Videoblogs Interlude: On Depression and Hope

It’s hard to know how to act today.

On the one hand, I want to respect the boundary between the exposure the majority of us appear to be feeling, following the loss of a beloved artist who at one point or another touched all our lives. It doesn’t seem like an appropriate time to be promoting something.

On the other hand, I’m not “promoting” anything. If your impression has been different in recent weeks, I’m sorry. What my team and I have really been trying to do is ask for your support. We feel compelled to make a piece of art and want to share it with you. The only way I felt it could happen was this way: by going directly to you first for validation that this is a worthy idea.

And that’s why, despite even my own sadness and confusion and fear, we’re going to resume our efforts today (after last night’s brief hiatus) to get The Videoblogs made.

It may seem inappropriate to be asking for money, in order to make a movie about mental health, in the days following the death of an icon that appears to have been a result of either depression or the disease of addiction (or both). It seems less appropriate, though, to me, with so little time left, to scuttle the last several weeks of these heartfelt efforts because of this tragedy.

Allow me to be very honest with you about something, not as a means of proving anything but to make it clear why we’re doing this.

I have felt inconsolably alone in the world. I have felt hopeless beyond repair. I have had thoughts, in the past, about ending it all. That’s about as much as I can really say about it, right now.

By some grace, I got help. I started to learn that loneliness, as contradictory as this sounds, can be (is) shared.

Just as we together bear the grief of loss, we can together take on the responsibility to change. We can decide, while or after the grieving process works its course, to contemplate how to move forward.

For me, I need to continue to strive for more openness and bravery in these areas. So I am going to continue efforts to fund and produce The Videoblogs over these final days of our funding push.

Pushing to get the film made doesn’t feel any less like the right thing to do, this morning, as compared to yesterday morning. To be honest, it hardly feels more urgent after what’s happened.

I’m mourning the loss of Robin Williams today. More than that, though, I feel for his family, and all the families around the country and world whose struggles with the sometimes overbearing responsibility of just being human…sometimes result in the tragic loss of life, livelihood, health or happiness.

Depression, addiction, mental illness, these are not just the problems of the afflicted or their nearest and dearest. They are sicknesses in the world that are not made any better through ignorance or neglect.

Since last night, I have seen people reminding others that help is out there, that they can reach out — and I join that chorus. The message we received from NAMI-NYC, in regards to The Videoblogs Dialogue, is repeated below for anyone who might need a number to call.

I’ve also heard others say that reaching out “is not that easy.” Having been there, I don’t disagree.

What I would like to say to that last group, however, and anyone listening to them, is this: just know that there is hope. I promise you that. I am proof.

NAMI-NYC provides support groups and is available to direct people towards any care they may need in dealing with any difficult subjects. Please call their resource helpline at 212-684-3264 or visit their website at: Outside the NYC Metro area, call The National Information Helpline: 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264).

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