Back at Thanksgiving, I posted a thank you to all the people in my life who are there for me and make my life wonderful. I’m lucky to have the support network I do, and as I said then, I am happy to be there for my friends in any way I can, and to tap into that support network for them, too.
It’s been a sad week. I think everyone was sad to hear about Robin Williams dying, which is what prompted this post, but I also heard that someone who was a good friend to my brother for a while passed away in a tragic accident this week, leaving behind a young family, and there was also the tragic accident on the race track. And there was the young black man shot by police in Missouri, and of course there’s everything going on in the Middle East.
It is all so, so senseless, and tragedy always is. I shared a link to an essay on Facebook recently– it resonated with me because it’s about the fact that our lives are not stories. There is no narrative, no hero’s journey, no promise that we’ll grow and learn and become more or better because of the terrible things that happen to us or to those we love. It’s true, but for someone who loves stories as much as I do, it’s a hard truth.
But even so I think we have to find meaning in what happens to us – or really, in what we make of what happens to us. J.K. Rowling’s Albus Dumbledore was quoted recently after another tragic event, and thinking about meaning in life after tragedy made me think of another Dumbledore quote: “It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than abilities.” (Chamber of Secrets) There’s meaning in the choices we make, I think. But most importantly, they’re personal choices, and the meaning is personal, not a sweeping story of good and evil like Harry’s. Our choices are ours.
This is not the most linear post I’ve ever made, sorry about that, but to go back to Robin Williams – depression is terrible and not something that anyone should face alone. If you’re reading this and you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you – I’m no professional, but I’ll listen, and I’ll help you find someone who is a professional. If you need someone to talk to right now because you’re thinking of hurting yourself, go here.
There was a thoughtful post about living with mental illness and depression on the Toast, by Molly Pohlig, here. This is how it ends:
“I wish I had advice. Advice for me, advice for anyone else living through something similar. But maybe there are only two choices: keep going, or don’t. If you choose don’t, that could still be a whole range of things, it doesn’t have to be suicide. It could be quitting your job and moving home, it could be withdrawing from social life and spending every night and weekend in bed. Keeping going, just putting one foot in front of the other, sounds simple. It’s not. But it’s what I’m choosing. I hope I keep choosing it.”
For anyone who is struggling to put one foot in front of the other, please know that there are many people in your life who want you to keep choosing to do it.