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Some of the symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness and failure. When applied to someone like Robin Williams, people are astounded.

"How could he feel he was a failure? He was so successful--an Oscar®-winning actor, one of the funniest comedians ever, and rich beyond his dreams."

But that's not how he saw it.

To him, his life was nothing but failure. Always dwelling on those one or two things--"If I had done this, or said that"--in everything. And of course, every little thing is magnified by the public eye.

Also, imagine how much of a failure as a father he felt--his life ruled by addiction. How could he be the father his children deserved when in the grip of those monsters?

He was never able to look at the positives and the successes. He just KNEW nothing was ever good enough.

And when everything you do has failed, any kind of "but look how successful you are" from anyone sounds patronizing and petty.

Now think about this symptom and how it would affect someone who isn't successful. Someone whose life really IS full of more failures than successes.

Example--For all intents and purposes, I had a successful year teaching last year. My students learned, they love me, I'm appreciated at school, and we had the highest parent turnout for the Christmas and Spring programs in years. Both of which went very well.

And yet--

I'm nearly 50 and am only teaching part time general music, while many of my friends 20 years younger are doing amazing things with large band and choir programs. Things I should have been doing. Should be doing. It took me 15 years to get my degree, meaning I should have been teaching for like 25 years instead of the 10+ on and off (with stops at McD and a casino in between teaching jobs because no one wants to hire me).

And so on.

I look at all the might-have-beens, and all the other stuff, and I see failure.

And no one understands.

No one understands that that's the way I see it.

Oh, I can objectively say "yes, this is successful and not failure" and grasp the concept, but in the end, it's just words.

In the past 3 years, I've gained back a hundred pounds of the 300 I had lost. I can't focus or find that place where I was able to lose it so easily.

And the relapse/guilt/failure spiral starts to take over as the attempts to "recapture the magic" fail.

And now my doctor is talking about the possibility of my having surgery for the weight loss.

Which compounds my failure because I couldn't do it myself.

Like I never seem to be able to finish things I start.

Shall I go on?

THAT is what was in Robin Williams' head. Not all the things he was blessed with, but rather all his life of failure, real or perceived.

Life is about coping, not enjoyment.

This is an excellent bit from Boggle the Owl on basically how I live my life:

RECOVERY

    Expectation: I feel a little bit better today!
    Expectation: I feel a little bit better today!
    Expectation: I feel a little bit better today!
    Expectation: Hey, I think I feel pretty good!
    Expectation: I guess that means I'm normal now! Time to go live a normal life!
    ---------------------------------
    Reality: I feel terrible.
    Reality: I still feel terrible.
    Reality: Is this seriously "recovery?" This sucks.
    Reality: I don't want to be thinking about all of this shit, this is exhausting.
    Reality: I guess today's not so bad.
    Reality: Today is bad again.
    Reality: Today is bad, but I think I'm starting to understand why.
    Reality: Wow, how long has it been since I cleaned my room?
    Reality: Cleaning my room didn't make me feel any better, but hey, room's clean.
    Reality: Whoa, okay, I need a shower. And maybe a haircut? Definitely a haircut.
    Reality: Everything sucks.
    Reality: Okay, except you.
    Reality: And you too, I didn't mean that you sucked.
    Reality: And that thing that I like is pretty cool.
    Reality: What was I talking about?
    Reality: Oh, THAT'S why my ex broke up with me.
    Reality: Wow, it turns out that was totally my fault?
    Reality: I was the jackass.
    Reality: Holy shit, I am such a jackass.
    Reality: Everybody must hate me.
    Reality: EVERYBODY HATES ME.
    Reality: Okay, how could everybody hate me? I mean, even if I'm a jackass, the Law of Averages dictates that SOMEBODY out there would probably like me anyway.
    Reality: Why would everybody hate me anyway, I'm awesome.
    Reality: ...I'm not that awesome.
    Reality: Sometimes I'm pretty awesome, though.
    Reality: OH MY GOD I HATE MYSELF
    Reality: WHAT IS THIS, I'M RIGHT BACK WHERE I STARTED
    Reality: EVERYTHING SUCKS, THE WORLD SUCKS, I SUCK, NOBODY WILL EVER LOVE ME AND I WILL DIE UNMOURNED AND ALONE
    Reality: ...What the hell was that about?
    Reality: Anyway, gonna get stuff done.
    Reality: Gonna get stuff done
    Reality: Getting stuff done
    Reality: WHY DO I FAIL AT EVERYTHING
    Reality: WALLOWING
    Reality: WALLOWING SOME MORE
    Reality: Okay NO MORE WALLOWING, we've talked about this, we're not doing this right now.
    Reality: ...I can't believe that worked.
    Reality: Huh.
    Reality: So hang on, is this it?
    Reality: I mean, is this recovery? Am I doing this right? Is it going to be over soon?
    Reality: I just want to be normal.
    Reality: I am such a ridiculous trainwreck of a human being. How do I even exist? Why do I get to have friends? Why do you people talk to me? There's so much about myself that I really don't like, and there's probably even more stuff that I don't even know about that isn't too hot, either. And I'm working on it, but man, it's hard.
    Reality: ...I just realized that everything I just said is normal.
    Reality: Oh my God, am I already normal?
    Reality: I'M ALREADY NORMAL. THIS IS NORMAL.
    Reality: It's...not exactly everything I was hoping for, to tell you the truth.
    Reality: ...Oh well.
    Reality: Today was okay.
    Reality: Maybe tomorrow will be better.

"Now if there's a smile on my face, it's only there trying to fool the public"

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