I am assuming most of my readers know about actor/comedian Robin Williams. Patch Adams, Goodwill Hunting, Jumanji, Mork and Mindy, Mrs. Doubtfire, just to name a few of his amazing works. I first heard about it in the middle of working Monday night when my 15 year old said to me, “Robin Williams died, their saying suicide.”
I didn’t believe it. I said, “No, that must be a rumor.” But as the evening went on and more and more people were talking about it, I realized it’s true. And now more information is coming out saying that he hung himself. I’ve been having a very hard time wrapping my head around this. I mean isn’t this almost like the ultimate in a good actor? I keep seeing pictures of him and replaying lines I have heard and his infectious smile and laugh most certainly do not portray a man in such a deep depression that the only way out was suicide. And of course, I only know him through the big screen. I don’t know him. Or rather I didn’t know him.
And still I think many people are just wondering, why? What could anyone have done to save him from himself? And then I begin to think about death. I seem to be doing that more and more the older I get. I am actually very terrified of dying. Which of course always makes me that much more curious when I hear someone killed themselves. How much in the pit of despair to do you have to be to end it all in that way?
I get that he was in a very bad place and I’m lucky to have never experienced such despair. But this was a man who you would think had access to all of the help in the world right at his fingertips. One who spent his life making other people laugh. As a matter of fact I read some words from his children about this and his daughter said he lived to make others happy. He sure did a great job of it too.
So why couldn’t someone so funny and so loved by so many people find even one reason to keep going on? Is the negative stigma of mental illness so great that he couldn’t seek help? Was he not even aware that he needed help? Over the weekend I had gotten very sick (physically). I was in the worst pain of my life (and remember, I have been in labor 5 times so that’s saying a lot). I said I just wanted to die, but I knew that was the last thing I wanted. Although, I suppose if no amount of pain medication could have taken that pain away, then I might have really meant it. When do we cross that line from saying it, but not really meaning it to meaning it and actually acting on it?
Outwardly one would think Robin Williams had numerous reasons to live. He had fame, he had fortune, and he had family who loved him. And it wasn’t enough to save him. He was sick. He had an illness which couldn’t be pinpointed with a CAT scan and easily solved with medication. So what hope is there? I think that’s what gets me with suicide. People call it selfish and I think they do because so many people are left without any answers and so many people feel like, but I loved you and I needed you in my life when someone takes that way out. It’s probably a way to alleviate our own guilt in not being able to save someone.
In life Robin Williams was a great many thing to a great many people and in death he is too. I hope it makes us all a little more aware of those around us, a little less judgmental of those who seek out help for mental illness, and a little more proactive in seeking help for those who make suicidal statements. Because that’s what our takeaway should be from this tragic death, not what hope is there for the rest of us?
I hope Robin Williams’ family finds peace. And may Robin Williams rest in peace. Forever missed!
If you are experiencing severe depression, then use the number on the top of the post. There are people out there to help you and your life is worth living!