Oh Captain, My Captain

It’s 2:50am in the morning whereMork - Robin Williams I am and I am just laying in bed with my eyes wide open unable to sleep. Some things are going through my head, and although I do not feel completely stressed or upset I keep having a recurring thought – “Robin Williams is dead”. In less than 10 minutes, it would have been 24 hours since Robin Williams was pronounced dead.

People die. Famous people die. Some people just have this profound effect on you that is almost indescribable – they’re the musician that writes songs that just touch you – get you; the princess with the storybook wedding that turned into a modern day heroine; the animal adventurer with a huge heart and a massive love for life; the sports-star who is a Mrs Doubtfire - Robin Williamsgenuine role model and all round Australia larrikin that people look up to; or the comedian that you grew up with that always makes you laugh whether it’s a topic you should be laughing about or not! These people seem bullet-proof and you consider them part of you life – part of the furniture. The effect on you when they die is almost inconceivable.

The first thing I read yesterday morning was that Robin Williams had died. Throughout the day people paid tribute to Robin Williams on all sorts of media. We were shocked. Some of us shed a tear or two. We recounted our favourite Robin Williams moments. We thought about depression and suicide and how it can affect anyone – no matter what social status, how much money we have, whether we are a genius or not, or whether we are outwardly funny or not. It took me most of the day to process that Robin Williams had died by apparent suicide and that an hour before he was pronounced dead I had actually been thinking of hanging and that just creeped me out a little too much.

Now I am not suicidal. Although I have had suicidal thoughts before and I am currently tired beyond words all of the time and my body aches are killing me after a long weekend, I do not feel I am currently depressed. However I was reading the last quarter of Mockingjay (third book of The Hunger Games trilogy) and suicide is discussed and hanging is discussed – there is even a song called “The Hanging Tree”.

Are you, Are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here,
No stranger would it be,
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

So I am sure it is a coincidence andDead Poets - Robin Williams bad timing on my behalf to be thinking of such a topic – but it took me a while to get my head around it.

To get my head around Robin Williams’ death I read a few newspaper articles and read up a bit of his history again. This was something I needed to do. I actually needed to do this for my sanity, to try to get into Robin Williams head and accept what he decided to do. I recounted some of his life events today to a few people and when they seemed impressed I knew so much I admitted I had read up on him a bit today. Now the response I got was “you must have had some free time today” to which I was a bit annoyed. No I didn’t have free time today. I have a million things to do. I do not have time to write this blog post (I should be sleeping!)… but sometimes things are important for you to do or work out, that you need to spend time doing it. I am a huge admirer of Robin Williams and I cannot believe he is dead and dead by apparent suicide so I needed to digest it.

So this year I have shed a tear for two comedians – Rik Mayall and now Robin Williams. I find it hard comprehend how much comedic genius the world has lost this year. And I have had some jealous thoughts too – I am not going to see any new shows/movies from these geniuses! And I was also sort of hoping that Robin Williams would have to do a “pension tour” and I would one day get to see him live on day!

Aladdin - Robin Williams

One of my friends said the perfect statusHook - Robin Williams today and I am going to quote it “With the effect on regular people, I can’t imagine how sad the people are that were close to Robin Williams. Give them strength.” This sums up how I feel and how what is really inconceivable is what Robin’s family and friends must be going through.

So now I would like to pay tribute to one of my most favourite actors and an actor I have totally adored from a young age when my favourite TV show was Mork & Mindy; to re-watching the childhood classic Mrs Doubtfire time and time again; to partaking in my favourite Disney cartoon Aladdin (and I still believe it is better than The Lion King!); to admiring the teacher in the teenageInsomnia - Robin Williams thought-provoker Dead Poets Society; to being the grumpy adult worker who forgot he was the child that never grew up in Hook; and then to some of this more sinister roles – for example One Hour Photo, Insomnia and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.


