So, by now I’m sure everyone is aware that the stories about Robin Williams’ death aren’t a hoax, he really is gone from this world. It seems that he was suffering deep depression and committed suicide. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of feelings from people about this issue. It’s mostly sadness at the loss of a great comedian, but there’s also controversy.
Apparently, some guy on Fox News (and no, I don’t even care what his name was) called Robin Williams a “coward” for committing suicide. People all over the internet went nuts, and there is currently a petition to get the guy fired. Now, I have to say, I’ve never been a supporter of Fox news or any of its employees, but I have to say something in regards to this topic. That thing is: the guy wasn’t totally wrong.
Let me start off by saying that the people online who are saying that anyone who’s never experienced depression, and I mean real depression, not just a bad day, have no room to say anything about the issue, they’re right. If you’ve never been there, if you’ve never been so torn down and pained that you’ve considered taking your own life, you have no room to speak about it. However, if you have been there, you have a better understanding of it.
I have been depressed. Not just a bad day here and there, but the kind of long, lingering, life-destroying depression that comes from a lifetime of physical and mental abuse. The kind that comes from health issues and rape and poverty. I have sat dow with a sharp blade and thought about ripping it across my wrists and letting the pain just flow out once and for all. I have sat down with a bottle of vodka and a bottle of the antidepressants that were supposed to be helping me and though about taking them both down, drowning out all the pain so I could have peace. I’ve felt that more than once. I’ve been on the brink. And yet, here I am.
I had no friends to talk to, no family to support me. I had no caring spouse, no loving children. I had no church, no internet, no money, and no one I could turn to for help. I was alone. The people in my life were contributing factors to my depression, and going out into the world pretending to be any kind of normal was torture. And yet, here I am.
I don’t know if I would call Robin Williams a coward, but I would say he set a horrible example and made a deplorable choice. Unlike so many of us out here in the regular world, he had family and friends and he had plenty of money. Even if those closest to him couldn’t understand, he could have bought better therapy, different medication, or even an anonymizer so he could go online like a regular person and find someone to talk to. He had more resources than most of us, and yet he took his own life. The man did wonderful work and was a gift to the planet, but honestly, I’m pretty pissed at him.
Some people say that calling him a coward or belittling his choice to end his life will only make more people shy away from seeking help. I think they’re wrong. What will make people feel more helpless and avoid seeking assistance is seeing someone as beloved as Robin kill themselves. If he, with all his people and all his money couldn’t hack it, what hope does anyone else have? That’s what people will be thinking. If someone talented and rich can’t get through, how can someone poor and alone? Robin Williams probably hurt more people than he ever took the time to think about.
I’m sure some will say that I couldn’t possibly know what he was going through. They’re right. I don’t know the circumstances. It doesn’t matter either. No matter what one person is experiencing, there is someone out there who had it worse, and they’re still living. They made the choice to keep going. Maybe their life was shit right up to the end, maybe it got better. Maybe they’re still trying and it’s getting better. In my mind I have yet to imagine anything so horrible that it can’t be survived.
While I’m sad at his passing, there’s an anger in me in regards to his choice. People looked up to him, relied on him for their own happiness, saw him as an uplifting force in the world. Instead of finding the strength to go on, he just ended it. He left not only those who cared about him personally grieving, but a whole world of others as well.
It’s hard for me to respect someone who just gives up. I can, in a way, understand people calling someone who commits suicide a coward. Killing yourself is what you do when you’ve given up, when you just want to quit. It’s the wrong choice though. For you and for everyone who ever knew you. You end your own pain and cause it in the hearts of so many others. It’s pretty shitty if you ask me.
And as someone who has faced that deep darkness and survived, I say that anyone can. No matter what you’ve been through. There are people who have been through far worse and are still here. Not just here surviving, but living and thriving. It can be done, even if you’re all alone. You can go on and it can get better. Ending your life only ends your chances of being happy one day, and begins the heartache of all those who cared about you, even if you didn’t know they did.
In closing, I’m going to reiterate an offer I have made so many times in the past: If you’re depressed, if you’re in need, talk to me. Contact me through the blog or FaceBook or my email if you have it. You’re not alone. I’ll do whatever I can. I have been there and I understand. You can make it, and I will help if I can. Don’t take that road, it is never the right choice. Live, and know that it will get better. Live in spite of the pain. Live in spite of the abusers. Live in spite of the darkness. Just live.