Black Dog and Robin

14 Aug

“In sooth, I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me; you say it wearies you.”
-William Shakespeare

As we write, stories about Robin Williams’ suicide are all over the news. No doubt Vanity Fair will do a piece about Williams in a future issue, and in a few years someone will likely make a bio-pic about his life (spoiler: it probably won’t be very good.) Perhaps it’s too soon for us to write about the late comedian, as there is much that is still not known. Some of the reports we’ve read state that Williams sought professional help for depression, a condition that Winston Churchill famously referred to as ‘my old black dog.’

We know something about Black Dog, having had it ourselves some years ago. Here’s a few of our observations about it:

  • Black Dog / Depression is not ‘the blues’. It’s a whole lot bigger and a whole lot scarier.
  • The most apt analogy for Black Dog we know is J.K. Rowling’s description of being in the presence of Dementors in the Harry Potter books.
  • It’s useless to tell someone suffering from the Black Dog to “Snap out of it”.  If they could, they would.
  • Ditto telling the person “You’ve got to fight it.”  If it was something they could fight, they’d be taking kung-fu lessons.
  • The best thing that anyone said to us during that difficult time was the woman who told us to to just keep thinking “This will soon be over.”  She was right.
  • We’re not doctors, but Black Dog is often the result of neurotransmitters in the brain getting out of whack.
  • Antidepressant meds take a little time to work, but they’ll kick in before too long. That’s why you shouldn’t quit taking them when you start to feel better.
  • Anybody at all can get it.

We try to avoid discussing stuff that’s kind of personal, but Willams’ suicide really got us thinking about depression.  We wish he could have hung in there a little longer (OK, a lot longer. )

If only it were this cute.

If only it were this cute.

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