I have been reading a lot and hearing many comments about Robin Williams over the past few days. It has put me through a range of emotions from sadness to anger, pity to condemnation, confusion to understanding.
I enjoyed watching Robin Williams perform, always have. Going back to when his character Mork from Ork showed up on Happy Days (remember?). He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me think. My anger and condemnation is not directed at him, it is at the people making comments based on ignorance of depression and addiction. It is at people that at this time of sadness and grief for his family and true friends, who are making ignorant comments and, in my opinion, are verbally harassing his family. How could people be that cold and unfeeling?
Now everyone wants to know whether he had drugs in his system, it doesn’t matter. It really does not matter. He just couldn’t take it anymore. We put people on such pedestals that when they fall, because after all they are ONLY human, that we all feel like they let us down. Well, maybe we all let him down. Maybe if people stopped the mentality of “Just get over it” or “Just deal with it” and made an effort to understand that he had a debilitating disease, two of them. Depression and Addiction, and the sole desire of these diseases is to want the person that has them dead. That is the sole objective of the disease.
Yes, I am taking this personally. I fight my own battle, millions of us do, but we have to do it anonymously because it is not “the norm”. But there is a solution if someone wants it bad enough. But these diseases trick us into thinking that we don’t want it bad enough, and I know most of you will never understand that and believe me, I am happy for you. But please do not condemn those that do have to struggle with these feelings.
I just read this paragraph on a blog called Between Fear and Love that, again in my opinion, really touches on how people with suicidal tendencies feel, I hope she will not be upset that I used it
My favorite priest once gave us an analogy. He said to us that someone once told him that people who are depressed with suicidal tendencies feel like they are standing in a burning building with flames all around and the flames are growing bigger and bigger, closer and closer. They can’t run through the fire, the flames will engulf them. They stand on the edge, waiting for the moment the flames die down, but sometimes the flames move so close that they cannot escape them any longer and the only way out is to jump. The jump isn’t designed to hurt anyone else or even themselves. The jump is designed to escape the fire that is all consuming. People jump from burning buildings. We instinctively search for an escape from the pain that we know has the potential to destroy our lives. Sometimes the pain is physical. Sometimes it’s mental. Sometimes it’s both.
Below are lyrics to a part of a song called “Illumination Theory” by Dream Theater that have always helped me to remember what I need to do to keep moving in the right direction.
To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light
You can face the darkest days
If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights
You will never be alone
Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive