Your childhood heroes passing is something you’re aware will happen. Human life has an expiration date. However, I didn’t expect to be hearing of the death of Robin Williams for another couple of decades yet, at which point I’d probably be explaining to kids who he was.
I definitely didn’t expect to see it on my Facebook feed at 1am and hoping that it was from one of those fake news story websites.
I tweeted last night that if you were to take only one thing from his passing let it be that we never truly know the demons others face as smiles and comedy are deceptive. Amber replied saying I should try and write a blog post on that very topic so here goes. I’ve mentioned on plenty of occasions how soul destroying depression is. Robin Williams death highlights how misinformed many people still are on the topic. Depression has a fatality rate that no textbook on the subject will tell you. We are not told of this fatality rate because suicide is viewed as a self inflicted situation and not a side effect of depression. The people that view it as something self inflicted and “selfish” are those who tend to never have had experience with depression personally.
The reason I describe depression as having “demons” is because that’s the only accurate description I can think of. It feels like Satan himself has assigned you his worst minions to torment you relentlessly. It is not simply “feeling sad”. That’s why it makes me angry when I see things saying that Robin Williams was selfish or “what a waste of talent”. That last one in particular angers me because we are talking about human life here, not an entertainment robot that exists solely to make you laugh.
I don’t know what he felt in the days, months or years leading up to his decision to take his own life. Nobody will ever know. But let me tell you this. Mrs Doubtfire did not commit suicide, the genie from Aladdin did not commit suicide, Teddy Roosevelt did not commit suicide. He is not his characters. He was a man who, no matter what he did as a job, had an illness and believed that killing himself was his only escape from the depression that plagued his daily existence. And, if I speak purely from my experience and not at all from his, when I felt like that was my only option I didn’t view it as selfish. I felt like I’d be helping those around me as I’d be removing a burden from them.
God speed, Robin Williams. I hope you are finally at peace.
“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” – John Green.