Thursday, 14 August 2014

Dark reflections

The death of Robin Williams has shocked many. And, has sparked discussions in social media the world over.
Some sad, some confused, some outraged, some righteous and some cruel.
In truth, no one has the right to judge or condemn.

I apologise in advance to anyone who reads my following words, and finds them displeasing. If you have strong thoughts about suicide, perhaps it’s best to click away…

I've been in the deepest of dark holes.
Scared, alone and wanting an end to everything.
No more abuse - verbal or physical... of the most intrusive, personal kind.
Not another moment of the whole seemingly endless mind fuck that is a brutally damaging dysfunctional family.
Sick of being the only child, and therefore the one who bore the full assault.
Weary, at such a young age, of witnessing real life horrors.

In the very early seventies, treatment of childhood physical and sexual abuse and mental health issues were still rather unrefined.  Even if I had had the chance to "see someone", in those days, and be told by some sombre, authoritative textbook psychologist that, "things will get better when you're older", would've been bloody pointless.
Do adults forget how long 'time' is to a child?  Let alone a child who is treated in the worst possible ways by the very people who should provide love, protection, nurturing and supportive guidance through those tender, vulnerable years.
The concept of "older" might as well be a galaxy away.

Nor were the options to re-home abused/neglected children, carefully established... or, well regulated.
To find oneself in a “foster” home, only to be equally abused and treated like property, was confusing and terrifying. Devastating.
All trust, gone.

Imprints of multiple hands intruding on the most private, inappropriate places leave indelible scars on the soul, long after the blood has been washed away, and bruises have healed.
I’ve seen, and endured, things a child should not.
Decades cannot blur memories locked behind closed doors in the labyrinthine mind. 

Once, a Gillette razor blade was to be my salvation.
I sat on the cracked toilet seat in the old decrepit bathroom, hypnotically staring at the dull grey sheen on the deceptively sharp edge. The ever so thin metal felt cool against the soft, warm skin of my wrist.

The haunted mind of a hope-less child.

I opted out of death's release, and back into a life far more sinister.  A coward in my own eyes.

In high school, I was bright.  Ironically, I excelled in Human Anatomy and Physiology.
But, the dread of home life kept me from concentrating for lengths at a time. I alternated between focussing on lessons and fear of the inevitable three o’clock bell.
The bell of hell, I called it, as my stomach lurched at the sound.
During school hours, I found it was easier to play the clown, and make the other kids laugh.
My distraction, was distraction.

Humour can effectively cloak a troubled mind.
And, manic humour can be a cry for help.

I understand the depths one can plummet to. Regardless of status or position in this world.
Money can't quiet an un-quiet mind.
Drugs and alcohol can dull, but they can also disturb and provoke that which lies dormant for most of the time. Cleverly concealed by bravado and uber confidence.

Many people don't really see - nor do they really listen - anymore. Many don't know how to read the signs.
We, as a society, seem to have lost intuitive cognition.
We writhe in condolences... after the fact.

When I heard of Robin Williams' death, I think I might have been among the few who didn't question, "why?".
I was very sad to hear of it, yes. But honestly, I got it.
Deep down, I felt a release for him.

He isn't haunted anymore.

The shock of his death had people questioning, "Why would he do such a thing? He was the funniest man on the planet, had everything he wanted, was rich and famous and loved by all. I/we don't get it."

Celebrity isn't a ticket to sanity.

Many will say, "the drugs and alcohol eventually led him to it". As if people need a logical reason to appease their thoughts and questions.
But so often it runs much deeper than that. To times before substance abuse made the pain "bearable".
Rarely will we ever know the real reasons.

His death will be a topic of thousands of conversations around the water cooler for, oh, at least a few days.
Before the weekend comes, and once again at the cooler on Monday, there is "the game" to discuss.

Of course, I hope that Robin's death will cause people to look deeper.  Delve further into mental health with a quest to understand, and to treat those with troubled minds a little kinder, and with more mercy and compassion.

But, the cynic inside me gnaws at my hope like it is gristle on the end of a chicken bone, until the marrow is sucked out, and what's left of hope, dribbles away...

