Tag Archives: depression

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon…

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) passed away at his home in Marin County, California, leaving behind three children and wife, Susan Schneider. Initially, when I heard the news, I thought it was yet another bombastic, social media hoax. I couldn’t fathom how Robin Williams, one of the busiest comedians who was full of joie de vivre, could possibly end his life. Why would he do it? To all appearances, he lived a charmed life… How could he do it? He was loved by family, friends, fans and strangers. Oh no, not him. What could make him do it? Depression – that insidious mental health condition that leaves us with intense feelings of pain and sadness. It wasn’t a hoax and I am heartbroken. Robin, like many others who’ve gone down that path, could no longer hold on…

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done..."

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done…”

My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends who, like many of us; celebrities and ordinary folk, are reeling in shock over his sudden demise. Robin was a beloved stand-up comedian, actor, father, friend, film producer, and screenwriter. He was one of the funniest, most eloquent, and zaniest comedians of his generation; he always made me think and laugh. He was a consummate performer and a fearless man who wasn’t afraid to speak openly about his personal struggles with substance abuse … and depression. Robin had a huge heart, a generous spirit and a quick wit. I so wish he could have held on. RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for sharing your gift of humor with so many!

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.” President Obama

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon - A collage of some of his popular films

RIP Robin Williams: Gone Too Soon – A collage of some of his popular films

Even though Robin Williams won his Oscar for Good Will Hunting, my favorite roles were Mork & Mindy, Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and received one Academy Award for his  Best Supporting Actor role in Good Will Hunting. His other awards were two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards. He kept a busy acting schedule and had a number of projects completed and in the works when he died. His suicide brings back very painful memories for many of us and raises the question: What are we going to do as a community to battle this particular mental health condition? *If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)*  You can also get Help via NSPL.  As a teacher, Dead Poets Society held a special place in my heart and I share the below in his honor and memory.

O Captain! my Captain! By Walt Whitman
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

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Inspiration: The Movember Movement…

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 1994. I survived, but since then, over 175,000 American men haven’t. The good news is that this war can be won with a combination of early detection, treatment and a commitment to ongoing research.” Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Mustaches to go…

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Prostate Cancer cells…

Behind the Moustache: The Movember Story

The first time I read Bloggers for Movember, a post that Eric Robillard aka Le Clown of A Clown on Fire wrote as an invitation to the blogging community to join forces in raising awareness for prostate cancer and mental health issues, I was stoked. I jumped right in informing Le Clown that I was on-board, liked the Facebook page, and quickly added the banner to my blog. Then I read up on how the Movember movement started and was deeply impressed.

In case you don’t know, one auspicious day in Australia, Adam Garone, co-founder of Movember and a group of male friends “conceived the idea of raising awareness and funds to support men’s health and find a cure for prostate cancer.” In 2004, the first fundraising year, 450 guys raised $54,000 for the cause. By 2011, with social media exposure and increased participation, over 854,000 global participants donated, shared or  grew mustaches and raised $126.3 million USD. Is that magical thinking or what? This time, Le Clown would love us to add our voices and blog, share, grow a mustache, donate and help spread the word. Can you help? Read Le Clown’s 1st Movember post here.

“I appear at times merry and in good heart, talk, too, before others quite reasonably, and it looks as if I felt, too, God knows how well within my skin. Yet the soul maintains its deathly sleep and the heart bleeds from a thousand wounds.” Hugo Wolf

Inspiration: The Movember Movement… Depression. Painting At Eternity’s Gate by Vincent Van Gogh.

The Rules of Movember with Mo Sista Kelli

As I thought about what else to share, I realized that even though prostate cancer has not touched men I’ve met or known in my life, other forms of cancer and mental health issues have. Suicide has. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for males. When a dear friend commits suicide or falls into a deep depression after getting a cancer diagnosis, it is a mental health issue. When an untreated cough or pain in the groin is later diagnosed as stage IV cancer, it leads to a mental health crisis and much suffering. Cancer is an insidious disease so regular checkups and being attentive to health changes is imperative.

Cancer has also touched the lives of some of my female friends and family. Recently, a classmate and dear friend from my high school days, Remi Osholake, passed away from ovarian cancer. Her death was a painful reminder that more funding, research and methods of early detection are needed and that no one, male or female, even the healthiest amongst us, is immune. But we can do something about it. We can raise awareness, donate to the cause, and get the word out as a reminder to our friends, family and the world. Would you like to participate? Read Le Clown’s 2nd Movember post here.  More below!

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Reflections on Memorial Day: Of War and Peace…

In Remembrance: Men, Women and Children of War…

“Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth; Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth.” ~ Thomas Moore
“When we say “War is over if you want it,” we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we’d have peace.” ~ John Lennon

Memorial Day: Reflections on War and Peace

War: Weapon of Destruction ~ Nuclear Tests in French Polynesia

War & Lyrics ~ By Bob Marley

10 Commandments of Mother Earth By Ernest Callenbach via Humanity Healing.org***
III. Thou shall not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
V. Thou shall educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the earth when we live in harmony.
VI. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.

War and Peace walk in tandem; like two birds forced to feed off the table of good and evil wrought by man. When one sleeps, the other rises and the struggle to find world peace and balance continues.

Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday of May and dedicated to the memory of fallen American men and women who died in all wars and armed conflicts. Initially created to honor northern soldiers who died in the Civil War, it became a way to remember those who died in World War I, II and then all wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in the USA.

On Saturday, President Obama honored Memorial Day by speaking about Americans who died in service to this nation. In his speech, he honored “not just those who’ve worn this country’s uniform, but the men and women who’ve died in its service; who’ve laid down their lives in defense of their fellow citizens.” It was touching yet many families would like to see their loved ones home; our soldiers must come home.

