Actor/comedian Robin Williams just committed suicide.
Truthfully, I’m stunned, shocked, and devastated. I had heard that he struggled with depression, and had always looked to him as an example—someone to help me move forward as I battle my own depression.
His humor brought happiness and hope to so many people. And now…
I don’t know. Part of me just wants to yell and shake my fist. Why did you do that, Robin?! You were loved by so many people. You were an inspiration to millions! You should’ve asked more people for help! Others would’ve rushed to your aid to lift you up. So many people believed in you and loved you!
But there’s another part of me—a quieter part—that tells me it is not my place to judge. Depression and suicidal thoughts are so subtle and insidious that they can take down anyone—even (perhaps especially) the happiest of people.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings, please try to see your experience through the conversation now surrounding Robin Williams. Clearly, he was a funny, beloved, and inspirational man. But because of what he was going through it became difficult for him to see that. Depression and suicidal thoughts darken our world and sometimes make us feel like suicide is the only escape.
Please know that there is hope. While it’s extremely difficult to fight depression with thought power or “positive thinking,” I hope you can recognize that you are loved by so many people! You never know who you are inspiring. If you feel like you’re drowning in depression, please ask other people for help! Help will come, I promise. So many people believe in you and love you.
This is your life. It is precious and beautiful. Don’t take your life—live your life! Seize the day.
In a statement recently released by Susan Schneider, (his wife) said this: “On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope that the focus will not be on Robin’s death but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”
I couldn’t agree more. Let us honor Robin Williams by focusing on the profoundly amazing and wonderful life he lived! He had a deep struggle and he fought a good, noble fight (and made the world a better, happier place in the process). As one of my friends on Facebook put it: we should “Commend him for all the days he did win that fight.”
Thanks for all the laughter and the inspiration, Robin. And thank you for fighting for so long. You are a true hero and will be sorely missed.
**UPDATE – This article was originally titled: “Why I’m Angry at Robin Williams.” After one of my readers pointed out that this might be perceived as negative or sensationalist, I changed it. My thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt sympathies go out to anyone who is struggling to cope with suicide.