We live in a world of increasing disconnect. One where far too many of the self interested and absorbed seek a superfluous, highly maintained perfection.
There seems little consideration or tolerance for "imperfect" souls with tormented minds.
It's too easy to say, "get professional help, take some pills, then, dance, monkey, dance".
As long as the monkey keeps dancing, let's not ask questions.

Perhaps some people don't want to look too close... they might see something they don't want to see.
And it'll shatter their reflection of perceived perfection...

Rest in a trouble-less peace, Robin.


  1. I wasn't surprised to read of his death. His humor was manic, and a lot of people use humor to cope with life. Yes, it's sad, but I agree with you, he has found peace.

    I'm sorry your experiences were so devastating. Thank you for writing this post.

    1. Yes, humour is a way of coping with, or shrouding, the inner pain. Robin was a master at it.
      Now, the footlights have dimmed and the curtain has fallen for the last time. He can rest peacefully.

      Thank you for reading, and understanding.

  2. Yes.
    I too was unsurprised and hope he has found peace. He gave generously of himself - but the cost was high. Very high.
    This is a brave, beautiful and profound post. Thank you.

    1. Thank you EC - for all that you do. You give so much of yourself, and you understand.

      No, I'm not brave. Simply a voice in a sea of voices, with sadly, an oft' told tale all over the world.
      But, it's my story. And, I felt compelled to share - at least a small part of it.

    2. Yes, you are.

      If you think I am brave by writing what I write, then you simply have to ascribe the same back to yourself :)

  3. While we post lovely reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh and his beautiful words on FB, but how many friends would he have on FB if he lived now?

    These words are so brave, Vicki, and so well written. I know from personal experience too how deep this stuff runs. I hope that writing these words, and the gentle gaze that come back to you, feel honouring somehow. It is so important to have someone else SEE that stuff and to not walk away (even though part of them probably feels like it. I was thinking about this as I left the supermarket before and was walking back to my car, that everyone who has some trauma and struggles with it, and/or who has a mental illness, it's like there is this invisible layer that goes before them. People pick up on it, somehow. People feel discomfort when they encounter someone else's pain. But to think that that is where the story ends is to mistake the end for the beginning. We are all capable of feeling each others' pain, feeling uncomfortable feeling it, but holding it. It is surely one of the highest things that we can do for each other. It is transformative for both parties. It's what we have to learn to do better and what I hope Robin Williams' death might help to accomplish. At least people are talking about it. It feels good to talk about it even while you feel like deleting the post. You are brave to have penned these words. You don't know who you will help by writing them xo

    1. I know you understand, Sue. And you are honest and unflinching in the presence of others' pain. When others would turn away.

      It is always difficult, exposing a fragile part of oneself to the world. A certain vulnerability arises.
      But, I'm never so vulnerable now as I was when I had no voice, and, to a select few - no rights, as a child.
      I now have a voice that carries the weight of experience.
      One thing I have learned from years of inner reflection, is that I'm not to blame for what happened to me. The blame lays squarely at the feet, and conscience, of the perpetrators.
      The buck stopped there, and does not have to perpetuate.

      I hate that I was robbed of a childhood. I wince often at the memories that can never be erased. And, if people choose to stay at arms length because 'they' feel uncomfortable with what I say, then they're entitled to their discomfort.
      But, I'll never be made to feel the pain of emotional guilt and blackmail again. To a child, that is the cruelest of evils that an adult can inflict.

      I am grateful for those who, although never having had endured childhood trauma, spend time to understand with care and compassion. Their huge hearts and enormous empathy can make such a difference.

      We are capable of feeling another person's internal struggles and pain. But, so many fear this ability and block it (and the person) out, not knowing what to do when faced with it.

      Empathy, expressing and understanding is transformative, for both parties. The more our society comprehends this, then perhaps the walls could come down, and those who struggle, won't have to feel so alone.

    2. I'll drink my second cup of morning tea to that. *clink*

    3. Right back at ya... *clink*

  4. I hope he now has the peace he could never find before.

    1. Finally, he rests, and his mind is quiet.

  5. first of all, you/we are free to say our own views/thoughts/feelings, on our own blog!

    second, i agree with you.

    i too, know what it is like, to go/be so deep down, that there seems to be no hope. we each have our own demons, to (hopefully) slay. if anyone is without any demons, they will also be, without any empathy.

    who can judge, what goes on, inside any other person?

    who wants to be judged?

    but oh the struggle, to cease judging! to cease judging others. ourselves. we judge the weather, even, for pete's sakes. do we come with a judgement gene??????????????????? -sigh-

    i only want peace for him. i only want peace, for you. i only want peace, for all. no judgement. peace...

    gentle hugs,

    1. So true, Tessa. There are few who have not had, at sometime, inner struggles and pain. From pain often springs empathy for those who also endure it.
      Those who condemn have either something to hide, or lie - mostly to themselves, I think.

      A "judgement gene" :) We do seem to have judge, jury and executioner in our heads at one time or another, for sure it seems.
      We all seem to have lessons we need to learn in our lives. Hopefully, we pass the test given to us.

      Peace for all. A beautiful sentiment. Thank you.

  6. Oh Vicki: you know that I understand this post all too well. Parents.........
    I have learned a new skill this year, didn't even know until last week. I have compassion now where once I held anger and hostility. It feels so much better and I can release those feelings that come slamming at me from out of nowhere. I think the monks that lived with us gave me a very special gift!
    Re: Robin Williams.... I always saw that pain in his eyes and I could feel what it was about, no not surprised at all when I heard.... So sad, I loved Mork:)

    1. Dear Tracey. The struggles and pain you've had to endure also.
      And right now, you face more anguish at this difficult time. My heart goes out to you xx
      You were indeed very fortunate to be given abundant gifts by the monks - a very special time. They were there for a very good reason. For all, I think.

      I still struggle with my emotions, even after all these years. Mostly though, I just feel numb.

      Yes, I could see the pain in Robin's eyes - they truly were the windows to a tortured soul.
      I'll never forget the first time I saw Mork & Mindy, and fell in love with the zany alien who lit up my tiny portable TV screen as the million galaxies a minute, Mork.
      Nanu Nanu :)

  7. Oh my dear lass, it is torture to experience your pain through those words. It is the most awful thing in the world that you endured what no child should have to. But like you say so sad that so many innocents do suffer. I was sad to hear about Robin but not shocked. A release for him and hopefully at the end some peace. But I didnt know him. I hope that razor blade stays far from your skin because Im selfish and I dont want you going anywhere xxxxxxxx
    Rosie x

    1. Sweetest girl, our friendship bonds are too strong, and span further than the years we've known each other. You are a rock to me, and I wouldn't even contemplate it, never fear.
      After all, we have our FYP, don't we? There's too much to live for :)

      Love you heaps, soul sister xxxxxxx


  8. You are a true bright star, Dear Vicki! My heart feels so sad for what you have gone through... did not know. And then, my heart feels happy, for you have evolved from pain to bright star. :o) You are brave to share your story with us. I love your honesty. ((HUGS)) We are all capable of love and compassion. It's the choices we make, in how we reach out. Our strangel celebrity-fixated culture seems to twist things our of proportion. So much of society seems to expect ultra-polished unreal perfection... of which there really is no such thing. I think when sad news like Robin Williams death happens, people don't want to dig too deep. Such thing bring up big life questions. And many just want air-brushed/photoshop'ed reditions of a life. I've always believe that love is the strongest force in the universe. I wish many, many more would choose love first and express it in postive ways. Sometimes I think the only real thing I can do, make or give is love. I wish others maybe felt that way too. Image the world then!!??!! Oh, I remember my sister & watching Mork & Mindy... we wanted to be aliens... LOL! Nanu Nanu ;o) May we all dwell all our days in love and peace and know these things come our final rest...

    1. Oh Tracy, there is nothing so special about me at all. I am, sadly, one among many.
      I just want to reach out to, perhaps, others out there like me, that what happens to them is not their fault. And that they will find compassion, understanding and love from others. All they have to do is trust and share their story.
      Share the load that was not their burden to bear alone.

      The light that shines from within you is bright. You have so much unconditional compassion and love. If only more people had your qualities, we wouldn't be discussing such sadness. The world would indeed be a better place.
      Thank you xox

  9. oh Vicki,... I hesitate even commenting. Everyone on Facebook has been posting all sorts of things. It's almost like a small war has started over it.
    Everyone has such strong opinions and everyone thinks that they are right! I usually comment on things on Facebook but I've just scrolled past it and moved on. I've just stayed mum. I don't want to enter into that and battle over my opinion.
    But.. I know this is a safe place here, to say my opinion and it's only my opinion on the whole suicide/ mental health issue.
    First, yes you are Brave. It had to be hard for you to talk about the abuse you suffered, even though there are others who have lived that nightmare and sadly others who are experiencing it now too. That kind of horror and betrayal must leave a wound that never completely heals. You have somehow battled your way out of that darkness and found humor and beauty in the world.
    The fact that you are one of many doesn't lessen your suffering. You are indeed a brave warrior. You have accomplished what others have not been able to.
    That is surely what enables you to create the Art that you do. You were never a coward. You could somehow see that tiny flicker of light that was way out in your future.
    I won't get into my own childhood but it wasn't ideal. I didn't suffer physical abuse except for the twisted pinches of my brother. Mine was more mental abuse and emotional abuse and.... a lot of death and loss. Everyone and everything I cared about, started disappearing.
    I had no release at school but instead a teacher who held me up as an example and ridiculed me. I retreated into a shell where I drew and read. Suicide never entered my mind. Most likely because I dreamed big. I had dreams that some day things would be so different.
    Years later when my life turned around completely, my father started to threaten suicide quite frequently. I would beg and plead for him not to do it and tell him that I couldn't survive it if I lost him. My sister felt it was another example of mental games and quickly tired of it and said that he should get it over with then.

  10. During these years I drank quite a lot and the depressant of the alcohol created very high highs and low lows and I found myself constantly thinking about ending my misery. I think my father had made me think that was the ultimate answer to every problem...but I never acted on it because of my father. I knew it would kill him. I struggled for a long time and finally moved out of crappy apartments into a house where I could have a dog. After my Dad died, that dog saved me. The way she looked at me, the happiness in her eyes and the wag of her tail. I couldn't leave her...and THEN one day after a long time in dreary overcast world, I started to find happiness in small things. From gardening, my pets, creating Art, writing....I started to think about how there were so many terminally ill people who would gladly trade places for just one more day. Every now and then I will start to have a really bad down day and then I hear my subconscious tell me to knock it off, to get out off my head and count my blessings. I have my health, I have my animals, I have friends, my sister and nieces. How could I be so ungrateful to waste what others are so sadly losing?
    A woman at work has a friend who just passed away. He was only 28 and had cancer. He leaves behind two little girls.
    Maybe if an unhappy person could trade their bodies with someone that desperately needs a healthy one....
    OK, I'm not sure if I'm conveying what I want to say here properly but,
    I can see how a child trapped in a situation that appears to have no end would think about any type of escape she could find.
    I could see how someone suffering from a horrible painful terminal illness would look for a way out.
    I could see how an elderly person who is just "existing" in a nursing home, alone without family or friends should be able to be released from this world and from their tired used up body.
    ....I was surprised to learn of Robin Williams suicide but not shocked. The man was a master at humor and his brilliance had a touch of lunacy.
    I understand how humor can hide pain. I myself make a joke out of a lot of things to try to distract others.
    But I do think it's selfish to end a life if he could have used it for others in some way.
    They say money doesn't buy happiness but that's not true. Take it from someone who is living paycheck to paycheck, Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    Money can buy medicine. It can fund rescue groups and save animals. If it's a lot of money, it can talk people into doing what is right.
    It could motivate people to take action. It can save someones home. Money can be power.
    So...I think people, myself included, get so involved with themselves that they can't get out of their own heads and misery.
    Yeah...that's what I think. Sometimes it's the answer But sometimes it's just an easy way out.
    A permanent solution to a temporary situation.
    YES....Life can REALLY suck!!!
    but sometimes it's really great too.
    and it's really sad to to think of people checking out early when the best day of their life could be around the corner.
    anyway, that's just my opinion. Doesn't mean I'm right.

    1. Cindi, thank you for your very valid - and valuable - thoughts here. And yes, it is a safe place, unlike fb.

      I feel deeply for you, that you had to endure your own trauma.
      Adults don't seem to realise (nor do some care) how much it affects their children, and leaves them scarred, mentally and physically, for the rest of their lives. And, it takes a whole lot of internalising and healing to get to a point where things make some sort of sense... that it's NOT our fault, that we're not to take any blame on board, that we must shake the emotional guilt/blackmail - and then have to operate as a "normal" member of society.

