Rest in Peace, Robin Williams


Robin Williams committed suicide, and it’s heartbreaking. Not because he was funny, or a celebrity, or a talented actor. Because he was a person, and he was suffering. Suffering so much that no amount of wealth, fame, or love from his family could coax him out of the darkness. I know what place well, and while I don’t condone his choice—I hate his choice—I do understand it.
I have lived inside a mind that contemplated suicide since I was a young child. I don’t anymore, or at least I haven’t recently, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer from depression. Sometimes it’s low-grade, other times it’s debilitating. There’s a reason the main character in my novels wakes up in a mental hospital.
They say that the majority of suicides don’t happen from within the deepest depths of depression, and I believe it. In that deep trough, it’s hard enough to brush your teeth, let alone kill yourself. And once you’ve hit that point, you truly don’t want anything—not even death. No, the real torture is on the way down, and on the way back up. On the way down, because you know what’s waiting for you. And on the way back up, because you know it’s only a matter of time before it comes back.
If you’ve never suffered a prolonged bout of severe depression, what I’ve just said sounds macabre, negative, and depressing. But if you’ve been there, you know. And knowing is its own kind of freedom.
I hope to never been so depressed again that I contemplate killing myself. And I hope if I do, I make a different choice than Mr. Williams did. But however long I’m alive, I’ll keep talking about depression: its causes, its meanings, its healing. Because silence stems from shame, and there is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to mental illness.
RIP Mr. Williams. Thank you for all of the belly laughs. I hope you’ve found peace.