We lost one of our own with the death of Robin Williams recently. He was so obviously beloved by all, had an impressive body of work to be proud of, and had many things to look forward to professionally as well as personally.
It is hard to comprehend how someone like that could take their life…unless you have been touched by severe depression yourself.
Unfortunately many of us creative types, comedians, artists, and clowns fight this battle.
I believe part of the reason is because we live our lives with our hearts wide open.
When you experience the joy of making others laugh and be happy, it can be extremely difficult not to be affected by the world surrounding us. We want to hold on to the “happy.” Keep it forever; share it; bask in it.
But it is not a battle that is easily won. There can be resistance. Many of us struggle to fit into a society filled with complicated social rules. We just want to be funny and make others laugh. It can be complicated since depression can also be accompanied by substance abuse. Good therapy is the best solution.
Severe depression is not a couple of bad days
It is not something you can work your way out of with some grit and positive thoughts.
Severe depression is a hole so deep no one can reach you. You do not think clearly; you just want to end the pain. You do not think about family or friends, and how crushed they will be. You do not have a rational thought to hang on to until help arrives.
There is no one to blame when someone takes their life. It is a personal choice made by an individual who is not in their right mind.
What can we do for our friends?
Be kinder than necessary, everyone is fighting some kind of battle.
Love them. Period.
Resist the urge to offer solutions. When someone is severely depressed, your well-meaning suggestions sound so impossible. “Just fly to the top of that tree and enjoy the sunshine and you will feel better,” or “So many folks have it much worse, cheer up.” While this may be true, it does nothing to help the person in need.
Try not to pile on sentiments that make them feel guilty, like “You make me worry about you all the time.” Instead, tell how much they mean to you.
Take that extra time when you can to be kind, to share your time, to be present with the ones you love. Take time to listen. Take time for lunch. Check in, often. Even if they do not respond to your texts or return calls, don’t give up.
I found this picture online about Eeyore, the little donkey from Pooh Corner. His friends from the 100 Acre Wood are a good example of how to befriend someone with severe depression.
Don’t expect a “Thank You”
They may not appreciate your insistent behavior, or at least they won’t admit that they do. Don’t expect them to open up immediately. Some folks who are severely depressed resist sharing their feelings because they do not want to be a bother to anyone.
This applies especially to clowns, because we feel responsible for being happy and fun — all the time. As a clown community we need to remember to support one another. I know we are not always the easiest people to love. We have quirky complicated personalities, but that is what enables us to do what we do so well.
As funny people, we may never know when life may deal us an ugly blow that will result in severe depression. Reach out and help those in need. Go ahead, love them despite their protest. Stay connected to them.
Be kind. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it.
Need a lift? Read these inspiring blog posts to help boost your clown confidence:
- How to cope with grief and keep clowning
- How to say “no” when you are overwhelmed
- Dealing with transitions in your life
- Clowns are the gift that keeps giving
- You never know who will be touched by your presence
- There’s hope for clowns of the future!
- Set new clown goals, and REACH them
- How should clowns react when tragedy strikes?
- Here are the steps you should take during an on-site accident
- Are you worried that you’re not funny enough?
Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
Or call me toll-free to discuss your education and see if Mooseburger is the right fit for you: 800-973-6277
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