Every year, we pause in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice – to give their lives so others might live. Each casualty of war or MIA leaves behind loved ones, family members, and memories of what could have been… Oh war, such dreadful deeds you cast across the ocean of life; such dreadful deeds.

“Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.” -Martin Luther
“The purpose of all war is ultimately peace.” -Saint Augustine

Biafra War: Child with Kwashiokor via Don McCullin - Biafra (1969)

Nigeria-Biafra Civil War: War is never Civil...

Courtesy TerritorioScuola

Ikenga ~ Songs at Sunset***

As a survivor of the terrible 3 year Biafran war, I loathe war. While we will be remiss if we did not honor the courageous acts of our loved ones who fought and lost at war, we must not dismiss but also honor the spirits of those innocent bystanders; mothers, children, sons and lovers, whose lives were sacrificed in the ensuing violence. Each life lost becomes a testament to the list of unresolved issues that led each nation to war.

The aftermath of war includes depression, a renewed sense of loss, disorientation, dislocation, permanent debilitating wounds, nightmares, and for many, indelible scars that lie under the surface of the skin waiting to break through like a pus-filled sore on a hot summer day. War is never pretty; even for all the glorified versions we get from Hollywood directors. War is ugly and maims the living as much as it does the dead.

I want this Memorial Day to be one of deep reflection for all of us; whether we buy into the notion/theory that war is not the answer or that a warring nation is a safe nation. Whichever school you subscribe to is irrelevant to me. It will not erase my childhood memories; the sound of whistling bombs flying by aimed at their target. It will not bring back the dead; the smell of burning flesh; massive destruction everywhere.

I am not here to judge but to heal… I want to remember the innocent children caught in the cross fires, permanently seared by bomber fuel and left for dead in collapsed buildings. I want to remember the mothers bereft of their husbands, fathers, sons, left to watch their children slowly starve to death as birds of prey linger nearby waiting to devour their remains.

I want to remember the innocence of young men and women who left for war whole and returned ravaged by the horror they saw; the horror they experienced and the horror inflicted on the enemy. I want to remember families left behind, holding pictures of loved ones, nursing broken hearts; the living dead. I want to remember every painful, poignant detail so I will never forget that the spoils of war are hollow; for the victor and the vanquished have both lost their heads.

“Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead! Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay, And violets o’er each unforgotten head.” ~ Richard Hovey

When Hunger Strikes: Remnants of factional wars via Mike Wells

The Upheavals of War = Afghan Refugee via Steve McCurry

Aftermath of War: Potential loss of Manpower...

In the midst of war, there are always pockets of hope. This hope keeps survivors fighting to stay alive. Hope comes in many forms; through God’s miraculous moments, the kindness of people and opportunities to heal. Hope comes in the form of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, TAPS, which was created in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll after the tragic death of her husband, Brig. Gen Tom Carroll, in a plane crash.

TAPS offers a variety of resources to the loved ones/family of military staff. They provide comprehensive care including services and programs such as peer based emotional support, case work assistance, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources. To date,they have helped over 25,000 people and give help, hope and healing to families who have lost a loved one/family member. Their toll-free hot line is: 1-800-509-TAPS (8277).

For those battling depression, post traumatic stress disorders and/or feeling suicidal, both Hopeline and AFSP,American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provide great resources and immediate help to veterans and their families. HopeLine was started in 1998 by Reese Butler after the death of his wife, Kristin, by suicide. His goal has remained “to offer HOPE and the option to LIVE to those in the deepest emotional pain.”

AFSP, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, has been involved in several suicide prevention initiatives and provides groundbreaking research, educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects and important policy work. It advocates for policies and legislation at all levels of government to bring awareness and change to the subject of suicide prevention.

AFSP works in tandem with The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) which provides prevention support, training, and resources to help organizations and individuals develop their own suicide prevention programs. The goal is to develop and evaluate centers and programs to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP).

“Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o’er, Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more. Days of danger, nights of waking.” -Sir Walter Scott
“The purpose of all war is ultimately peace.” -Saint Augustine

Celebrate Peace...

Give Peace a Chance: Holding peace by Nancy Howe

Soul Service via Humanity Healing.org***

A terrific group offering hope is Humanity Healing International, a non-profit which creates projects for change, healing and the pursuit of peace by encouraging active participation to grow local communities and restore personal dignity to people globally.

Another ray of light and hope is Neil Pasricha’s positive blog1000 Awesome Things which he started in June 2008 and continued to share with others even as his world was crumbling; his wife left him and his best friend committed suicide. Neil stayed committed to his blog goals and continues to find one awesome thing to write about each day. He has won two best blog awards and his new book “The Book of Awesome” just hit the newsstands.

In times of war and despair
, reflect on things that matter in life and find time to celebrate. Let’s remember awesome things that have happened in our lives and share them with others around the world, find positive ways to resolve conflicts, and remember that war is not the answer to securing peace on our planet.

For more on this subject, I have posted a follow-up on my Blogger blog site and included music from one of my all time favorites — Bob Marley and his music video “War.” I wish you peace, joy and abundant blessing on this Memorial Day and May the Shadow of War never cross your doorstep.

Are you a war survivor or do you have a loved one in the services? What are you views on this subject? Do share how you cope in their absence. What memories do you cherish? As always, your feedback is appreciated.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Burial in Arlington National Cemetery by J.D. Leipold ~ via Wikipedia
Nuclear War-co2 Test ~ via TreeHugger
Biafra War: Child with Kwashiokor ~ via Don McCullin – Biafra (1969)
When Hunger Strikes: Remnants of factional wars ~ via Mike Wells
Afghan Refugee ~ via Steve McCurry
Holding peace ~ via Nancy Howe
Other Photographs ~ via Google Images

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank