Not sure how to feel

Grief is a funny thing.

So is disappointment.

When someone is hurting to the point that they don’t feel they can go on… or make a plan on how to stop the pain by ending it themselves… Don’t they become the catalyst for the pain of countless others?

Is there, truly, a light at the end of the tunnel? Or do you think there’s a tunnel at the end of the light?

While you are considering that… I’ll ponder this:

Hope is fragile. Hope in someone who is going through a similar tunnel is a powerful thing.

Hey… Let’s follow that through.

Knowing that there are others in the tunnel with you may scare you… it also may make you stronger.

Tunnels are dark places. Places where a select few get to pull the weigh of the masses through the dark places.

When the leader decides to stop going through the darkness… many fall. Many are lost. Many lose hope.

Hope is a fragile thing.

Leadership an awesome, difficult and painful responsibility.

Like I said… I’m not sure how to feel but I do know one thing… There is wisdom in the insightfully simple words of Jimmy Kimmel:

“If you are sad… tell someone.”

Are you?


36 thoughts on “Not sure how to feel”

  1. I was in the past! TOTAL HONESTY and a TRUE DESCRIPTION!!! NEVER thought it would happen to ME! The girl that ALWAYS SAW the positive in everything. Okay- What is depression and complete darkness? I never thought in a MILLION years that my life would ever be at the point of sinking in the abyss and that happened 3 years ago. Even after losing people to suicide in my own life and feeling the anger of them giving up. Depression seeps into your veins, darkens your heart and electrifies your senses. It tries to dim any light of hope that might be flickering inside. It takes external voices from people that love you and turn them to static noise that you tune out. It makes your body ache in ways you never imagined. It’s as if every bone in your body is breaking and hope has been sucked out of your brain by a dark parasite that is now attached. You no longer see yourself as an asset to anyone, but a PURE BURDEN in life. Breathing becomes an exercise of concentration and tears fall until you are drained into oblivion. Those that are closest to you are the ones that you push the farthest and it is in the insanity that the voices you can hear are from those that you have never met. Think a note or a conversation is meaningless to a stranger? It might save a life? Know anyone that ever needed that John? Thanks! 🙂

  2. Yes,I’m sad For a couple Reason’s these Day’s..And As You said I’m Not sure What To Feel In either Case right Now.
    You see I haven’t Had a real Quit Moment to Think About it all.
    I know For Sure How I feel about the People Involved But Not at all Sure How some one feels about me.
    The Other Person I know How they felt about me and I’m shocked at the way things are and I guess I need to let it sink in first then I’ll maybe know what I should feel there.I know what People would tell Me in it all.
    But ,I don’t care what any one else thinks I should Feel with the exception Of one person ,and guess what I can’t ask them nor can they tell me.What to do ? Could U tell Me If I ask ?
    Yes,I’m very sad..And No one I can trust to tell My Problems to even sadder Hu ?

  3. John – I don’t know how to reply to your “thoughts”. You are an extremely deep thinker. I think that God blessed you with an imagination beyond belief and an acting ability that is also beyond belief. Your thoughts come from Him – not you. You are a fascinating person as well as a brilliant one.

  4. And in so many areas of our lives, we hope someone won’t just lead us, they’ll actually carry us where we hope to go. We enter the tunnel not expecting the journey to be as long or as dark or as hard as it really is. Pretty soon, the tunnel becomes exhausting. The leaders & others we went in with can only do so much for us. We find out we have to do the work to get to the light ourselves, and that’s when we make the choices that either make or break us.

  5. When I first read this posting I did reply, however I never saw the post so I have decided to send it out again with sew thoughts.
    As a parent and educator I always encourage children to find their voice and ask for help, we are not born mind readers. The problem comes when someone has a hard time speaking up for what ever the reason. Recently I spoke at a corner stone meeting about the social greeting of “HI HOW ARE YOU?” This is the typical greeting when we run into someone we know. Often the reply is a simple smile and “FINE” yet is the the truth? Is this person feeling like a misfit or a failure inside but is not speaking up. It is the expectation to reply with not saying much at all, yet there is truly much more to any verbal reply, what are the other forms of communication telling us (body language, head held high, looks you in the eye to name a few). However we,all to often, are so self consumed with our own lives to see the other person is really not “FINE” at all. On one level society needs to stop and really listen to someone when we ask that simple question, and if the other means of communication tells us the person is hurting we need to stop and be a real friend.
    Just last night a friend did just that for me as I entered church and was feeling stressed out over my father passing out on the front lawn just hours earlier, this friend took my hand and looked me in the eye and wanted to know why I was hurting. Not only did she offer up words of encouragement, but the hug gave me just what I really needed. We only talked for 2 or 3 minutes on the steps of the church but those few minutes made the world to me.
    We need to be more like my friend and see the pain in others, we need to listen to the person who may be having a hard time asking for help or is just sticking with the social norm of “FINE”.
    John sometimes that “leader” you talk about getting though the darkness needs to see the darkness in others to know they are hurting.Yes hope is fragile, but being in the right place at the right time with the right means of support, (a hug, smile, words of support or encouragement) does make or break the feeling of hopelessness.
    So what to take from this, is be kind to one another, really be there when you ask, “how are you?” Peace….

  6. Hi John,

    I’m no stranger to sadness and grief. I know I’ve mentioned this before. I’m currently grieving the end of a very long relationship, and I’m in the midst of a healing process. My close friends and some family have helped in my healing process, but I thought I would share with you that watching you, as well as the rest of the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard, has been helping me quite a bit as well. Interesting how a television show, it’s actors, movies, and music can help people deal with their grief. The show, along with some of your movies that you have been in, remind me of friendships and bonds with family and have been a great comfort to me, so thank you, John.

    Just watched you, John, in Doonby (for the first time) last night too. Amazing how just one person can have such an impact in a life. Makes you think about what might have happened if that one person hadn’t walked into your life. Would your life be better without that person? Just fine without that person? Or REALLY bad without that person? Or in my case, what if the person was the source of the grief? Gives me quite a bit to ponder over. I thought it was a totally mind-blowing movie, and what a perfect, handsome drifter you made.

    Before my current situation, I lost my mother to Breast Cancer in 1995 and she was only 51. I was only 25. It’s hard when you are so young and are still growing, and the healing process was very long and hard. It was for my dad too. I really hated it when the words of comfort people tried to offer was “I know how you feel.” It made me so angry. They couldn’t be me so how could they know how I feel? After a while I understood the sentiment behind the words, but I was still angry for a long time.

    I grew very close to my dad after that. Then a little over 5 years ago I lost my dad to an infection after a heart valve replacement. I was on Unemployment at the time so that was a double whammy. I was depressed as it was being on Unemployment, then I lost my dad on top of that. Some good came out of being Unemployed though at least. I now work for the Unemployment Department and I get to help people every day who are just as frustrated as I was. That’s a good feeling.

    But some pretty bad things can come into your mind when you are that depressed from grief or whatever bad thing you have happening in your life. Bad things came into my mind with each thing I was grieving over, the loss of a relationship, and the loss of family. But I somehow made myself a rope and got out of that dark hole I was in. Dark hole, dark tunnel, pretty close to the same thing, isn’t it? I guess I saw the light at the top of my hole, or the light at the end of my tunnel. Got lucky, I guess.

    Now I mourn for Mr.Robin Williams who was a great actor and brought much joy into my life. He was so young and I wish he didn’t have to leave us in such a way. Rest in peace, Mr. Williams.

    Thanks for posting this, John.

    Liz Landes

  7. John, you are so right. Hope is extremely fragile and the tunnels are blinding darkness. There are many in the tunnels and slightest spark of light from the simplest thing such as hearing “Are you sad?” can be a positive turning point in a life. So I thank you for posting this because it may be enough to make a difference in a least one life and that would make it worth it while. Thank you for being in our lives and sharing your thoughts. You are a truly powerful human being 🙂

  8. I’ve been in that dark place just barely seeing the light up ahead. I am proud that I have scrapped and clawed myself out of that dark hole. I’ve had to leave the people behind that were holding me back, they were poison, I don’t regret at all. Am I sad? Sometimes, but I choose to be more happy and see the positive in tough situations. I would never want to leave this world. That’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Watching Dukes actually helped me survive the trials of my life, for that I am grateful.

  9. I think everyone has a tunnel of darkness in their life the important thing is to realize that you are not alone and with help, you will see the light at the end of it and find the thing that makes you happy again

  10. I am a person who has struggled with and continue to live with depression for my entire life.

    Simple solutions like, “If you are sad…tell someone,” may work easily for some people but for most who deal with depression taking that seemingly simple step can feel impossible.

    Asking for help seems to be a difficult thing for many people, because it takes humility I guess – a much underrated personality trait. For someone dealing with depression it can be one of the hardest things to do. What seems like an irrational choice to others somehow makes total sense to you.

    Two things that I have learned (there seem to be so few) is that like exercise you have to do a thing regularly to make it easier. So that I can ask for help when I really need it, I try to ask when it’s not quite so important.

    Hey, can you help me move these boxes?
    I feel really bored today; do you feel like watching a movie?
    I’m having a horrible day today can I have a hug?
    Can you please pass the salt?
    Do you mind if I vent a little?

    What ever little thing you can do to make it easer for you to ask for help…what’s that other exercise phrase…oh year. Just Do it!

    The second thing I learned was to find something lighthearted in my life that makes me silly, smile and happy for no apparent reason.

    Lucky for me I have two: I love Star Wars & John Schneider – and not in that order.

    I also, don’t know how to feel about what has happened…but I do know that there are many days when I don’t want to talk to anyone and I can come here, read one of your posts, watch a television show or movie that you have made and it let’s me for at least a small time escape from whatever I need to.

    Thank you for being there for me since I was 9 years old. Without even knowing it or meaning to, you have been a lifelong friend who has helped me in ways you could never imagine. I am sure you have been there for countless others. I am glad to call myself

    Your fan,

  11. I think you are on the right track. although Im not sure If i am reading this message correctly. I believe you are talking about depression and the tragic loss of a well known comedian. Suicide and depression is no laughing matter. I know somebody who has scared me multiple times trying to commit suiside. We were best friends in high school. He helped me get through the death of my mother in the beginning of my senior year. A year and 3 months later my grandmother passed away. I have had some battles with depression myself but I never got to rock bottom. I fight against it with antidepressants, singing songs that I like and know well, doing some meditation, and talking my problems out.
    As a S.A.D.D member I raised awareness about everything. especially suicide prevention.
    If you know somebody who needs help. Do what you can or call in help for them. Remember it is never too late.

  12. So very well put, John! All of us need someone to talk to at times and reveal our deepest, darkest thoughts. Sometimes things may seem hopeless, but I think most of the time there’s a resolution if you really want to see one.

  13. Wow. There’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s so damn worth fighting for. No matter how much grief, no matter how much disappointments, at the end of that tunnel there are people who love you, who believe in you, who lift you up, who are worth fighting for and living for. At the end of that tunnel is a life that’s worth fighting for. When you can make it through that tunnel life only becomes more beautiful than before you went in that tunnel. Don’t give up. Never. Life is to beautiful.

    1. BTW…When you run into someone in your tunnel… It’s allowed to grab onto that person, it’s ok if you want to grab onto, if you need to grab onto. Even a leader needs a rest, someone who listens, someone who knows what they’re going through.That person is at the same spot as you. That person in there is as strong as you. They’re proving it by being there at the same spot you are.

      Grab on! It’s ok! You’re safe!

  14. Someone once said that sadness is an option, like happiness……In my 40s, I have learned a lot about that….and now, when I feel sad I call my good friends of life, …..but every situatión is unique and every road is a personal journey….

  15. Mr. John, I get it. I’ve literally been there. There was a relatively recent period in my life when my illnesses took over. I have Major Depressive Disorder plus some other associated diagnoses. I still battle those illnesses today. I wanted to end my life – and carelessly tried countless times for several years. Living in that emotional state is torture and one literally has blinders on and can’t see any relief coming at all. There is no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, the tunnel looks like it has caved in ahead of you and behind you.

    For those who may be reading this and suffering with those (or similar) illnesses, I’m living proof that there is relief but you HAVE to fight for it and focus on getting better. I’ve been in treatment and/or therapy for seven years now and it’s still an ongoing process but it CAN be done.

    Today – August 13 – is kind of a re-birth day for me. My last suicide attempt was three years ago this week. Three years ago yesterday I was moved from ICU to the behavioral health unit in the hospital (my third time being an inpatient for my emotional illnesses). I couldn’t sleep a wink. God was working in me and I didn’t shut Him out – I listened. I believe a promise and/or your handshake are the same as contracts. I went to God in prayer and before I realized it I had promised Him (and then my doctors, family and a few friends) I would never again intentionally try to end my life. I’ve clung to Him and with His help, my doctors and some very special people, I’ve been a able to keep that promise for three years now. I can’t say I haven’t been tempted to break that promise because I have been…but I made a promise and promises aren’t to be made carelessly or broken.

    Until or unless you live it, you can’t fully understand it. It’s a whole different type of darkness than any other darkness. If anyone reading this is fighting that battle alone, you HAVE to build an army for yourself. Start by going to your family doctor, a family member, a friend, your pastor, your employer’s HR Department, call the national suicide hotline, call 911 – call someone because as much as you feel you’re alone you aren’t!

    If I can make that kind of a promise and work hard to change my focus to trying to get my life back then you can, too. It’s one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do…but it IS worth it. When you finally start seeing some light in your future again, it’s one of the most beautiful lights you’ll ever see.

  16. “All of life hangs by a slender thread.”

    As you have said, we are feeling a mixture of feelings we have never felt before, and are not sure how to process. And I wonder if he ever saw himself as a leader; maybe not. (Your blog is happy to see you, just wish it were not for so painful a reason.)

  17. Jimmy Kimmel’s statement about the recent loss of Robin Williams is a very wise statement. For you to remind us of his statement is also very wise.

  18. Coach John,
    Your words keep resonating with me. I know many of us are experiencing deep emotions over the untimely death of one of entertainment’s greatest performers, Robin Williams. Many of us have had to search our souls for answers to questions that are unanswerable. But we must have faith which starts with oneself. Whether or not it’s God or the universe, we are a part of something bigger. Mental illness is pervasive and we must always think about better solutions for life’s immutable problems. I hope people will reach out more and find other people or reasons to live to get through the difficulties. Thank you for putting things in perspective or at least asking the questions about the tunnel. Is it light or darkness or a combination of both? We cannot say for sure, but we can have faith in someone or some entity hopefully the Grand Designer for we do not know all the answers, but we need to care. We need to share and help one another through life’s triumphs and tragedies.

  19. John – I know exactly what you mean by saying that you are not sure how to feel when someone takes their own life before their time comes. Robin Williams had a lot of health problems that I don’t think this Nation knew about. – depression, alcoholism, addictions to just about everything. He put on a good front but in the end, he caved into it. I just hope that on Judgement Day, God doesn’t take offense at his commiting suicide since that is again the Bible. I was a fan of Robin’s and was deeply shocked that he hung himself. I feel sorry for his wife, his children, his relatives and his fans! So, like you, I don’t know how to feel. I am still shocked about this horrible news!

  20. John, as a parent and educator,I always encourage the children to find their voice and ask for help, but often society does not give us the chance to ask for help. For example, recently I spoke at a Corner Stone meeting about the social greeting of “HI, HOW ARE YOU”, often it is just an empty greeting, and when someone replies with a smile and “FINE” are they really or inside feeling like a misfit and failure at life?
    Yes it is very importing to ask for help, but not everyone knows how. Sometimes we need to stop and listen to what is really being said in the “FINE” look at the body language and see in their eyes if they really need a friend and not just a social standard of “HI”.
    In times of pain and suffering we need to take that teachable moment and educate those close to our heats. It is never easy to accept death and all the reasons why, but to remember life is about living and being kind to one another even when it is not easy for us to walk away from our busy lives to be a real friend.
    Please realize my comments are not directed at anyone person, we all are part of this game called life and we all need to be there for one another and truly hear what they are saying to us on all the different levels of communication.
    So now we need to pray for those who are hurting that they can find peace, we need to be a friend when a friend needs us and finally we need to be kind to one anther because we are all on this journey call life.
    Have a great day, PEACE!

  21. We all have our high and low points in life, but at our lowest just that one small gesture of someone saying I am there. I care, I want to help can make the world of difference. I try hard to be there for others as I hope they would be for me if I ever needed them.
    Depression however is so complex. I don’t think anyone can really understand unless they have been there.

  22. I loved your analogy with the tunnel!

    When you are sad, disappointed or grieving talking (to the right person/people) can be a great help.

    Depression is different. Sadly, some people- no matter how hard they try, lose hope before they can find that person/thing that would help them.

    Yes, they do become a catalyst for the pain of others. If only they could see that.

  23. I believe everyone is sad in some sense rather it be the thought of a loss of a love one or maybe that miss opertunity in life. I think of my dad not being here no longer i do get sad. I spent my time to do anything I could for him knowing he needed someone to help as he could not do for himself. He was my father my best man and my best friend. A part of me was lost after his passing. I felt lost ,that person to call to get a right answer in whatever project I was attempting. Knowing a certain person now who I have looked up to as a child helps me along my journey in life. I am so greatful that the friendship and bond has taken place. To release the void of not able to do for my father no more brings great joy to me knowing I can help others in life. I will always be there for those who need a hand a ear a hug and most of all a good laugh. People help people all the time sometimes we fail to realize it. So I say to you im a phone call away. Thank you so much for this post it means a lot to get this out to people. Yesterday was a sad day to many but we have to live for tomorrow. Na-Nu Na-Nu you will be missed Robin.

  24. Depression is a horrible disease and affects people from all walks of life. I am prone to depression myself and I have even contemplated ending my own life in the distant past. I used to focus on the things missing in my life. I always wished I could play sports and do the other things my friends were doing. I also wanted a relationship with my father. He left when I was 5 and he often told me that my mom had raised me so that he couldn’t relate to me. The truth is that I had vastly different interests from him and most others in my family. I don’t know many 10 year olds who spent their days writing a basic computer program that functioned as a cash register. I loved numbers and I would rewrite the program from memory while adding a little to it each day since I had no way of saving it. God blessed me with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Relating to others is not something I am naturally good at but it is something I work at daily. A few years ago i got to spend some time working in the psychiatric ward of charity hospital in New Orleans. Everyday, I had to ask the patients if they were having thoughts of hurting themselves. One patient, who I will call Donna, told me, “Child, Donna loves Donna too much to hurt Donna today.” Her simple message has stuck with me all of these years later and I am thankful for her words of wisdom…

  25. Such a sad thing, we all surfer for internal deamons, somedays we win and others we lose. I find it very sad that someone si famous with all of his money and popularity feels so alone. Maybe its a wake up call celebrities are really human, a man like all others who dont have that kind of money, in need of someone to talk to but unable to reach out. Leason to be learned find someone willing to listen, if one person fan or not would of taking two minutes the outcome could of been different

  26. I hear what you are saying. I will tell you this, when you are in that tunnel you feel very alone regardless of the fact of knowing you are not.

  27. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, some people get too depressed to see it and don’t care about anything else but stopping the pain. Depression should be considered more serious because it can definitely kill you. Some people just cant understand what a depressed person goes through and instead of helping makes them feel even worse. “It´s all in your head” is one of the comments people make when somebody tells them about his depression and that doesn’t help at all!

  28. Yes, I feel very sad about Robin Williams. And now we’ve lost another legend with the passing of Lauren Bacall.

Comments are closed.