On Robin Williams, Depression, and Suicide

I want to post something regarding Robin Williams and suicide, because it is important to me, and because I know that if you’re reading it, you might _need_ to read this. It comes from a dialogue with a friend. Please – if you have negative things to say about depression or suicide, keep them to yourself for now. This is neither the time nor the place, but an attempt to help heal those who might need it. Otherwise, read on.

At the risk of exposing something that I rather fear putting out there, you are right. It comes at moments that others would look at and say, “Yes, of course, it happened then…;” it comes at moments that would baffle others. It comes when one can fight it off; it comes when one needs help to do so. And if, God help you, you are by yourself when it happens… then, truly, God help you, because there is nothing between you and that gaping door but you. It is hard to remember friends when they are not right there – RIGHT. THERE. – in those moments, and love simply does not exist. And ___ is right; depression is a hero’s daily fight, and cowardice doesn’t come into it – ever.

But all of that being said, I have to say that I have heard nothing – nothing – negative about Mr. Williams’ situation. Still, that’s just me.

Speaking for myself, Dead Poets Society probably saved my life many, many times; and, ironically, Robin Williams himself _in_ Dead Poets Society probably saved my life more times than I can think of. It isn’t like I can look back and say, “Well, there was this time, and this time, and this time…,” but rather the fact that I know those scenes so very well and know that they flashed through my head at some critical moments. The same is true of Good Will Hunting, but I identified more with the boys in Dead Poets, so it touched me more. Not that Neil’s battle was mine; my parents weren’t like his. My struggle was always closer to Todd’s – Neil’s roommate’s. I WOULD have stood on that desk, and so, in a very personal way, I do say farewell to “My Captain.”

I only wish that he had someone who could have done for him what he did for me – and, I suspect, for countless others.

I post this not as some macabre expose, but because I know that there are people reading it. And I hope that maybe, if any of them are in that position, they can slow their thoughts down a bit and think through to find whatever thought(s) or person they need to get through just that second. And then the next. And then the one after that. Because – for me, at least – those moments are terrifying in their vastness, and “having a life to live” is too great a thing to contemplate. But having the next second to survive has been manageable.

I have been supremely blessed with a set of tools that many people don’t have; family members who get it; the knowledge of what has helped me in the past; the understanding of who might help again without considering it “drama” or burdensome, most often without the faintest idea that that is what they are doing – because who calls or sends an email saying “I’m reaching out because this is how I’ve chosen to survive these next few x increments of time”? I don’t know. I haven’t done that. The implications have been too large to consider.

And yet, I write this.

I do so because now I feel a responsibility that I never faced before; a responsibility to take a stand and make a statement.

I am not anonymous. But I have been suicidal. No, I’m not now, so I don’t need flurries of supportive or concerned emails / PM’s (though I do appreciate the thought).

But I want you, if you’ve gotten this far, to feel free to write to me – or to PM, or whatever – if it resonates, because I know that the anonymous feeling of writing into the computer might help.

Love On, people. Love each other. That’s how we survive.

And S – I love you, too. ❤williams robin dead poets society o captain my captain todd desk scene


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