Tag Archives: robin williams

I feel kinda broken

This is a post about me. And, fair warning, it’s written off-the-cuff, with only a few days of thought behind it and no editing to speak of. We’ll see how it goes.

It starts with Robin Williams. I’ve seen a lot of talk after his death about a whole range of topics. About suicide, mental illness, depression, disability, the way society seems to believe that it’s better to be dead than to be disabled… all sorts of things. Many of them could make topics of their own. However, what I want to talk about is one little (huge) thing that came up on my facebook feed, and the comments generated.

Basically, someone posted about looking at old pictures of Robin Williams, and seeing that he had “sad eyes.” Then there were several comments by people agreeing. That even in the pictures where he is smiling, his eyes are sad.

… I don’t see it.

Now, I struggle with feeling broken and worthless a lot. I live in a society that is obsessed with work and view people who don’t work as… well… I’m not even sure what. Something very bad. Worthless. Broken. Having weak moral character. That sort of thing. My previous attempts to work tended to leave me screaming and bashing my head into whatever was nearby, so I don’t try anymore because I don’t want to wind up like that anymore. I hope someday to try again, but I will need to be VERY careful. Because, you know, of that screaming and bashing my head thing. So I try to not feel like a broken human being and sometimes it’s really difficult but I get by.

This, the failure to see his sad eyes, has left me feeling like I’m broken. It hit me SO HARD. I’ve looked at pictures, and I’m trying to see what other people see, but I can’t figure out what they are looking at. So I asked facebook to see what kind of answers I’d get. The first couple of replies were heartfelt and genuine, but completely unhelpful to me. One reply was more about a “whole picture” thing, and another talked about no longer seeing a “spark.” What is a spark in someone’s eyes? I mean, a spark is what you get with electricity, or hitting flint and steel together. I do not know how to translate this into the metaphorical eye spark that people are talking about.

I want to know where it is. Now, I know I don’t see facial expressions the way NTs do. I get that. I know that it’s hard for me and I only seem to see expressions in crude, simplistic ways. I try to compensate the best I can, be open about it and ask that people be direct with me, and otherwise just live with the way I am. This is one of my difficulties. But again, this time… it got to me. It got to me a whole bleeding lot.

Eventually I did get a reply talking about muscles in various areas of the face and THAT was way more helpful. I’d need assistance to learn how to see it or not, but at least it is the direct, literal expression that people are seeing, which they translate into “sadness” or “spark” or whatever else. This is why it can be so difficult to get help – most people aren’t even consciously aware of what they are seeing or how they are translating it or the fact that what they express is a metaphor. So when I need something in terms of muscles and skin, people struggle to help.

They don’t see the world the way I do.

I’m different.


Filed under personal

Depression is a deadly illness

As I am sure everyone knows by now, Robin Williams died from depression yesterday. The internet is abuzz. I feel some need to contribute, but everyone is so articulate already, but by the time I would have the words to be articulate myself everyone will have moved on to the next thing. So I am going to try to say something, even though I don’t have the words yet.

I have thoughts. Thoughts about how depression is a deadly illness that we need to take seriously.

Thoughts about how I am heartened and surprised by the outpouring of compassion I am seeing, when I am so used to seeing the opposite when it comes to dying of depression.

Thoughts about the problems inherent in our “battle” metaphor of illness, and how those problems can be really thrown into sharp relief when it comes to mental illness, depression, and dying of depression.

Which leads into thoughts about the words I don’t want to use, like “losing his battle with depression.” The metaphor is all wrong, but I can’t articulate it yet.

Thoughts about death and grief and the nature of loss, and how public loss and private loss are different but not really.

Plus a smattering of frustration that it really does take me a while to find the proper words to express my thoughts, and everyone else seems so much faster than I am.

Maybe some of these thoughts will turn into blog posts eventually, who knows. Right now, this is the best I can do.


Filed under issue