Mental Illness

We need to talk about mental illness, depression and suicide NOW!


I went to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 today.  It was awesome.  I loved the book and I loved the movie.

But throughout the movie I could not help but feel sad.  As Philip Seymour Hoffman graced the screen in the effortless way that was his acting style, I couldn’t help but wonder where it had all gone wrong.

Just before the main feature began, an advert for another movie, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, was shown.  In it, glimpses of Robin Williams were to be seen, reprising his role of Theodore Roosevelt.

As I watched The Hunger Games, I kept thinking of Philip and Robin and what a great loss they were.  How they were so brilliant at their craft, so revered, so loved, and yet how inadequate they both must have felt to be pushed to the fatal end they both endured.  As a recovering alcoholic, I know only too well that addiction is born out of a feeling of not being good enough.  I have felt the pain that comes with inadequacy and the lure of suicide, knowing only too well the pain this will cause to family and friends.  In that moment, the pain of living is worse than the pain of knowing the devastation your loss will cause.  The promise of release from that pain all too seductive.

This week the internet has been all agog at the comments made by Mark Latham about Lisa Pryor’s comments on how she copes with motherhood.  In his Financial Review article, he likens the stress of tending of his garden to the work pressures that she felt as a mother and full time medical student.  He trivialises the pressure that women feel in this day and age, and goes so far as to disparage the choice of a woman to work for reasons other than financial gain.

Additionally this week was this post by Sarah Wilson in which she poses the question of whether or not her autoimmune disease can be caused, or at least exacerbated by stress.  The headline was unfortunate – Is Self Hatred Making Us Sick.  The backlash to this post, which was reposted on News Ltd’s website was enormous.  Whist I questioned what she wrote and didn’t agree with some of it, I admired her ability to stand back and take a look at what was and wasn’t working for her.  I certainly didn’t feel she was being prescriptive about what was causing my own autoimmune disease or how I should manage it.

What shocked me, though, was the unabashed vitriol that was espoused in reaction to this post.  Blog posts popped up all over the place denigrating what she had said as quackery and attacking her personally.  They questioned her qualification to dish out medical advice (which she was not doing) and called her credentials into question.  If stress does exacerbate Sarah’s condition, the venom spat her way must have caused her great discomfort in the autoimmune department.  It is this kind of cyber bullying that causes journalists to take their own lives.

And what is all the point of all this?  What do the deaths of actors, the challenging of women’s coping mechanisms and a post about autoimmune disease management have in common?

At the heart of all these things is mental illness.  And we don’t talk about it nearly enough.

Depression as an illness, is still a major cause of morbidity and death, and we need to understand it better, and we need to prevent people from killing themselves because they are depressed. – Changing Minds, ABC

When I got home from the movies, I decided to watch the the ABC series Changing Minds.  I had taped it weeks ago, but for some reason could not bring myself to watch it.  Maybe it is because I suffer from terrible clinical depression and I did not want to face the fine line that keeps me on this side of a psychiatric ward. Maybe it is because mental health is stigmatised so much that I try to lock my illness inside a cave somewhere deep inside my head, pretending that it isn’t there at all.  I advocate for mental illness, yet I myself still feel stigmatised by it.

I watched the series and it shocked me.  It shocked me because we simply do not talk about it enough and because of that people are not getting the help they need, especially in the wider community.  People try to ignore it, they do, but it cannot be ignored.

Actors are buckling at an alarming rate because of it, Sarah was trying to connect the dots between anxiety (read mental health) and physical well being, and Mark Latham was stigmatising mental health in women in the way only he (and many others like him) can in a publication largely read by men.

Men are three times as likely to commit suicide than women.  This is because the stigma is so rife, that men, in a world largely controlled by men, do not feel that they can talk about their mental illness.  And if they do, they are often turned away.  So they choose to leave behind loved ones and take their own lives.  Does Mark Latham think he is helping the cause of those men?  Never mind the women he is berating, how about the men?