      Like for you, dogs were my saviour. One in particular. A couple years after I ran away from home, I found a job, rented a house and got a dog... a sweet German Shepherd pup I called Max.
      I found how healing it was, to have a dog in my life. How caring for, feeding, walking and loving a dog can heal a broken soul.
      Now, I can't imagine my life without a dog’s love and companionship.

      Yes, money has two sides. The use and mis-use of it. And it seems everyone has their ideas on how (an excess) of money could be put to use.
      I would LOVE to be a lifetime patron of animal shelters and charities, contributing greatly towards to their health, wellbeing and foster care and towards finding forever homes. It would give me much heart and pleasure to be able to give back to animals, and thank them for "saving" my soul in so many ways.
      In a world of so much animal neglect and abuse, I wish I could contribute in a MUCH bigger way.

      As for what goes through people's minds, and hearts, I really don't think we, anyone, have any right to judge to be honest. Everyone's situation is very different.
      Of course, some may have selfishly, and irrationally, taken their lives - in the heat of the moment. A sad decision leaving pain and heartbreak in their wake.
      But, there are others, who have fought severe depression and have lived with a haunted soul for so very long, that all they want is final release. They have tried and tried and tried again to see every day through fighting the dark thoughts that consume every minute of every day. Despite years of “professional” help and family support.
      They have strived to beat back the darkness. And at times, it may seem like they suceed.
      But, there does come a time - for some, when they are so broken, that nothing, nothing can glue the tiny shards any more. Too much has been lost in the process.
      For these poor souls, an endless peace is sought. And, I get it. Totally.

      I am angry at those who've condemned Robin Williams.
      No one, at all, has the right to judge. He lived in a fishbowl, to a certain extent. Which gave people the right to think they "knew" him - or any other celebrity for that matter. And, they take it personally if/when a celebrity "steps out of line". *Except for the likes of Michael Vick… and I won’t get started on him, and his ilk, here :(

      We have absolutely no concept of their world.
      I always think... no one TRULY knows what goes on behind their closed doors. No one will know what transpired to send someone spiralling down into the black abyss once again. Clawing back up - one more bloody time, just might not be worth it anymore.
      We will never know. We aren't them, and we shouldn't put ourselves in their positions.
      Cindi, THANK YOU so much for your words. I appreciate it more than you know that you read my post, thought upon it and took such a wonderful amount of your time to contribute here.
      One thing I've come to know, I love my blog friends so much. Support and heartfelt words brighten my spirit, and I'm so grateful :)

      Now, go give your gorgeous furkids a great big hug from me - that's a true tonic for the soul :)
      I for one, am so very grateful how much you give of yourself to care for these - and many more - dear creatures. You are a soldier for the voiceless. And, a gem. xoxo

  11. I can't begin to feel your pain because I haven't been through it. I used to blame my faults on Mother ---with how she raised me. Now I realize that's ridiculous. I had a perfect childhood. Life is difficult or a challenge even with that & a loving husband.


    1. Life certainly is a trial at times, regardless of our backgrounds, I so agree.
      Sometimes, I feel as though we each have our tests and challenges that we must undergo.

      Thank you so much for your kind words :)

  12. I just read this quote and thought of you:

    The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
    ---Kurt Vonnegut

    You are not alone.

    1. Thank you so much for this :)

      It is so true. Art is an exploration, and experience, a journey. Nourishment for the soul when at times, it feels no other sustenance is available to it.

      I know, without it, the fire inside would sputter out...

  13. Vicki, I've tried to post two other comments...don't know what happened?

    I, too, totally got why dear Robin Williams committed suicide. I hope that, where ever he is, he knows how much he was loved and is still loved.

    Don't ever apologize for what you post on your's your blog, after all, and your words are always beautifully written.

    Blessings from one survivor to another,


    1. I think Google is playing tricks on people at the moment.

      Thank you for your words, Victoria. I believe, there is a soul connection between those who have endured, and lived, to share our sad tales xx


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