Late last year, I had begun a mini-project on reviewing the Depression trilogy of one of my favorite directors, the Danish troublemaking Lars von Trier. I had gone over the first two films of the trilogy – 2009’s Antichrist and 2011’s Melancholia (the links lead to their respective reviews) – and am currently re-watching the 2013 two-parter Nymphomaniac for my final post (which I’ll also be co-reviewing it with a Swedish musical concept album I find connected in dealing with human sexuality) on the project as we speak sometime this week.
But before I do, I would find it particularly tasteless to go over the project titled Depression in the wake of one of the more rippling deaths to occur in the industry just a few days ago (as well as the late great Lauren Bacall, Bogie’s brilliant wife, who passed away just yesterday), the suicide of Robin Williams. Regardless of whether or not it was indeed a suicide as announced by the Sheriff (which I only state due to currently ongoing investigation), Williams’ publicist has confirmed that Robin Williams had indeed suffered from depression at the later part of his life.
Lars von Trier’s depressionary streak led to three films that made a mark on cinema. We’ve just seen the uglier side of what comes from depression: the emotional and mental suffering of people who don’t ask for it. And von Trier could have just as easily taken his own life while going through his phase as Williams did, so I don’t want any messages coming about like “oh look at the great things that come from depression, though!” when I’m praising his films. John Bonham’s erratic yet controlled sloppiness fuelled by alcohol – also based in depression from leaving his family – may have made him my favorite drummer of all time, but by the end of the day, it still fucking murdered him, and I’d rather people don’t go through such things than have the great works of art they gave us.
Depression is not just a bad mood people go into. It is a psychiatric syndrome and people can be put through heavy psychological trauma and strain when they go through it. It comes from the smallest things – sadness or anxiety or emptiness could trigger it – and then it grows bigger and bigger and bigger. And the symptoms and problems become more physical as you begin hurting yourself – you don’t eat or you don’t sleep or you can’t concentrate.
And fuck all the famous people who do it – Cobain and Delp and Hemingway and company are certainly tragic, but this is personal. I have friends. I know people who deal with it every day. I’ve had to tend to families broken and I’m goddamn sure every last one of you who reads this knows someone who’s suffered from depression and you’ve feared for what they will go to for the end of their life.
There are many more things present in the world right now that the population should be aware of (I lean towards the situations in Gaza or Irbil or even Comcast’s stronghold on net neutrality should be more in the public eye than the FB messenger or what the hell is a Kardashian), but I do not in the slightest think it should be forgotten that depression is always a danger to the individual at any point and when it sticks, it sticks for a very long while. And it’s not as visually apparent as the rest of the scenarios I mentioned. And it’s not something tangible to put on the news as much.
It’s just a reactionary disorder that can pass by to say hi as a sad thought or become a living monster inside that only you can sense.
So, if I had the chance to talk Robin Williams, I man I don’t know at all, down from the noose or Bonzo from the bottle or anyone from anything… I’d tell them to look back on what kind of life they’re missing.
Robin Williams, for instance, left behind a lifetime of touching people with his films (I… honestly was not one of them so much. I enjoyed his movies occasionally on a superficial level, but I haven’t really taken any of his works to heart… though the fact that I expect to be torn apart for that seems to show that he has touched enough people). He also touched people personally – such as cheering his late friend Christopher Reeve up after his mid-career disabling injury or the career-wide charity he’s done with St. Jude’s or New Zealand.
He left behind a family that with a wife he was just beginning to live with and two children he claimed to give him “a great sense of wonder. Just to see them develop into these extraordinary human beings.”
He left a success beating out his cocaine addiction, something many people – not lesser to him in the slightest – unfortunately can not claim.
And then I’d hope he’d look to see that the uncertain future promises as much good as it does promise bad. That he could surely want his children grow older or his alcohol addiction subsided as he’s proven capable of doing. That he could help more lives or he could bring out more laughs.
That’s Robin Williams and that’s really fucking reaching with the things I’m trying to list to be honest and it’s all too late. If you have someone you know who suffers from depression and that would like to (or need to) talk (and if it happens to be you), you gotta do it. You gotta try to save a life however you can, even if you don’t know or think you’re doing it. Nobody deserves to suffer and everybody deserves to be happy from the get-go.
And most of all, if you are on the edge, if you feel like you can’t keep on living… Please reconsider knowing that your life is more valuable that that.
Call the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and they’ll be willing to at the very least chat with you and help you calm down. There’s always help wherever you go.
Alright, that’s there. Now, expect the finale of my Lars von Trier Depression trilogy posts sometime this week. Thanks.