I am shaken up as the rest of the world by the suicide of Robin Williams. I’m angry, devastated, sad, and yes – betrayed.
Betrayed by depression, that monster that robs families of their loved ones and drives people to give up the greatest gift of all: life.
Betrayed by the fact that such a great comic and dramatic genius could fall so deep into sorrow that he would take that gift and destroy it – and no one could stop him, most importantly himself.
I will never again watch a Robin Williams movie with the same feeling again. He had the rare ability to make you laugh so hard your belly ached and to cry so freely touched by the emotion he evoked. He was a part of my growing up as a young child from Mork and Mindy to The World According to Garp. The list goes on…Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Awakenings, Good Will Hunting, The Butler.
He was there when I became a teenager, a career-woman, a wife, and a mother. He was always there. And I knew he always would be. That foundation has now been shattered.
Depression. It can strike anyone. None are immune. It has befriended me for every decade of my life. I’ve beat it back to have it return. I’ve been on the brink of giving in, but didn’t. I will never stop beating it. If I do, it wins. It can never win.
I believe that depression and creativity can go hand in hand. Is it because as artists we view the world in a more intense way? And in that intensity we can feel too much at times – pure joy as well as the deepest of despair. Such intensity is hard to process at times and mold it to fit into the normalcy of everyday life.
Sometimes we don’t succeed. But sometimes we do.
It can be a constant battle when you live in a dream world of expression. I wrote a post once about how depression can loom for writers more so during the holiday times and how we can fight it.
And we have this amazing power within us every day. The power to choose to live or choose to die by our own hand. And that scares me. I’ve been close in my life to choosing one over the other. I hope I never stop seeking help when the choice leans to the dark side.
CHOOSE TO LIVE.
Suicide. It falls on both side of my family – my adoptive family and my natural family.
My cousin took her nine-year-old son’s life with a shotgun and then her own. She was paranoid at the time and believed someone was after her and her son. She slept on the floor outside his room at night to watch over him. Some may ask, “But why would a mother take her own life and her child’s?” I can only answer this – because I believe she was taking them both to a better place. Because she felt she couldn’t protect her son and care for him anymore here on this world.
My son played for years with the wooden train tracks of his cousin he will never know, this cousin that will forever stay young. The train tracks were marked with crosses to tell them apart from my cousin’s friend’s tracks when they played together. Blood red crosses. I look at them, remembering my little cousin. They are significant to me. They represent life gone in an instant.
CHOOSE TO LIVE LIFE.
So I hug my son closer. I tell him I love him more. I let our small battles go. I fight the depression devil when it rears its head and try to focus on all I have to live for. When it overcomes me I reach out for help. I wish Robin Williams had found that help. I wish for all people in such darkness to find their way back before it’s too late.
And I found out not long ago that my natural father killed himself and did not die by car accident as I had been told. The “car accident” included plugging up the tail pipe to suffocate by carbon monoxide parked outside a church.
This scares me too. I understand the suicide temptation. Is there such a thing as a suicide gene? Do I have it? Will my son have it?
I don’t know.
But I do know I will keep fighting the depression demon. It can’t take me as it has taken so many others.
I choose them all.