Money. Talent. Humor. Popularity. Some of the best-loved people are sad enough to take their own lives. Yet, there are those who would call their actions cowardice. Others will proclaim that we call too much attention to glorified Hollywood types.
In life, Robin Williams did something for many of us. His comedic timing was absolute. He made all of us laugh at what appeared to be his easy wit. I doubt that many realized he used comedy to hide his tortured soul. He was a good actor who donned a mask and fooled most of us. His death and apparent suicide should serve as a reminder of the fragile nature of every life.
I shudder when I hear someone call suicide an act of cowardice. Actually, I find it astonishing. How can someone feel so desperate that has so many things going for them? We hear it every day. There are promising students and athletes who take their own lives. There are those who suffer with the torments of post-traumatic stress disorder from war or other events. Many rationalize that their death will make it easier for the survivors.
In death, Robin Williams did something for many of us. It brought to the forefront the dangers we represent to ourselves. Mental illness is as real as physical ailments. It hurts. Sometimes the pain immobilizes the great. Depression is a very real event and should not be downplayed or dismissed. Just because you cannot see the bruises of another person, it does not mean that the individual is not in pain. Be compassionate. Be real.
If you or a loved one thinks that suicide is a way out of a bad situation, please contact a mental health professional. In the meantime, here is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. You can also go to their website at:
RIP Robin Williams. Thank you for the laughter and the tears.