Those people who chose to call Sarah a quack for her beliefs about her own condition, who chose to insult her as a person, as a journalist and as a personal blogger, did they think they were encouraging dialogue for those people who suffer from mental illness and feel that they cannot seek help?  Upon reading her article, I did not see as her attacking them personally.  I saw it as her seeking answers to her own condition and citing things that made sense to her, recognising that during times when she feels better mentally, she also feels better physically.  She was, in fact, talking about mental health.

All of this is about mental health, about when we feel better mentally, we can operate better on a physical level too – we are better human beings.  Without mental health we have nothing.  Our physical systems seem harder to cope with, our demanding jobs are harder to cope with, life itself is harder to cope with.

We live in a world where pressures increase exponentially and yet the discussion of mental illness is just not happening.

The dialogue of how to address the increasing mental illness and suicide issue needs to begin in earnest.  It needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

If you are experiencing any depression, suicidal thoughts or extreme mental anguish, please talk to someone you can trust, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Until next time,

SHW Signature




The seductress and the middle aged woman who is learning to live

How, when you have depression, do you find the light in the day?

I have no idea to that question.

I am only me.  The glass is half-empty me.  The “some days it’s hard to live” me.

I find life really really hard.

So hard in fact I became a raging alcoholic.

Raging might be too strong a word.

I was functional.  Sort of.

I always managed to take my children to school.  I always managed to get their dinner on the table.  I always managed to get their clothes washed.  I hardly ever managed to keep the house straight.

I have friends who didn’t fare so well.  Miss J used to go to school with a girl whose mother constantly kept her at home for “family” days.  In reality, she was too hungover to take her daughter to school.

I didn’t get that bad.  But, lordy, I could easily have done so.

I decided today that I was going to take control of my life and lose weight.  I enrolled at the Tony Ferguson centre near me.  Yes, it’s a milkshake thing.  That’s not the point.

The consultant spoke to me of what was and was not allowed and the rather sticky subject of alcohol came up.

Um,” she said, “alcohol isn’t really allowed.”

That’s okay,” I said, “I’m a recovering alcoholic.  I’ve been sober for nearly five years.”

Her eyes lit up.  “Good girl,” she said.  “If you can do that, you can do anything.”

Giving up alcohol never really seemed that big a deal to me so when people react this way I am always so surprised.  It’s the living of life that I find so fucking hard.

I looked at her.  “Yes, I suppose I can do anything.”

I don’t feel like I can do anything.  I don’t.  There are days when I feel I can’t breathe, never mind do “anything”.

But I did stop drinking.  I made that conscious choice not to pick up a glass of wine.

In AA there is a saying that one glass is too much and a bottle is not enough.  That’s what it is like for an alcoholic.  There is no moderation.  There is no “just a couple”.  That first sip of alcohol is the beginning of the end.

For us, alcohol is a seductive mistress.  We don’t want to sleep with her, but her allure, her promise of a good time, her promise of helping us to forget how fucking hard life is, is just too tempting.  And we give in.  Hard.  Only to bitterly regret it the following morning.  Oh Dear God the remorse.  But not enough remorse to stop us doing it again.  Usually the very next day.

And so I decided to look that mistress in the eye and say no more.

She didn’t want to let me go.  She kept knocking on the inside of my brain willing me to take just one sip of alcohol.  Just one sip.  What harm could it possibly do?  One sip, and all the pain of living can be eradicated once more.  And you can be the good time girl again.  The one that laughs with abandon and is jolly and sociable and fun to be around.

But I held on.  I resisted her.  Just one day at a time, I resisted.

And here I am.  Learning to live life without my mistress.  Like a child learning to walk.

I want to be cheery and laugh and see only good in life.

I just don’t know how right now.

I will get there.  Dear lord I hope I get there before I die.

I keep telling myself that I can do this.  I CAN FUCKING DO THIS DAMMIT!!!

And so I keep waking up.  Willing myself to push past the seductress, followed by the “I want to die” thoughts.

And I tell myself “Just for today I am going to survive“.

Because that’s all I have right now.  Survival.

Living will come another day.  Living will slowly emerge as I learn to take off my training wheels and learn to embrace life in all its fucked up glory.  I imagine it prancing over the mountain of shit on its trusty steed saying in its deep strong voice “Here you go Sarah, life is for the living, and here is how you do it.  Now go. Live.  Make your mark!

I’m trying.  I promise I am trying.

Please know that.

Until next time,

SHW Signature



Mental Illness

Don’t judge the depressive person – be their seratonin buddy

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day.

We were talking about depression.  She hates that I can reach such deep lows.  She hates that I can even have a dalliance with the idea of suicide.  She sees the beauty in me as a person, the value in what I am and what I bring to the table of the world and cannot understand how I can’t see it myself.

In reality, most days I do see glimpses of it.

I know that I am very much loved by my family and the increasing amount of friends I am making.  I know that my craziness, as evidenced by my bald lip-syncing decision, is brave and courageous and that every day I try to live my truth as best as I can.  I know that my daughter adores my creativity, that my husband cannot possibly imagine a life without me in it, that my son does love me even if he can’t express it,  that my grandchild adores sitting with me on my settee whilst we chomp our way through a mountain of grapes.  I have much to love, to be grateful for, to be positive about.

But the dark days exist.  Despite knowing how devastated my family would be at losing me to suicide, those thoughts do cross my mind.

I wish they didn’t, but they do.

And the most awful thing anyone can say to a person in those times is to tell them to buck up, to think positively, to be grateful for what they have.  It is terrible because, for the depressed person, it is an impossible thing to do.

And let me tell you why.

A person who is depressed has a fundamental chemical imbalance {at its most basic, a lack of seratonin}.  This chemical imbalance causes negative thoughts to predominate in the brain.   Asking a depressed person to “think positively” and to “buck up” or “chin up” is like asking a blind man to see.

Of course, depression is {largely} treatable.  There are a few things that have been proven to address the chemical imbalance.  By embarking on these things, seratonin levels rise and it is this that helps treat the depression, not just “thinking positively”.

In a nutshell they are eating correctly, exercising, sleeping well, doing something for someone else being altruistic and feeling connected (yes, this actually raises seratonin levels in the brain), getting outside into the sunshine (low vitamin D levels cause a decrease in seratonin), meditation and putting all of this into ACTION.

The problem with the depressive is that to actually act, especially when you are in the grip of a crippling episode, is really difficult.

Facing life on life’s terms is really challenging.  Us depressives tend to get caught in a loop of self talk, driven by that pesky low seratonin level, that immobilises us.  Rather than face a world we have convinced ourselves don’t want us, we remain indoors, we stay online (as this give us the illusion of being connected) and we get caught in a feedback loop of what alcoholics anonymous calls “stinking thinking”.  And so the cycle continues.  To the point where it can become so severe that the pain of that existence, the pain of living a life in so much pain becomes unbearable and suicide can feel like the only option.

Of course, we are all responsible for our own destinies.  We have choice.  But we need to be very careful about how we bandy that concept about.  As I mentioned, a biological chemical imbalance is at play here and those around the depressive must remember that.

A more helpful strategy would be to help the depressive address those things outlined above.  Phone them and offer to take them outside, to go for a walk, to ask them to come along to something you are doing.  Work with them to help them set up a routine with them that will get them exercising and sleeping well.  Become their “seratonin buddy“.

They will baulk at the idea, but gentle perseverance is the key here.  Choose moments where they are having a better day, and just sit with them when they are having a bad one.  Eventually better days will shine through.

Whatever you do, please please please don’t tell them to “just think positively”, to “stop with the pity party”, to “stop being a victim”, to “buck up”, to “put their best step forward”, to “just cheer up”.  I can tell you from personal experience that these comments do not help at all.  They are judgemental and end up making the depressive feel even worse than they did before.  They victimise the victim, assuming that being so depressed that they consider taking their own life is a choice.  Because that is what we do as humans, we wilfully choose to devastate those around us, we wilfully choose to end our life and with it all of our possible potential.

When Robin Williams committed suicide, a number of articles emerged as a counter measure to the amount of empathy he received for the tortured life he seemed to have lived.  These articles placed the blame for his suicide firmly at his feet.  “He had a choice,” they said.  They were ill informed.  They were judgements written by the authors, not one of which mentioned any of the research that proves that low seratonin levels (and others) drives negative thinking.

And there is another problem too.  Chemically dealing with this chemical imbalance is tenuous at best.  I have tried, believe me.  I have been on prozac, cymbalta as well as others, all of which represent different ways to deal with the same problem.  There are a myriad of drugs available, all attempting to increase seratonin uptake.  For some, they find the drug that works for them.  For a lot of people, however, they really struggle to find that chemically induced sweet spot.  I fell into the latter ground and eventually the side effects far outweighed any small benefit I might have been getting.  So I stopped taking them.

That decision brought with it issues of its own kind.  Some people saw it as an act of finally taking control of my own mind (because to them that is a choice I have), some saw it as being irresponsible.  None, it seemed, saw it as me making a conscious decision for the quality of my own life.  It is difficult I know for people to understand.  I live day by day without knowing from one day to the next how my seratonin levels are going to impact my thinking.

In this day and age of ra-ra positive thinking it is easy to assume that is all we need to get over the depressive hump.  It isn’t.  This movement has been the death knoll for many a depressive.  It has sparked a litany of guilt, which drives even further the stinking thinking I spoke of earlier.  Despite all the positive-talk rhetoric, suicide rates are on the increase.  Positive thinking on its own just does not work.

I urge you to please be that “seratonin buddy”.  Just be with your depressive friend/family member.  That alone will help them feel more connected, which we know helps raise seratonin levels, which we know helps to drive more positive thoughts.  You see, just being with them can have such an amazing impact.

Here at Sarah’s Heart Writes, I encourage you to come and just be.  Us depressives need to stick together, we need to know we are not alone, and more information needs to be disseminated about the ins and outs of depression and I can promise you, you will never ever be urged to think more positively, to stop playing the victim card or to stop being a martyr.

Much love from your fellow depressive,

SHW Signature




If you are feeling suicidal, please please talk to someone.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 

Black Dog Institute



Mental Illness

Introducing my entry to #Edenland – the International Lip Syncing Awards

Before I started blogging, I didn’t really follow blogs.  I would read them, but not really follow them as such.

When I started my blogging journey that changed.

I now follow a number of blogs – That Summer Feeling, Zinc Moon, Rare Pear Studio, Make Plus Do to name a few.

But one I follow avidly is Edenland.  I first came across Eden earlier this year.  Her blog is dark, melancholic, with flashes of hope and light.  Just what I need to read in my moments of extreme depression.

She has been struggling of late.  Her brother took his own life in October last year. It has been an unequivocal year of hell for her.

To honour his memory, Eden decided to launch the International Lip Syncing Awards.  You can read about that here.

I saw the post late last night.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Her journey has touched me so much.  I have felt a lot less alone and in those times when sometimes I have wanted to die, when life has seemed so hard, I have read something she has written and the thought leaves me for another day.  Thankfully, those times are not frequent and I am finding through my blogging journey that they are becoming even less.

And so I wanted to honour her.  I wanted to honour Cameron, her brother.  I wanted to honour all of those people who think that life isn’t worth continuing, who find life such a struggle, for whom life has let them down.  And I also wanted to honour those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

And so I did this:


I chose this song because it was our anthem growing up.  My mom and her sister would sing this song and us girls would sing along with them.  It became our mantra and it is now the anthem for our daughter.  I pray she passes it on.

I chose to lip sync the song without hair because my baldness does not define me.  I am bald.  This is a fact.  I am also a woman and I am strong.  I own that.  Very much.

Eden, sweetheart, this one is for you.  I hope my mom gets to meet Cameron wherever souls may go and I hope they are looking down at us saying “There’s our girls, living their shit, making their mark.”

Much love,

SHW Signature



About depression + being bald

Depression totally sucks.

I woke up this morning feeling so buoyed.  I recently launched my kindness bomb campaign.  Something I feel so strongly that the world needs.  To help people know, be reassured, that there is kindness out there, more than there is evil.  That the old good over evil is winning, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Except in my own brain a raging war is going on and today I felt like I was losing.  There is no reason for it, as there often isn’t with the black dog.  It just crept on over me over the course of the day.  Tears would trickle down my face and I had no idea why.

Sadness.  Such a horrible thing to feel all the time.  Having no sense of hope.  I truly hate it.  I very much want to be a positive, optimistic person.  I want to be one of the lucky ones who fought it and won.   I want one of those blogs where there is only sweetness and light, and summer and brightness, where you leave feeling like you have tasted a rainbow.

But that isn’t to be.  I am too real for that, too honest for that.  Too honest.

I should get out more.  Every fibre in my being is screaming to just curl up on the couch and let it all out.  Howl, scream – let the pain out.

I didn’t even wash my hair today.

I’ve struggled with my baldness today.  Each day I pop on my hair to simulate some sense of normality, but each night when I take it off, I am faced with the reality of never having my own hair again.

I miss having my own hair so much.  As I lay in bed next to Mr C and we chat, he strokes my head and I am so conscious of the loss of my hair, the loss of the fondling of hair that two lovers do when they are entwined.  It just isn’t the same.  I don’t feel the same.  I feel incomplete.

People will tell me, do tell me, that is only hair, that it shouldn’t define me, that I am lucky to have everything else in working order.  All true.  And all completely useless to the person experiencing the pain.  It’s really unhelpful to try to make someone be grateful to be alive by diminishing their affliction.

I talk about my baldness freely.  I hardly ever talk about my depression.  Is it shame?  Am I ashamed that I cannot be happy?  What is happiness anyway?  What is joy?  These are concepts that are foreign to me.  Baldness is easy to talk about – people can see baldness.  Depression is invisible.

I used to dream of a mental break down.  Is that an awful thing to admit?  I used to want to be admitted into hospital so I had something to show for my misery, some proof that it wasn’t all in my head.  I find myself laughing at the irony.  I need to prove this isn’t in my head.  Yet it is – buried so fucking deep not even a lobotomy could cure it.

The other night I ended up in a heap on the floor in the bathroom.  Mr C cradled me as I cried at all that was wrong with my life, acknowledging all that was right, explaining the guilt I felt at not being able to focus on that.  I cried so much – for the loss of my hair, for how people keep asking me if I have cancer, for the family feud that is ensuing that has isolated me so much, for having a child with autism who so very often takes his frustration out on me, for our other child who feels she missed out on the childhood she deserved, for being overweight and too damn tired to do anything about it, for not being able to grow my nails and being told how shitty they were by a nail technician, for the gaping, horrendous, massive loss of my mom.

I cried until I could cry no more.

Depression is a horrible affliction.  So often people don’t understand.   That is why suicides are on the up.  I am lucky.  I have support.  A man who loves me so much that he can separate the real person I am from the black dog that lives inside me.  Someone who is so strong, he can carry me when I feel I can no longer carry myself.

So many are not that lucky.  But know this, if you are one of those that feels alone, I am here.  I understand, I know that tempting feeling of wishing death for the sheer relief of it all.  Don’t give in to that temptation.  It isn’t a release.  Not for you, and certainly not for those left behind.  Call someone, call me.

I have to keep going.  Otherwise I would die.  And that wouldn’t do.  Life is worth living.  Even in my darkest moments when I don’t know if I can continue, something inside of me urges me to keep going.

So I’m off out.  Without my hair. Because that is me.

Tomorrow is another day.  A new chance to do battle with the black dog.

Until next time,

SHW Signature



The connection between Robin Williams, Emile Durkheim, Capitalism and Suicide

Depression Suicide

A couple of nights ago, I watched the Emmy Awards.  I didn’t watch the whole thing.  I just watched as I was flipping channels.  To be honest, I am not a massive fan of the Hollywood award circuit.  It is far less about the acting, than who is wearing what, and don’t get me started on how many awards a particular actor has to win for the same role year after year.  It all seems so, well, contrived to me.

I digress.

