Gravity yanks us down, even a man as stunning in every way as Robin. We need a lot of help getting back up. And even with our battered banged up tool boxes and aching backs, we can help others get up, even when for them to do so seems impossible or at least beyond imagining. Or if it can’t be done, we can sit with them on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity. You know how I always say that laughter is carbonated holiness? Well, Robin was the ultimate proof of that, and bubbles are spirit made visible.
Like a lot of folk, I was shocked and saddened to hear of Robin Williams’ death and even more sad to hear that he took his own life. I think for those of us that are probably in Generation X, Williams’ death hits us hard because this was an actor we knew from the time we were in grade school. I was in third grade when “Mork and Mindy” made its debut in 1978 and I loved how madcap Robin Williams was. We grew up watching Williams on television and then to movies where he was able to show that comedians can do some great drama with movies like “Dead Poets Society,” “Awakenings,” and “Good Will Hunting.”
It’s been fascinating to see people open and up and talk about depression and mental illness in the wake of this tragic death. Like a lot of people, I’ve dealt with depression during my life. I don’t think it’s gotten so bad that I was actively trying to off myself, but I do know what it’s like to feel like you are living in a deep pit with no way out. As John Robinson notes, persons with autism are more likely to kill themselves than other groups. The isolation that comes with autism can just be too much for some.
Drugs and talk therapy have helped me, but none of that means that I’m completely healed. The black dog of depression is never too far from me. At best, I see my depression as controlled, and it can be a constant struggle to keep depression under control. It was a battle that in the end, claimed a great actor and comedian like Robin Williams.
I have no wise words to say. If you have depression, find someone to talk to and get help. Know that you are not alone. If you know someone with depression or is prone to it, let them know they aren’t alone.
As people have said before, may Robin Williams find the peace that he longed for in life.
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