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In The Aftermath

One of the things that has come to the fore in the wake of Robin Williams’s suicide is an open, wide-ranging discussion all across the interwebs of mental illness in general and depression in particular, much of which has been profound and thought-provoking.

Although Williams’s wife released a statement yesterday assuring the public of her husband’s sobriety, along with the previously undisclosed revelation that he’d also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, shed a little new light on what may have led to his untimely demise, it’s my personal hope that if anything good can come from the overwhelming sense of trying to understand what he was going through, it’s that it may lead to breakthroughs in our perceptions of depression moving forward.

With that in mind, here are some links to an article and two blog posts I was alerted to in the past few days that I thought might interest you, as well:

  • First and foremost, those of you with access to The Disney Channel might want to know that they’ll be running “Aladdin” at various times throughout this weekend. Given that it’s always been not only one of my favorite Disney cartoons but Robin Williams performances, I’ll definitely be firing up the DVR and watching it again soon myself. See the info. about times/listings here.
  • Annabelle Giles, a British celebrity I was heretofore completely unaware of, has written incredibly apt descriptions of what it’s like to be depressed, and what friends and family can do to help their depressed loved ones, on her personal blog – see it here.
  • In a post which reflects something closest to my own experience, Marc Lewis writes what he sees in Williams’s struggles with addiction and depression on his blog, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, here.

Finally, all of this will be further discussed in the third and final installment in my series of personal posts, “Bodies in Motion”, coming next week. In the meantime, I wish a peaceful weekend to us all.



O Captain, My Captain

A lot has already been said, discussed, and written about Robin Williams’ addictions, depression and death, and a lot more will be, no doubt.

Me? For many people of my generation, it’s so terribly strange to realize that such an integral fixture, who we’d come to depend on for glimpses and vignettes of genius the way we depend on air,  has gone away from us, and in the saddest, loneliest way possible. My heart aches for what his pain led him to, and now for his family, friends, and co-workers and peers in their grief and loss.

And since I heard about his passing yesterday afternoon, I’ve thought an awful lot about depression and what it means to get to a place inside where the strongest instinct a human being has – the will to survive – becomes overridden by a desperate need to end their life, and I’ll have some more to say about that in time, too. 

But…right now? I don’t want to ever forget Mindy finding Mork inside the egg-shaped spacepod from Ork crashed on her front lawn, and then, after they’d moved in together and fallen in love, when Mork gave birth to Jonathan Winters - Williams’ comedic inspiration from his childhood - their bouncing “baby boy”. 

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Another New LifeRing Meeting – In Antioch, CA!

In addition to a 12:00 Noon meeting held at Kaiser CDRP in Antioch, California (see here for more information), LifeRing is pleased to announce another, new meeting in Antioch, beginning Monday, August 4th:

When: Mondays at 7:00 PM

Where: Kaiser Sand Creek/Antioch Medical Center, 4501 Sand Creek Road, Room 1E, Antioch, CA 94531

Note: This meeting is being held at a hospital, therefore, Kaiser’s routinely closed days will not affect the room’s availability.

Convenor: Dale P., with beginning support from fellow convenors Bob D. and John D.

Contact Information: E-mail:  Home Phone: 925-684-2248  Cell Phone: 925-628-5160


Congratulations to Dale P.  - we wish you, your fellow convenors, and your future group members all the best!

Coming Up On the Blog Tomorrow…

Part two of “Bodies In Motion” – how things changed, changed, and changed some more as I embraced sobriety (and I’m ratting myself out here so that I will actually POST it) :) .

In the meantime, some food for thought for today:

Once You Make A Decision...


Pain Killers

Opiate addiction What can one say about the painkiller epidemic in this country? One has the sense that it’s really  not all media-driven hysterics, that there’s something to it based on their own anecdotal evidence. It’s  been reported (although never confirmed), for example, that pain medication was the initial downfall of gifted actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. After a glorious 20+ years of being clean and sober, he had some  sort of painful injury and started taking medically prescribed opiates, and then, like a lot of others when  the addiction embers were burning but the fuel supply ran out, turned around and poured gasoline on the  whole damned thing when he got back on heroin. We know the rest of his tragic story.

I have members of my own family who’ve struggled with opiate addiction, one of whom was spending hundreds of dollars a month they didn’t have to buy the pills on the street they couldn’t get from any more of their physicians, and one who, like too many others, turned to heroin at a certain point because it’s far cheaper, easier to get and does a masterful job. Several friends of mine have seen the same things happening to their family members, some of whom are still using. Others are mercifully clean. One young woman, barely into her 20′s and full of the promise of a life well-lived, is no longer with us, her bewildered loved ones left behind with longed for memories of better days mingling with interminable grief.

A lot of people felt it seemed ridiculous to be so upset over Hoffman’s overdose death in light of the fact that he was just one of many who’d suffered the same fate, but then again, just as many of them thought he’d made the “choice” to end up the way he did, so hey – he got what he wanted/asked for.

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