I’ve resisted the urge to write for a few days, there are few people who would spur me to write so publicly, RW up there is one.
There is/was something about this man’s eyes, through all his laughter, through all his smiles, through all his exuded energy, there was still something there behind the mask. I saw it way way back when he appeared on chat shows over here and in a strange sense it gave me great hope. So many of his performances were of characters who had a sadness behind them that the world assumed that character had overcome, or turned to positivity, and as someone with a physical disability which affects my mental health, watching RW have that ballsey attitude of f-it, and get on with it and have fun and laughter and friends and admiration was a tremendous influence upon me. But I knew as he did, that the hurt was still there, the black dog was waiting to bark and bite.
Depression is a killer, it is unfathomable, it is sneaky, it is there always. A broken bone can be x-rayed to see if it needs strapping, plastering or screwing together, an infection can be blood tested and which drugs to take can be targeted accurately, an appendix can be ultra-sounded before key-holed and removed – but depression relies upon honesty, brutal honesty, language skills and interpretation, no wonder so many fall through the cracks when it has to rely on the most flawed thing there is on the planet, the human.
Here we have a man, successful in career, financially accomplished, gifted and talented, happy in marriage, with children steadfastly striding confidently into their own worlds. That all sounds ‘up’, but it can also be down. He was reaching the age where he changes from striver and decider to advisor and second/third/fourth opinion, as is the passage of time, you turn around and realise you’ve become your parents which moves to grand parent. He had had heart issues, that has to be scary, the body can work well with some of its bits missing but the heart has no spare parts. It appears that age related potentially debilitating illnesses were heading his way, scary, how hard will they hit and do you have fight to fight enough. Never compare yourself to others, they are not in your shoes and you are not in theirs.
All this drip feeds into the monster that is depression.
Fighting depression is like holding a door against a wall of water, the effort is never ending, there are days when you put your back to it and still water leaks in from the edges, some days as hard as you try, trickles invade and then there are the times when the door pushes you across the room and you drown in the rushing waters. Time to start swimming, kicking, fighting but the resolve may not be there.
It is so sad that his spirit and resolve could fight no longer. For more than thirty years this man’s effervescent jets of brilliance bolstered me – thank you Nanu-Nanu.