Here’s a lengthy and thorough article from the Yakima Herald Republic on Michael Botticelli, President Obama’s nominee for top drug control official. It’s a story many of us are familiar with at Club East, if for no other reason than from personal experience. Nevertheless, Botticelli’s story is concrete evidence that — for once — an understanding heart and a clear head are behind the wheel in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The latest issue of Psychology Today has a provocative take on what so many people have been struggling to make sense of in the past few days. I certainly don’t know enough to add to an intelligent discussion, but this writer certainly seems to know what he’s talking about.
What he died from was des-pair* (possibly the most life threatening part of depression).
And by des-pair I mean feeling utterly:
1. Hopeless – unpaired with a future that was worth living
2. Worthless – unpaired with any things you could do to take away some core feeling of worthlessness
3. Useless – unpaired with feeling you helped the world and/or unpaired with any lasting treatment that would take away your despair
4. Helpless – unpaired with feeling there was anything you could do to make yourself feel better in a lasting fashion
5. Meaningless – unpaired with feeling that anything you did mattered
6. Purposeless – unpaired with anything other than making other people laugh which wasn’t enough
7. Pointless – unpaired with feeling there was any reason to go on given the above.
Read the whole thing. This makes me want to know more. And it compels me to take a critical look at myself.
As someone who has dealt most of my life with depression, I think most people fail to understand it has virtually nothing to do with one’s success or security. Depression is frequently chemical and almost always has a component of low self-esteem, or emotional injury buried below the surface just waiting for us to get hungry, alone, lonely or tired. Something as simple as lack of sleep can trigger it. We are soulful, but oh so fragile. The humor makes us only appear stronger than we actually are. Alcohol and drugs make it worse even though too many people self-medicate with them.
All that just to say the loss of Robin Williams is grievous on so many fronts. It doesn’t look as though he did enough to get the help he really needed. It’s our loss, too, of course
P.S. — The best article I saw shared last night was a 2010 interview piece in The Guardian that was ostensibly about his newest movie at the time but ended up to be more about his sickness and sadness. With the unwieldy title Robin Williams: ‘I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust – that’s hard to recover from’, it shows a broken man longing for wholeness. A man desperate for love and laughs.
We lost a great guitarist way, way too soon. More importantly, this guy was moving forward on the healing journey. This audio of SRV at his AA home group — the Aquarius Group in Dallas on Jan. 1st, 1990 — is a great testimony of how he came out of the long, dark tunnel.