Yesterday afternoon as I was watching the news, word broke that actor, Robin Williams had died. The coroner suspects he committed suicide. I am sure most of you felt the same as I did, shocked, sad, confused. Word spread quickly and people took to social media to express their feelings.
As a survivor of someone who has committed suicide, news like this always brings me back to my brother. On a cold, rainy day in March 2008 my brother ended his life. Alone in the woods. Mental illness is a terrible disease. Can you imagine living life in such a dark place, that the only way you can have peace is to end your life? I was reading people’s reactions on Facebook and it bothers me when people make comments about “taking the easy way out.” Sure, I know I am extra sensitive on this subject, but let me just say, making the decision to end your life…is NOT taking the easy way out. Unless, you have battled with mental illness and YES it is a battle, you have no idea what this person is going through. Suicide is not “giving up.” Suicide is a terrible choice someone makes when life becomes so painful, that they can longer handle life. They are not weak. They are not a coward. They need help.
Robin Williams death is such a tragedy. He was a brilliant, funny man who made us all laugh. He did good for so many and in the end he couldn’t find his own happiness. But maybe he did give us one final gift.
There is still a stigma about mental illness and more so about suicide. Maybe his death will help people see that we need to help. If you know someone suffering from depression, reach out. We need to do more to stop this disease that is taking so many people from us each year.
If you or someone you know if suffering from depression, please ask for help.
You are not alone.
RIP Robin Williams.