Thinking about Robin Williams

Goofy Training

Week one, day two   


Four miles at the gym yesterday – one on the track, two on the treadmill, last one back on the track. Trying to break up the monotony of running inside.

There’s nothing to do while running around a track (16 laps to the mile) other than think. And like a lot of people this week, yesterday I was thinking of Robin Williams. I had a lot to say, but most of it has been said by people more eloquent than I. I do still have a few thoughts to share, though (so if you’re over this subject, feel free to stop reading).

I know some people still say or think that suicide is selfish; it’s cowardly (thanks Shepard Smith); it’s “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” I think the problem is that these people are thinking about it logically, not realizing that a person that depressed is incapable of thinking about it like that. Their brain is broken – of course their actions don’t make sense to you. That’s why it’s so terrifying. We want assurance that something like that won’t happen to us or someone we love, but there just aren’t any promises.

David Foster Wallace once compared suicide to those people who jump out of burning buildings. “Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames.” Sadly, David Foster Wallace had personal experience with that kind of crippling depression and took his life in 2008.

Luckily, I’ve never been that depressed, but like a lot of you out there, I have suffered from depression in the past. And we should definitely heed the calls I’ve heard over the last two days about being nicer to each other. But we also need to be kinder to ourselves.

I’ve been kind of dysthymic the last couple of months, not really enjoying the things I usually look forward to doing, and I’ve mostly been ignoring it. I’m going to stop doing that now, and start doing the things I know help me. More sleep, less sugar. More vegetables, fewer beers. Less stress. More time with family and friends and less in front of the computer screen. In a couple of weeks, Tony and I are going on vacation where I’ll get to spend a lot of time outdoors. Rafting, ziplining, rappelling, sitting out under the stars – and I honestly can’t wait. I need to be better about not letting so much time go by between vacations.

The other thing that helps me? Running. I didn’t expect that when I started, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been a little down lately because I haven’t been running as regularly as usual. So being back in training should help. And if none of these things help, then I’ll talk to my doctor. Life’s too short, y’all. Most everyone has had something happen to them that jolts them into that realization, like Angi’s death did for me. So take care of each other, but more importantly, take care of yourself. I certainly will.


About Elizabeth

Running and thinking about life one step at a time.
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