When I first found out about the passing of Robin Williams, I was incredibly sad. This man that has been in some of my favorite movies for years, was no longer alive. When I found out he took his own life, I was not only completely shocked, I was heartbroken. This “happy” man who had spent his career making people laugh, had committed suicide. However, it wasn’t until I saw the tweet from TheAcademy on Twitter, that I started crying. “Genie, you’re free.” It wasn’t long before I saw some of the anger and backlash about that little tweet. “Suicide is not freeing.” People cried in outrage. “It shouldn’t be looked at as freeing.”
I could see the point of why people were/are saying that and I can see why people were upset by it. It does make it sound like suicide would be a good thing for someone considering it because that person would be “free” from their pain. Yes, Robin Williams is now free. He is free from the pain, sadness, and hurt he felt. He is free from the demons he felt he couldn’t escape. He is free from whatever it was that was consuming him. We didn’t know his story, but he is free from those things. But…
His family isn’t free… His family isn’t free from wondering how they didn’t see it coming. They are not free from the pain of his loss. They re not free from wondering why he did it or how this could happen. They are not free from wondering if they could have done more. Suicide may have freed him from his pain, but he left behind a world of hurt, a world of questions. I was talking to my mom after I found out about this and I couldn’t help but wonder if someone could have done something more for him or if he was just too far gone. I don’t know his story, but when something like this happens, I can’t help but wonder if something more could have been done for him or for anyone who has taken their own life or tried to take their own life. Why did he feel like he had no way out? It’s not just him though, it’s anyone going through this… this being depression and suicidal thoughts. I’ve talked a little about my own struggle with mild depression. I’ve watched family members hurt themselves, some overcame it, and some didn’t. Never once did I turn a blind eye to it or act like it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve talked about depression with them, I’ve yelled, and I’ve cried out of frustration for wanting to help and feeling helpless.
Society however has made it seem like depression shouldn’t be talked about. People should take their meds and move on. They should “get over it” and “just be happy their alive.” If only it were that easy. People have also made depression seem like it’s not a big deal, “I’m so depressed I couldn’t get this new whatever.” “Ugh, I really wanted to do this, it’s so depressing that I can’t.” No, that kind of shit isn’t depressing, you might be sad over something so tiny, but you aren’t depressed about it. Depression is a term used too much, too loosely, and not taken seriously enough for those who do actually suffer from depression. I didn’t always understand depression before I had it, but I always tried to understand it. It wasn’t until I experienced it, that I fully understood it. This isn’t about me though, this is about you, about us, about society.
If you are struggling with depression, please talk to someone, anyone. Hell, email me, I will talk to you and you can trust me. We will email back and forth as many times as needed and as often as needed. I want you to know someone is here for you, someone cares, and someone will listen, even if it’s a stranger. You are NOT alone in this and you don’t have to go through this alone.
If you know someone with depression, Reach out to them and keep reaching out to them until they let you in. Let them know you are here for them and that they aren’t alone.
As a society, stop throwing the word depression around over nothing. As a society, we need to make it our mission to reach out to those who do suffer from depression. We need to smile and strike up a conversation with someone. Put the damn phone down and pay attention to people.
Everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about and your kindness could brighten someones day. Never forget that.
R.I.P. Robin Williams, you will be greatly missed.