Not Today, My Friend. Not Today

A Monkey's HarpSeveral things have been swimming in my brain for the past few days — My plans and hopes for becoming actively involved in justice/equality/human rights issues. My plans for creating and sharing ideas for growing as a tabletop roleplayer. My reborn itch to run/facilitate games again, and my desire to work on and finish some of the half-baked designs I’ve left lying dormant for years.

Of course a lot of this energy has been fueled by my time at GenCon, which has fueled bursts of similar energies in the past. This time it also has a lot to do with a wakeup call regarding P.G. Holyfield, a brilliant, creative, wonderful human who supported and participated in the Harping Monkey podcasts and website who now is dying of some fucked-up form of cancer that only showed itself after it was far too late.

So yes, I’m energized. My creativity and determination is on the upswing.

Problem is, I’ve been here before. Many, many times. And in almost every case, sooner or later, my own chronic disease, Depression, rears up and drags me down into inactivity, lethargy, and self-doubt. And I quit moving forward. I stop before I’m even really started. I break promises, I turtle up, I go dark.

The subtle, snickering voice that reminds me of my history, of my habit of giving up – it’s been there this past few days, too, waiting around the edges reminding me that the last twenty times I said I was going to get up and do something useful or meaningful or creative, it always went sour.

Here’s a thing, though. Something else happened recently that shook me more than I ever imagined it would. Robin Williams, one of the most brilliant, creative, energetic people in the history of ever, hung himself. His depression got him in the end. His disease reared up one too many times and killed him. And on the one hand, I think it shook me because some voice inside me said, “See, dude, there you go. Depression is an incurable terminal illness. Even someone like Robin Williams couldn’t fight it when all was said and done.”


You know, I suppose I could try to write something more hopeful and shiny at this point. I could say to myself and to you, “Hey, Bullshit! I’m not going to listen to that voice. My disease is NOT terminal! I’m gonna beat this thing, and all of us who are stricken with it, we can beat this thing! RAWR!”

But that would be very, very dishonest of me.

Because here, now, in this present darkness, I really don’t know. I just don’t.

On the other hand, there is at least one hopeful takeaway for me – and perhaps for many of you – thanks to Robin Williams. 

Because yes, the disease eventually beat him. It did. We can’t sugarcoat that and we sure can’t deny it. But oh, dear gods the stuff he accomplished BEFORE the end. The lives he touched and the difference he made, not just as an actor/comedian/celebrity but as a humanitarian. He fought depression all his life, and every single day, until the last one, he held it at bay. Maybe it’s fair to say that even though the disease ultimately beat him, it really only beat him once. The rest of the time, he pretty much kicked it right in the teeth.

I guess my point is, whatever happens in the end, whether Depression gets me or not, whether it gets you or not, I can still – WE can still – fight the damn thing every day, beat it back and not let it bury our creativity, our human uniqueness, our will to be meaningful, our truth. 

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing not only your insight but such a significant part of your life’s experience as well.

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