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The dirty dogs of depression

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And so once again the dirty dogs of depression, anxiety, sorrow and sadness have left their lair and pulled down another stray from the pack.

Robin Williams is dead. We now all know that. But what we all have to realize is that people who are in pain simply want the pain to go away. If we have broken bones we want the pain to stop. Most often it usually goes away. Broken hearts sometimes heal. But a broken mind can hurt forever.

Mental illness may be helped through counselling, medication and hard work, just as casts help heal broken bones and time sometimes heals other wounds.

So, Robin Williams is dead. Apparently a self-inflicted death. One would think that a person such as him, with “everything to live for”, would be on top of the world. Not necessarily so. There are days, and nights, when the fear and loneliness sneak up quicker than summer turns to fall, and the afflicted fall deeper into despair’s unforgiving well.

However, there is always hope. James Ford is a Saskatoon man who recently endured a bout of mental disarray that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay.

Here is his reaction to the passing of Robin Williams: “In the summer of 2004, I was the Public Affairs NCO at the Penhold Air Cadet Summer Training Centre in Alberta. I was just getting used to my new diagnosis of depression, and getting used to Wellbutrin, which didn't seem to be working too well. I was far from home, and feeling very lonely.

In the staff cadet lounge was a DVD of the recently-released Robin Williams Live on Broadway. It was hilarious. Whenever I was feeling particularly down (which was often), I'd head to the lounge, pop in the DVD, and laugh maniacally for an hour. It always cheered me up.

I am grateful to Robin Williams for helping me get through a tough time in my life. His films were fantastically funny, and sometime devastatingly touching. He was a master of his craft, and I will miss him dearly.”

Robin Williams is gone. Let’s hope stories of his struggle and surrender will encourage others to speak out about their similar situation.

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