Tag Archives: Brian Smith

Robin Williams: 1951-2014

12 Aug

The world lost Robin Williams today.  I posted a series of personal reflections on Facebook and felt that I should share them here as well.

A word on the passing of Robin Williams. I can tell you from personal experience that depression and suicide are nasty buggers. Terrible for the person suffering, terrible for the people around the affected person, and in cases like Robin Williams, positively gut-wrenching for those left behind. I guarantee you, the amount we will miss Robin Williams as an actor and comedian does not even scratch the surface of those who will miss him as a friend, husband, and father. I truly hope Mr. Williams has found peace, and I hope that his family does eventually as well.


For those who did not know, I lost my uncle to suicide almost 11 years ago. My other uncle attempted suicide almost nine years ago. A co-worker committed suicide about four years ago. A friend’s mother committed suicide just last year. Multiples of my friends, and even myself briefly at one point, have either considered or attempted suicide. I know firsthand the pain one must feel to consider suicide, and I can only imagine the point one must be at for suicide to be the only answer. I also know the anguish, and damn near guilt, of those left behind. “Did I miss something?’ “Was there something I could’ve done?” “Did I say the right things?” How difficult and how sad. I take this moment to publicly acknowledge my parents and Mrs. Dersey and Mr. Seidelman for seeing me out of my darkest hour. Having been on the other side, I never in a million years would want to put my loved ones through that.


I’m a journalist. It’s been my career choice in some form or fashion since I was probably five or six years old. Given my life experiences, though, there’s a part of the journalistic style I cannot abide.

“Died suddenly.” It’s not been used today, because Robin Williams is a public figure, but “died suddenly” is often a journalistic euphemism for “suicide.” Why can’t we talk about it? Why can’t we let one person’s pain teach us a lesson that might give some sort of meaning to such a senseless tragedy.

The CDC reported that one in 10 people in the U.S. suffer from depression. Almost 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year. By comparison, 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. While cancer kills almost a half-million people annually, making it far more “deadly,” a disproportionate amount of attention is paid to cancer, while mental illness, depression and suicide are swept quietly under the “died suddenly rug.”

Ernest Hemingway. Freddie Prinze Sr. And now, Robin Williams. These are famous people, printed and well-publicized examples that all the wealth and artistic brilliance in the world might not be enough. And while they should be the conversation, they shouldn’t be all of it.

Jim. Chad. Sandra. These are the names of real people, people like you and me that suffered through their depression and whose deaths, if they had made the news at all, would have been reported as “died suddenly.”

“Died suddenly” should not be the same as “died silently.”

It’s time to remove the stigma that depression brings. It’s time to embrace the people who suffer from depression in the same way we embrace people with cancer or any other serious illness.

I’m Brian Smith. Each day I move one day further past my darkest days, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t keep myself and emotions on high guard to avoid ever feeling that way again.


What’s in a name?

5 Sep

For many people, there are great stories stretching back 69246237841 years as to how they got their names.

For me, there’s not so much history with my name but I’ve never had a problem with it.

Brian is an Irish name meaning “high” or “noble.”  Neither of those are bad things, I guess.  I think it suits me pretty well, and I guess after 27+ years it better, whether I particularly care for it or not.

To fulfill the full responsibility of the blog prompt, I insert here that I [obviously] haven’t any children. 😛

TALKBACK:  So what do you think of your name?  Where’d you get it?  Tell me in the comments.

[Blog prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/daily-prompt-identity/]


14 Jan

Well, I’m guessing I’m not doing too badly.  In my life, I’ve survived four brain surgeries, The Rapture, and the Mayan Apocalypse.  Not too shabby…

Either way, we’re on to 2013, which means New Year’s Resolutions.

This year I resolve to…

  1. Read more:  Reading used to be one of my favorite past-time activities and I haven’t done it near enough lately.  Reading soon to come includes finishing Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and reading V is for Vengeance, the latest in Sue Grafton’s “alphabet series.”
  2. Sleep better:  My sleep patterns need to be more consistent.  Some nights I’ll sleep as many as 12 hours, other nights as few as five.  I need to find my way back to the pleasant middle ground.  Some of that includes…

  3. Getting off of overnights:  Some of what is screwing me up from a sleep perspective is the fact that my sleep schedule is all over the map.  I work daytime shifts on some of Monday through Wednesday, and then most weeks overnight Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.  When you have a shift ending at 6 p.m. one day and another beginning at 11 p.m. a few days later, it’s difficult to find a sense of normalcy.
  4. New job?:  I’ve been working at the same place for almost six and a half years now, a period fraught with ups and downs, but overall a good period.  The issue I’m having is that, from both an hours and a skills standpoint, I seem to be reaching the ceiling there.  They don’t hand out full-time status willy-nilly, so despite my years of experience, finding consistently high hours is a bit of a struggle.  I’ve reached Front End Supervisor, and the position directly above it on the front end is something that has just recently been filled, and I don’t see it coming open anytime soon.  Perhaps a move to a different company may be better.  At least one opportunity has already presented itself so we’ll see how that goes.

2013 promises to be an interesting year, a journey that I look forward to sharing with those of you who read this.

An open letter to 8th grade me

19 Apr

Dear Brian of 2000,

I know things must suck pretty bad right now.  You’re still not sure of who you are, or you’re afraid to admit it to yourself, and most of all to anyone else. Continue reading

A quick note

18 Apr

Various and sundry life occurrences have brought me away from the blogosphere in recent months but I have returned! I’ll start with a few posts tonight to whet your appetite, and we’ll go from there.

NaBloPoMo Fail

30 Nov

I have pretty nicely failed at National Blog-Posting Month.

However, I do have things to discuss and consider, so I will continue to blog.

Coming tomorrow, a study of online friendships and relationships, something I’ve quite mastered over time.

Good night for now.

NaBloPoMo Part Deux: How I Spent My October Vacation

2 Nov

So today marks the middle day of my week vacation from my job as a cashier, supervisor, and self-checkout attendant at a local grocery store [name redacted to conform with company policy].

Everything’s been going swimmingly so far.  Yesterday, I slept from 5 a.m. to nearly 5 p.m. in a massive catch-up-on-sleep day, that threatened to make my sleeping schedule odd for the balance of my vacation. Continue reading