Depression: Robin Williams, Linkin Park and Me

Three years ago, almost to the day, Robin Williams killed himself. Long-term depression seems to have been a contributing factor.

Three months ago Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington killed himself. Once again, long-term depression reared its ugly head.

It’s a reminder of my own struggles with anxiety and depression.

After Chester Bennington’s death one of my readers, Bob, sent in lyrics pointing out that, “Some think the song ‘Heavy’ was a cry for help.”

I don’t like my mind right now

Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary

I’m holding on

Why is everything so heavy?

Holding on

So much more than I can carry

I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down

I’m moved by “One More Light” which tells of a life cut short. The song was written for a friend who died too young of cancer, but after Bennington’s death the words take on new meaning.

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?

Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?

We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep

There are things that we can have, but can’t keep

If they say

Who cares if one more light goes out?

In a sky of a million stars

It flickers, flickers

Who cares when someone’s time runs out?

If a moment is all we are

We’re quicker, quicker

Who cares if one more light goes out?

Well I do

Bob ponders,

I now realize that his songs were “journals” of his constant battle with depression. It’s sad thinking of people battling like that, being traumatized and fighting every day to keep their head above water.

He was talking to “us” all along, voicing his inner battles. He literally used his platform to help people thru his music. Very touching.

Here’s what I’ve learned  

I’ve gone the rounds with depression a couple of times in my life and I’ve endured at least three major bouts of anxiety — punctuated by moments of terror throughout each day, and accompanied by impulses for self-harm.

Since I’m shrink-averse I’ve never seen one. I wouldn’t recommend self-therapy for everyone and some people simply need medication. But my self-therapy has worked spectacularly for me. Here’s what I’ve done:

Meditation: Each day, right after I wake up I focus on my breath for 10 minutes. When I notice my mind is wandering I bring it back to my breath.

When I first began the practice it felt like I was “failing meditation” but the constant refocusing is the point — that’s what rewires the brain.

What works best for me is to begin by focusing on something that needs healing — my knees, or something. Invoking the placebo effect can’t hurt, and it really calms my mind down. So I typically do that for the first five minutes and then focus on healing my mind; letting things go.

Today it’s become very easy to let go of thoughts I don’t want in my everyday life. I’m a master at it now.

It’s a process. At first it took every bit of willpower to keep from being drawn back into the darkness. But what was once a mix of will and meditation grew to automatic letting go.

Ode to joy: I once heard that people who are depressed are not able to connect to joy. So every morning after I meditate I do an ode to joy.

I figure that if I can feel depressed and anxious about nothing, I might as well feel joyful about nothing too!

Laughter is actually powerful medicine, so I try to laugh everyday!

Even if you take meds, all of this can help!

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 10, 2017, in psychology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. my personal experience with depression has always revolved around wrong life choices. Mostly different types of addictions. I was always cross addicted. moving from one to another, starting one addictive habit in the hopes that I can get rid of the old one. Never really worked, They would eventually gang up on me. All of these people have been addicted to one thing or the other and depression was a symptom of that addiction. When you rape yourself, the body bites back in revulsion.

    I am sure that they must have had some scarring incidents in their childhood. my 2 cents…

    • Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.

      Both my depression and my anxiety usually come from trying to meet too-high expectations and then experiencing anxiety or depression when I can’t meet them. I have to learn to be easier on myself, too.

      There’s a helpful book called “The Four Agreements.” I actually didn’t like reading the book — it’s a hard read, but I discussed it with a group of friends and the discussions were actually really interesting. One agreements is “do your best.” I first interpreted that as “be perfect.” But that’s not what he meant at all. You can’t be perfect. But you can do your best. And whatever your best is will vary from time to time. You may not have the time, talent, energy to accomplish everything you’d like. Just do your best.

      • Both my depression and my anxiety usually come from trying to meet too-high expectations and then experiencing anxiety or depression when I can’t meet them. I have to learn to be easier on myself, too.”

        That’s me a lot, though I don’t usually have a hard time to be happy randomly or force it. I can get sad or depressed but not like that clinical sense. I think the chemical imbalance depression or post-partem depression women can deal with is definitely worse. But I can get negative very easily and it’s due to anxiety and tough time with coping with things not working out as I hoped or thought would. And yes, high expectations too, but I don’t like the thought of them being too high or for anyone to think they are. My ego doesn’t like that and it can create a chip on my shoulder as a result. I can create a burden having high expectations and being proud or ego driven. Then with the fact where it seems like almost every thing in my life where I felt like finally something I hoped for or wanted and had it, and then teased and don’t get it or taken away. Or a position you thought would be good and then stuff you didn’t know or changed after you already get the job and it’s worse now.

        And then you miss out on one that would have been good and would have had. Just so many regrets and like why there is anxiety which can create feeling depressed or hopeless and unfortunately what I call “guarded optimism). When something good comes up, instead of being excited, I will be very cautious almost wondering if something bad is going to happen or it not work out. You know kind of like how girls and guys can be guarded with their emotions if they’ve been burned bad in a relationship or relationships or heartbroken or hurt and take a long time to warm up again to someone. It can be like that for me with situations and stuff where guard my emotions because of previous let downs, failures and such have hurt me and I remember them. And because everytime I find something I would like it either gets taken from my grasp, one that I don’t like or something. It doesn’t help that I’m not the most patient person.

      • Yes, I have had some of the experiences you describe too. I’m trying to look at it differently now as a learning experience. I didn’t get what I wanted or hoped for but what did I learn from the journey? And what have I managed to contribute anyway? I’ve found it that helps me to be more positive. Thanks for sharing about your experience with this.

    • Yeah Chester bennington, the poor guy, was sexually abused by his uncle when he was a child. So sad. So I think that’ what lead to his very low self esteem, PTSD, which probably lead to recurring deep depression. Which leads or can lead to drug abuse. And stuff like sexual assault, rape and molestation, I think that can haunt a person for the rest of their life. So it is sad that he had to go through something horrible like that. Georgia I Think said she might being up a blog sometime about sexual abuse and effects and such.

      • Yes, since the anniversary of Robin Williams death is tomorrow I decided to write about this first and I will write more about the horrible effects of sexual abuse later, relating it back to the unfortunate and untimely death of this very talented man. Thanks for sending me some material on this Bob.

  2. Having depression is worse than having broken bones.

  3. This post offers so much incredible insight ~ from a band and comedian I both admire, to the words of this post to help understand the danger of depression.

  4. Oh I love your “self-therapy” techniques. While I understand they might not work for everyone, I do believe they could help a lot of people. Thank you for sharing!!!

  5. Great advice and I do believe meditation does help. Thanks for this post!

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