I was flipping channels, when I came across the “In Memoriam” segment.  Sara Bareilles sang “Smile” whilst pictures of those involved in the film industry that had passed away this year filled the screen.  As I watched it, I felt something in me slip away.  I had grown up with a lot of those actors – Mickey Rooney, Ralph Waite (from The Waltons), Meshach Taylor (from Designing Women), James Avery (from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Ann B Davis (from the Brady Bunch), Peter O’Toole, Shirley Temple, Harold Ramis (from The Ghost Busters), Lauren Bacall, James Garner, Bob Hoskins.  All of these actors held a special place in my heart, not least because my mom would play me their movies time and again where we would laugh and cry together.  My heart ached with the realisation that the light had faded just that bit more.

Then there were those who had been taken far too soon – Paul Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and of course the wonderful Robin Williams.  Billie Crystal paid tribute to Mr Williams at the end of the song and by the end I was a mess.  I could not stop the tears and snot from flowing.  My husband put his arm around me and hugged me tight.

“You feel the pain of the world so much, Sarah,” he said to me.

It’s true.  I do.

Robin Williams meant such a great deal to me.  He helped me find my bravery with The Dead Poets Society and I was watching Mrs Doubtfire at the cinema when I was given news that my first husband had passed away.  It would take another decade before I could watch it in its entirety, but I am so glad I did.  I loved him especially in The Fisher King and The Bird Cage.

He was such an amazing light, such an amazing gift, such an amazing concept (thank you Billy).  But in all of his tributes in the last week, I found there to be one thread – that he derived his sense of self worth from what he could give to others – to make them laugh.  Time and again, people would say how he would be energised when people laughed, so much so that he never really switched off.  And we took, we took until he clearly had no more.  And so he took his own life, leaving us all stunned and asking the question “why” when he was so clearly utterly loved.  Indeed, why does anyone feel the need to take their own life?

I read an article over on The Philosophers Mail about a sociologist by the name of Emile Durkheim who was born in 1858.  He had witnessed massive change in France, going from a largely agricultural society to very much an industrialised one.  He studied Capitalism, the driver of industrialisation (and now technology), and what he found was startling.

He found that in countries that had become industrialised and where Consumer Capitalism had risen, suicide rates had also risen, dramatically.  There was a distinct correlation between the wealth of a country and its suicide rates – in the UK it had doubled, in Denmark, a richer country still, it had increased four fold.  Out of these findings, he published a book, Suicide, in 1897.

Sadly, things haven’t improved.  I cannot say if there continues to be such a stark correlation, but I can say that the US comes 34th in the world suicide rankings,UK 37th, New Zealand 38th, Canada 40th and Australia 49th – all really wealthy nations with that you would imagine would bring a great quality of life.  Yet in Grenada, Saint Kits and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti and Nepal there are no suicides.

The richer and more affluent a country is, it appears, the more suicides there are.  Something is deeply wrong here.  We are losing people all over the place.  For over 120 years the suicide rate has steadily risen.  We have known about this, yet nothing, really, seems to be done.  Certainly, not enough is being done.

I once applied to be a Suicide Educator.  I had no experience in this field,other than my qualification in Community Development, and the fact that I knew acutely what it felt like to want to die, but the ad said that training would be given.  This was our local council’s response to a spate of young children who had committed suicide by throwing themselves in front of a train.  The idea was that a preventative measure would be applied, talking to high school kids about the finality and consequences of suicide and where they can get help.

When I phoned, the woman on the other side was very curt.  She sounded like the tired and proverbially underpaid, overworked government employee.  I didn’t get the job and apparently the program never saw the light of day.  As I said, not enough is being done.

Depression drives suicide.  Those that take their own lives have become so depressed that they cannot see the wood for the trees.  They see no alternative.  More has to be done to help these people see an alternative.

What that is I do not know.  But I do know that I am going to try.  I hope you will too.  If you know any of your friends or family are depressed, please don’t avoid them, don’t get tired with them, don’t imagine for a second that they are “wallowing”.  People who are depressed would be anywhere else rather than in the depths of the dark place that is inside their mind, believe me.  Offer to help, offer friendship, offer to listen.  Just listen.