My tribute (and I bet you start hearing his voice!):

Shazbot!Mork & Mindy

Goooooooood morning Vietnam! It’s 0600 hours. What does the “O” stand for? O my God, it’s early! Speaking of early… – Good Morning Vietman 1987

What is a demilitarized zone? Sounds like something out of The Wizard of Oz, Oh, no, don’t go in there. Oh-we-oh Ho Chi’Minh Oh, look, you’ve landed in Saigon. You’re among the little people now. We represent the ARVN Army The ARVN Army Oh, no! Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Follow the Ho Chi Minh Trail. “Oh, I’ll get you, my pretty!” Oh, my God. It’s the wicked witch of the north. It’s Hanoi Hanna! “Now, little GI, you and your little ‘tune-ooh’ too!” “Oh, Adrian. Adrian. What are you doing, Adrian?”Good Morning Vietman 1987

I was the intellectual equivalent of a 98-pound weakling! I would go to the beach and people would kick copies of Byron in my face!  – Dead Poets Society 1989

But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.Dead Poets Society 1989

O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain. – Dead Poets Society 1989

I’m a knight on a special quest.The Fisher King 1991

Rufio, if I’m a maggot burger why don’t you eat me! You two-toned zebra-headed, slime-coated, pimple-farmin’ paramecium brain, munchin’ on your own mucus, suffering from Peter Pan envy!Hook 1991

But oh, to be free. Not to have to go “Poof! What do you need, “Poof! What do you need, Poof! What do you need?”. To be my own master. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world. But what am I talking about? Let’s get real here, that’s never gonna happen. Genie, wake up and smell the hummus.Aladdin 1992

Sink the sub. Hide the weasel. Park the porpoise. A bit of the old Humpty Dumpty, Little Jack Horny, the Horizontal Mambo, hmm? The Bone Dancer, Rumpleforeskin, Baloney Bop, a bit of the old Cunning Linguistics? Mrs Doubtfire 1993

You do an eclectic celebration of the dance! You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! You do Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham! Or Twyla, Twyla, Twyla! Or Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd, Michael Kidd! Or Madonna, Madonna, Madonna!… but you keep it all inside.Birdcage 1996

See you Monday. We’ll be talking about Freud and why he did enough cocaine to kill a small horse.Good Will Hunting 1997

I’m made of wax, Larry. What are you made of?Night at the Museum 2006

Then you, Elliot Stabler, are a human being. Congratulations. You are not a sheep like I was. You’re a man. Thank you.Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 9, Episode 17 Authority (29 Apr. 2008)

You have no idea what I’ve suffered!Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Season 9, Episode 17 Authority (29 Apr. 2008)

I hope these quotes brought back memories and made you giggle! And it is also a timely reminder that if you are depressed, anxious, upset, scared or need someone to talk to, I am always here for you. You are not alone, no matter how overshadowing that black dog is right at that moment.

Nanu-Nanu Robin Williams. Thank you for sharing your genius with the world and I hope you have found eternal peace.


All photos and quotes were sourced from http://www.imdb.com/



Black Dog

Five years ago today a very good friend of mine completed suicide (psychologist term). Today always causes me to pause, reflect, think about my friend and think about me. I miss my friend and I hope he is in a better place. I also hope his family and wife (widow?) still love him and are not mad at him.

I have been thinking about whether to write this post all afternoon and evening. I have started seven other blog posts and three of them are well advanced, so wasn’t sure if I should start another one! Also even though people try and convince others that depression is not taboo, nothing to be ashamed about, it is with many people. People just do not want to discuss it. But we should be able to! I have a friend who has spoken up about domestic violence, so here I am opening up about depression.

I know the day my friend was going to tell me about his depression. We caught up every now and then for a coffee at Gloria Jean’s and this time he e-mailed that he wanted to tell me something. We chatted about work and he told me that he had stomach ulcers again, but I knew that wasn’t the ‘something’. I didn’t pry as I just don’t like appearing nosey. He didn’t mention anything else. Not long after that it was Christmas and he and his wife took off for a drive to Adelaide. His wife mentioned this in her eulogy and things started to make sense about some of his actions. I wished I had been nosey. What if he had one more friend that understood what he was going through?

