The Heaviness of Grey

The Heaviness of Grey

 

He carried a bullet in his pocket.  He carried it to remind himself that each day was a choice to live, even if it meant living on the dark side, where everything presented in heavy shades of grey.  He carried it because he never wanted to feel trapped by the lack of options; being depressed and left with few choices led to desperation and there was little else the camel’s back could bear. He carried it until the day the symbol, in and of itself, lost power.  He carried that bullet every day, until the day he used it.

After his physical recovery and obligatory time in mental health hospitals, he found that everywhere he went, he was accompanied by the proverbial elephant in the room.  He told me that in the following years, people tended to react in one of two ways, politely ignoring his pachyderm companion or, veering clear of the two of them altogether, as if an invisible elephant might stomp them to death.  He said that even the mental health professionals he dealt with would redirect conversations away from the subject of suicide. Everyone seemed to ignore what had taken place, and it heightened what was already a surreal situation; it left him feeling even more isolated than before the suicide attempt.

 

“I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams

 

The death of Robin Williams is bringing about discussion on the subjects of suicide and mental health and I think they are conversations that are LONG overdue and desperately needed. However, I’m afraid this environment of concern will be short-lived because too many people really don’t want to engage in meaningful dialogue about these issues.  Death (let alone suicide) and mental health issues are too frightening and simply something we would rather not even think about let alone discuss at the family dinner table. Prolonged and in-depth dialogue would mean we would also have to look at the causal factors and those are WAY too messy, uncomfortable, and expensive in terms of time, effort and money. Like many of the red-flag issues that confront us today, we wish they would simply go away or magically become more palatable so they don’t require sacrifice or discomfort on our part.  I think it is far more likely that we’ll give our sympathetic and momentary nod of concern and then do what we’re so good at, move on to more pleasant diversions.

 

This post is open to civil and meaningful dialogue.

 

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10 thoughts on “The Heaviness of Grey

  1. Insightful and very well conveyed Maya, thank you. Robin Williams’ quote you have shared is especially enlightening. In many ways a solitary person with no desperate or emotional need to be around people, I’m not a hermit. Sharing and working with others is vital, yet as I age and gather wisdom I’m becoming less tolerant of foolishness, greed, lack of awareness and above all superficial relationships. Yes, it’s important to be polite and civil, but if it enables manipulation by others with no concept of the greater good I’m going to be direct. Being straightforward has often been an eventual disadvantage; institutions and agencies I’ve worked for don’t like someone rocking the boat or even thinking outside the box. An underlying deficiency or injustice is passed off with “That’s the way it is” and “Get used to it”.
    Why did I veer off into all this… oh yeah, it’s very depressing!

    The ability to read and share thoughts with an unmet yet not unknown soul out there in the ether is a true blessing, your thoughtful sharing has made a difference in the lives of others today.

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    • I definitely (and again) relate to so much of what you said cuervo. I began writing on my desk, sometime back in grade school, that I wanted to be a hermit and DID become a semi-hermit for many of the same reasons you mention. I did not like the state of humanity and I had very low tolerance for the B.S. I encountered. I was a head-banger and boat rocker but it seemed the only thing I accomplished was hurting my head and getting seasick – lol. But…as you said…it is very depressing because how do you resolve the conflicts? What do you do when reason and logic fail? It’s interesting how my life has changed though, having been introduced to and incorporating some philosophies from certain Buddhist teachings has helped me to be more tolerant and compassionate – toward both the outer, and inner world 🙂

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      • Thanks… a lot of resonance in your relation of experience. I too have developed Buddhist tendencies. The skirmishes with ignore-ance and folly I have come to accept as tasks given to enable growth and knowledge, they do not end. Accomplish one task successfully and the Great Spirit says “OK, not bad, now try THIS one!” Climbing the mountain there are as many trails as there are seekers, sometimes they converge with others, other times they veer off into strange places. My best analogy is following elk trails across through the forest. Overall there is a rhyme and a reason, but there’s always the mystery of why does a large animal trail suddenly end in the middle of a thicket or at the edge of a cliff? None can know the mind of Elk. 🙂
        I’m learning to choose my battles, and to not waste time on unworthy opponents. Such is the case at present, I’ve worked exceptionally hard this past year, following my Vision and assisting others with theirs, positive results have been achieved when suddenly the course has been changed (the farm has been cleaned up and is approaching sustainability and true to old pattern/rut the owner has gotten all excited and is overextending some more, again, still…)
        I’m not going down that path, so I guess that means I’m going somewhere else. Again, still, some more… -chuckle-
        Where? When? How? I don’t know, it’s a Mystery, but that’s what it’s all about. Who can know the mind of Raven!
        Again, thanks Maya.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Universe works in marvelous ways; no sooner I admit the obvious to myself, it is affirmed by forces greater than I. 1 week to pack up and leave…
        “stay tuned” …. to soon for chuckles or guffaws, but I’ll get there!

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  2. You are quite right, in that we often have moments of great significance or great insight, during which we learn much. But then the moment passes, and we forget the lesson, allow life to cover over the leap we might have taken and instead change nothing. I was just talking about this today with a friend. We take vacations and say we will allow our newfound perspective of what is important and what is not to ensure we will not overwork or put work above family. But then we return to work and get caught up in it. I was recently at a family funeral. All our family was there and we promised each other we wouldn’t let it take another family tragedy before we got together again. But will we live up to this? I think it’s the same thing you’re talking about, sort of. With Robin William’s death, we have an opportunity to make something positive out of something so so sad. To potentially help those in our lives, or those out in the world. But will we take that opportunity, or let it lapse into the past? I agree with the previous commenter; I think that by taking the time to share your thoughts and your powerful photo, you have already done something to ensure we won’t forget. To provoke us to make something of this sad occurrence.

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    • What a journey we are on Silverleaf! The truth of the matter is, the road familiar is most likely the one we will try to stay on and only, on occasion, take the side roads to places unfamiliar. It seems to be the nature of our beings. And I would never be one to suggest we linger for extended periods in places that are uncomfortable but at the same time, I think it is so very important to be willing to go there, and spend some time, when called upon.
      Being aware, and being willing (a kind of mindfulness?) are core elements to staying focused on what is truly important in our lives. Then, we must also act. Who in your family will be the first to make the phone call? And the chances are, you won’t all get together again, but I’ll bet…some of you will.
      Peace -Maya-

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  3. Thanks for responding blue 🙂 I hope you’re right but…I don’t have much faith that things will turn around in terms of understanding or treatment, at least not in my lifetime. I have seen/heard too many instances that I could only define as the “new and improved” dark ages.
    Thank you for suggesting the Broken Light link. I DO follow them and it makes my heart glad to see/hear evidence that art is recognized as a path to healing.

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