of therapy I've been able to access. I've been on all the medications available to me. I've even had shock therapy. None of these things have resulted in total relief and whatever relief they did provide has been temporary. It's not something everyone gets (thank goodness). You've obviously never been diagnosed with clinical depression. You better pray that you never are.a reply to: BasementWarriorKryptonite



Yes, when someone is 'down in the dumps' - it is depression. You, like a whole bunch of other wah wahs on this thread and in the world, just want to claim it as this evil beast of a mental illness and keep it to yourselves as the mysterious creature you want it to be, because like that you can claim that nobody else understands it.

You know what? Most people do understand it, so instead of alienating themselves, people who suffer from severe depression can now cope with it better, because they can share it with everyone else and know it is well understood to be common.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 03:21 AM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

I suffer from depression myself so I can identify with poor Robins problems. I also had two of my friends within the last 2 years commit suicide, one by hanging himself(36 years old) and the other by overdose(32 years old). Both were funny dudes that always has something hilarious to add to our conversations.

They will be sadly missed yet never forgotten just like Robin i imagine.


R.I.P
edit on 14-8-2014 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: BasementWarriorKryptonite
Trained in psychology have you?

Most people 'think' they understand because they suffer from 'the blues'.

It's a very sad reality that the only ones who understand what depression actually is are those that are suffering.

I could say to you, you know what, I know exactly how you felt when you got that present off your grandma on your 5th birthday. Would I be right?

Don't say I understand how you feel, how could any one understand how another person feels? You can guess or appreciate it from a similar experience but you can never ever know how someone feels.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 12:08 PM
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a reply to: Mister_Bit

Nope. The people who think they are the only ones suffering from deep, dark depression and that the world doesn't understand it have other issues going on - not depression.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 12:10 PM
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originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite
a reply to: Mister_Bit

Nope. The people who think they are the only ones suffering from deep, dark depression and that the world doesn't understand it have other issues going on - not depression.

Please explain those "other issues"



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 12:17 PM
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originally posted by: Mister_Bit

originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite
a reply to: Mister_Bit

Nope. The people who think they are the only ones suffering from deep, dark depression and that the world doesn't understand it have other issues going on - not depression.

Please explain those "other issues"


Stop blaming depression for everything. Depression is something every single one of us experiences. Every single one of us will lose the plot and spend days on end in bed.

I am appalled that some people cling to the weak assumption that they are the only people on the entire earth who suffer from depression and that nobody else - oh, nobody else! - could possibly know how they feel.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 12:19 PM
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originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite

originally posted by: Mister_Bit

originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite
a reply to: Mister_Bit

Nope. The people who think they are the only ones suffering from deep, dark depression and that the world doesn't understand it have other issues going on - not depression.

Please explain those "other issues"


Stop blaming depression for everything. Depression is something every single one of us experiences. Every single one of us will lose the plot and spend days on end in bed.

I am appalled that some people cling to the weak assumption that they are the only people on the entire earth who suffer from depression and that nobody else - oh, nobody else! - could possibly know how they feel.
Why so angry? Why so threatened? I simply asked you a question.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 06:43 PM
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originally posted by: Mister_Bit

originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite

originally posted by: Mister_Bit

originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite
a reply to: Mister_Bit

Nope. The people who think they are the only ones suffering from deep, dark depression and that the world doesn't understand it have other issues going on - not depression.

Please explain those "other issues"


Stop blaming depression for everything. Depression is something every single one of us experiences. Every single one of us will lose the plot and spend days on end in bed.

I am appalled that some people cling to the weak assumption that they are the only people on the entire earth who suffer from depression and that nobody else - oh, nobody else! - could possibly know how they feel.
Why so angry? Why so threatened? I simply asked you a question.



I take umbrage with the claim that only some people are capable of being severely and chronically depressed and the line spouted that nobody else can possibly ever know how they feel.

Because this is simply not true.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 09:48 PM
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It looks like there is a disturbing trend among 35-64 year olds: suicide....

Suicide rates for adults aged 45 to 64 rose 40% from 1999 through 2011,according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The suicide rate for these middle- to late-middle-aged adults is higher than any other age group, including youth and the elderly, according to an analysis by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

online.wsj.com...

Social isolation, economic woes, increasing health concerns....could all be factors.
And given the stigma surrounding depression and mental health.....who wold seek help???



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 10:22 PM
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a reply to: DontTreadOnMe

There is hardly a stigma about depression that isn't self-induced. The reason people think there is one is because people say there is one.



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: souljacker

I've dealt with mental illness (or pathology) for most of my adult life (relational trauma) and I have a degree in psychology.

I'm not a big fan of the term "mental illness" as it implies that there's a special "category" of people that it describes; as if "one" day you're mentally "healthy" and the next day you crossover into the category of "mentally ill".

In reality, mental states lies along a continuum that can only be defined - in my system of thought (relational/interpsonal) - as "integration". The more defenses you have, the more dissociation you engage in, the more troubles you will have in your relationships with others. For someone such as this, the diagnosis might be a personality disorder like borderline. Or, conversely, you're dissociative processes incline your mind to ruminate on negative self experiences; the persistence of negative affect (feeling) in your body. Dwelling on negative emotions. From this we could use the term "depression".

Most people to one degree or another engage in unconscious defensive strategies so that they wont have to experience negative affect i.e. shame, anxiety, fear. But not all people experience what I would term "pathology": a rigidified psychosociobiological process which sustains a negative sense of self, bodily experience (emotions) and relationships.




Why do people commit suicide? Well to THEM they have no other option. THEIR life, THEIR circumstances leave them feeling that the only escape is the option of suicide. To others the situation this person was in may be so easy to solve, so easy to live with but in a troubled mind you don't see this. All you see is pain and suffering. There are NO solutions, NO answers...the suffering will just continue and can you take it?? We all have our "limits".



Completely understand your anger. THEIR being the key attitude - orientation towards the problem. And why? Because it makes them FEEL weird - awkward and uncomfortable in their physical bodies; forces them to address a reality that seems to them - separate, existing in the mind of "another" person; but the reality is mental illness in one mind is a consequence of RELATIONAL forces within that individuals reality. If you examine the process from a systems perspective: society is implicated. YOU - the other talking or relating with this other person - can either help or hinder how that person experiences their self.

People don't want to admit this because it does require some reasoning to accept it. A mature mind accepts it because not only is it reasonably proven - but it is intuitively felt: of course! its obvious that we are all one. The religious and spiritual sensibility derives from this awareness. But for people who have been trained by birth in a social and economic systems that advantages self over relationships, that fact is DISSOCIATED: unconsciously separated from self awareness and experience so that what appears to you, and me, as so obviously true - factual - appears to them as meaningless.

And the sad reality is, by not responding or acting compassionately towards someone who is struggling can make their experience so much worser. A mature, enlightened mind, accepts the responsibility that comes with the awareness of that fact. Accepts it, and, bravely takes on what life is throwing at it: yes, a depressed guy. Yes, a traumatized 35 year old. Yes, there's shame, I feel it. I see it in him and I am feeling it in me: do I feel shame? A mature mind stays with these emotions - doesn't dissociate them, but accepts them as facts of it's experience: of how life is. And despite the trouble it causes, it arouses compassion for the person. It allows you to access depths of awareness and understanding and EMPATHY towards the other that truly helps you in doing what you need to do to help them. When you're really attuned, your body guides you. You tolerate the breaks: the awkward moments, the anger, frustration, and annoyance, until it gives way to openings in relational dynamics; you guys are laughing. And you sense he's loosening up. You take a more open approach. He is talking more openly and more ably, etc.

We take ourselves too seriously. Our identities - our own - what we see in others. From early on in life we train our child in this mistaken worldview: you are how you are. While thats true it's also simplistic. Being can come in an infinite number of ways. And no consciousness with a normal working brain is inherently limited to only "one" way of being; whether that be depression, anger, social insecurity. Being is defined (or strongly influenced) by early life relational patterns. The choices you have of "how I want to be" are predetermined by those events. However, once consciousness catches on to how it's been living, it can IMAGINE other possibilities of being. That's really all it takes. Imagination. But imagination is constrained by dissociation: which causes the mind to "focus" in on one reality, or appearance of reality, excluding other possibilities - self states - from cognitive representation. Healing involves expanding our range by exploring, through creative acts, talking, drawing, writing, other ways of being. And really, this abilities of awareness -cognition - emerges from an attitudinal shift towards the internal object: the self state you want to disown.

In the end, as the Beatles accurately said, all you need is love. And by love, I mean acceptance. And by acceptance I mean a compassionate awareness towards the object of your perception. Anytime we push something away - an experience of ourselves - we throw our internal world into a miasma of fragmented artifacts which nevertheless influence consciousness by dissociating - projecting - through affective experience, how we really feel - or want to express, but can't.



posted on Aug, 18 2014 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: BasementWarriorKryptonite



There is hardly a stigma about depression that isn't self-induced. The reason people think there is one is because people say there is one.


No that's incorrect. Not only stigma but straight out discrimination. If you doubt this try getting life insurance after being diagnosed with depression.





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