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Talent vs. Depression

The tragic death of actor Robin Williams this week has sparked a massive reaction as he reached so many with his natural ability to entertain and bring laughter and humour to several generations.  Why then, did this wonderful talented man sink into depression, unable to make himself laugh as he did so many others?

It is not uncommon that the natural talents and abilities we can utilise for others are completely lost on our own health, wellbeing and lifestyles. For instance, a friend of mine practices spiritual healing, and when she is healing someone, she is like a goddess, totally connected to spirit and an energy level close to Source itself, but in her own day to day life she is stressed, annoyed and frustrated.  She delivers amazing results to her clients, lifting their spirits and relieving their stress, but she can’t use her own gift upon herself. She is only truly happy when she is healing someone else.

I can read tarot for other people very well but I can’t do readings for myself.  I can paint or draw a picture for someone as a commission, but whenever I look at the bare walls in my house in need of artwork, I can’t think what to paint.

Like the people who work in ICT who never use the computer at home, the handymen whose customer’s houses and gardens are in better shape than their own and the chefs who must inevitably buy takeaways now and again, we all struggle with bringing our talent to others into our own lives. And then we get down.

If actors are expected to deliver the same joke during several takes, with the same comic timing, enthusiasm and drive, they must be pretty fed up of the joke when they get home.  Comedy and entertainment when practised as a career may also lose some of its appeal out of comparison, self-criticism and boredom.  Our talents can become our demons…

Depression is experienced at some point during most people’s lives, and can be all consuming and very isolating.  It is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed as having to “snap out of it” or “pull yourself together”.  It is not something to be ashamed of, it is a natural process created by chemicals in the brain as a reaction to prolonged stress, trauma or sudden events. Do seek help from your GP if you think you may be suffering from depression.

If someone as successful and talented as Robin suffered from depression, this may lift some of the stigma associated with the condition which will hopefully make it easier for people to seek help if they need to and also to help others understand the illness.

In the meantime, please keep smiling and laughing and trying and being grateful for all the good things we do have.  Let us take pleasure in the small positives in day to day life and thankful that we have something to be happy about – even if it is just a cup of tea and a chat with a friend.

And let us watch Robin’s films to remember the natural talent that he brought to our parents, us, and our children …. x

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