Here are some ways you can help:

Beyond Blue is a great organisation that helps people with depression.  They have a number of activities throughout the year that you could get involved in.

Life Line is that place where people in desperation can call, anonymously, to seek help.  Training as a counsellor is possibly one of the most important things a person could do.

Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation.  They do some amazing work with the young people of Australia.

Sane Australia is another organisation that assists people with mental health issues.  I particularly like how they have a section called “Stigma Watch” which keeps an eye on how mental illness is stigmatised in the press.

Black Dog Institute are pioneers in the management and treatment of mood disorders.  They have plenty of opportunities to get involved and are seeking people to speak about depression.  For a bit of fun, they have also partnered with Inspired Adventures to do the Cycle to Happiness tour in Cambodia.  To do one of these tours (they did it in Bhutan last year), is definitely on my bucket list.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Much love,

SHW Signature








Robin Williams has died and the world has gone mad


I’m meant to be studying.

As I try to focus on my readings about how language determines thought processes, how most things are a construct, that before the late 1800s there was no categories of a person being either heterosexual or homosexual, it was just deemed that as a person you had the propensity to either like the same sex or the opposite sex, my mind keeps wandering.

I cannot concentrate.

Our world is in crisis.

Last night I walked into the kitchen, “Did you see this?” Mr C asked.

He had paused the TV.  On it was an image of a young boy holding up something quite large that had been blacked out, with something else that had been blacked out at the bottom of the screen.

I looked at my husband confused.

What you are seeing there is a Facebook status of the father of a 9 year old boy, holding up a cut off head, with the comment below of ‘that’s my boy’, or something to that effect.”

I looked at him, my hand immediately clasping at my mouth.   A little scream escaped.

It’s not a human head?” I asked, praying like hell it wasn’t.

It is, Sarah.  Apparently it’s an Iranian’s head.  The boy is Australian.  Apparently, they have fled to Syria.

Without warning, I just burst into tears.  A gnawing at my gut immediately gripped me and I had to bend over, resting my head on the bread board on my bench.

What the fuck is happening to this world of ours?  What is happening to the media that it feels it is okay to give this evil fanaticism air time?  I had an urge to find out about the story, but resisted it.  I had seen the image, I didn’t need to know the back story.  There was no story that would ever make that okay.  Ever.

All of last night my heart felt sick.  So much war and devastation, so much inhumanity.  Even though it isn’t right on our door step, we get to live it each and every night with images of people being blown out of the sky, and into smithereens, and body bags being chucked about and heads being held up like trophies.  Tears stained my pillow as I fell into a dark slumber.

And then I woke up and Robin Williams had died.  Robin Williams, who had given the world so much joy and laughter, whose wit was uncompromising, whose humanity shone from him like the brightest lighthouse for miles around, whose very existence gave us common folk a reprieve from all that nastiness that we have to endure, had taken his life.  Because, even for him, the world was just too much to bear.

Sadness does not begin to describe how I am feeling right now.  Twitter is agog with the loss of Robin.  If only he had known how very much he was loved.

We need a new direction.  Humanity needs a change.  The definition of humanity needs something new.  We need to let the media know that this is not okay.  That the forms of entertainment and news currently on offer are not acceptable.  Our children do not need to see those images.  They do not need to become desensitised to war and death and evil.  They do not need to see a 9 year old holding up a human head as if that is a perfectly okay image to see.  Oh my god, on so many levels, it is so not okay.

And people who suffer with depression need to be taken seriously, dammit.  People should not be feeling so exasperated with the world that they feel compelled to take their own lives.  Why are we not doing more about this?

Please tell me that you get this.  Please tell me that you see, as I do, there is a mental madness going on in the world and that we need to fight to change it.  Our discourse has to change.  Somewhere, somehow, we need to make this stop.

It’s hard to study today.  It just seems so trivial in a world gone mad.

Until next time,

SHW Signature



If you are feeling overwhelmed and you feel the need to speak to someone, please please call Life Line in your country.  In Australia, the number is 13 11 14.