I understand completely. I understand why someone would feel like suicide is the only option. I understand the constant struggle – to smile, to operate, to live. I understand the feeling of total isolation, from everything and everyone. What I do not understand is why people think suicide is the easy way out – what is harder than making the decision to leave your family (parents, spouse, children etc) behind? Why are people so mad at the person that completed suicide – should you not feel some empathy to what they must have been going through to make such a final decision? Are people just trying to put the anger they feel at themselves onto the one that has passed? I do not the answers, these are just my thoughts. I am not mad at my friend for making the decision he did, I am just sad. Sad he didn’t think he could talk to me, sad that he didn’t think he would get out of the darkness, sad that he is no longer around for his wife and family.

When I found out about my friend I went into a dark place pretty quickly. Things were mad for me that January and February. Our Kalgoorlie house had settled, but our Perth house was not ready, so we were homeless. I had a lovely friend that took hubbie, Makita and me in for a week or so, until a unit that belonged to work was available. It was month end and I was trying to pass on all my knowledge to my replacement, and January was the worst month end at my previous employer, because it had a December year end, so that meant in January there was a lot more reporting, plus you had to roll over all sorts of models in time for January’s month end. I was stressed about the Perth house, things were taking too long. We also had to pack, and since I was going to be in Kalgoorlie for another month until I finished work, I had to ensure I didn’t pack certain things. And because the Perth house wasn’t finished we had to store our entire life contents somewhere! We had planned our wedding trip for March, so we were busy planning that. We were also building two units in Kalgoorlie, so there was some extra pressure there too. Plus we were about to get married! Not that that was a stressful thing for us, since we were going to enjoy ourselves in Las Vegas! But it is still a lot to deal with at once!

At the funeral, his wife read outMichelle's Labyrinth a book that her late husband related to – I Had A Black Dog by Matthew Johnstone. Holy bleep! How I related to the words she read out. How things made sense. It was exactly how I had been feeling on and off for a year or so. How brave and strong she was to read that out, at her husband’s funeral in front of hundreds of people, and being so young herself. How wonderful she was/is!

Since February 2008 I have been on and off anti-depressants. There was a 18 month section in the middle where I wasn’t on them; I was really enjoying work. But the black dog feeds off stress and fatigue, and I had been in highly stressed roles for years. I don’t talk about my black dog, well it is more like my dark cloud. I smile and laugh and have been told how great my laugh is and that I am the happiest person someone knows. My laugh is happy, and it takes a lot of effort to laugh sometimes, it is exhausting, then I get fatigued, then the black cloud takes over. I have tried to talk about it, but have then been asked what do I have to be stressed about? So I shut down.

It is not about being stressed or being sad. It is not something you can build a bridge and get over (something else said to me). It is a chemical reaction, a ‘brain state’ as it says in I Had A Black Dog. I guess you could say depression is like alcoholism, addiction, diabetes. It is a disease. I am not weak. I am not a whinger. I just have a black cloud that is always near by.

So I just wanted to say that there are people out there that are willing to listen, without judgement – like me! Our lives are hectic, we are moving a million miles an hour but we need to take care of ourselves. We are often told to slow down and smell the roses, or enjoy the sunset. But how often do we do that? We should make more of an effort to make time for our family, our friends and most of all ourselves. That is what is important.

On a different topic, I did my first felting project today! I have been seeing lots of lovely felted fantasy creatures on Facebook and Etsy, so I thought I would give it a go. I watched the youtube videos (Make a Felt Sheep, Part 1 &2):


And got some ideas from Facebook pages:


So this is what I made:

Michelle's Labyrinth   Michelle's Labyrinth

The inspiration from Labyrinth:

Michelle's Labyrinth

Felting is fun. You stab (I mean poke) wool with a small needle until that tangles the fibres until they join into the shape you want. The stabbing is fun and I think it is going to be a new method to remove any excess anger :)

And also I was serious, if you ever need me, for any reason at all… I am here for you.





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