It was a short text. Robin Williams died. Like everyone hearing the news for the first time, I was shocked. It wasn’t until hours later that I felt the profound sadness. The ache of losing someone. It was puzzling. I mean, he was an entertainer, an actor. Not someone I knew personally. And yet, I felt as if I knew him. I’m struggling with words, unsure how to describe why I felt this closeness to a television and screen personality.
The eyes are a window to the soul. How clichéd can I get? But to me, Robin Williams communicated with his eyes. They were filled with compassion …and pain. Understanding. Empathy. I don’t care what role he played, his eyes were the most discerning feature. They spoke volumes.
I am sad for his family and his fans and the entertainment industry, but my heart wrenching sorrow is for the man himself. It is often said that suicide is a coward’s way out. I don’t believe that. I believe it takes incredible strength and courage to end a life…especially your own. The pain and suffering must be excruciating. To be ill with depression while in the public spotlight must impose tremendous anguish. A never ending struggle.
I’ve also heard that it’s a selfish act. Again, I must disagree. The person who ends his own life is probably thinking they are doing everyone a favour by getting out of the picture. The world would be better off without them.
I don’t pretend to be an expert. I usually research before I write, but today I’m just writing from my heart. I’m spouting my views, the way I imagine it might be.
People – may I say creative people especially – have tremendous highs and lows. An actor immerses himself in so many different roles and if he’s a good actor – and Robin Williams was the best – he becomes the person he portrays. Even if the character is wholesome and good, it’s a brain drain for the actor. It’s all consuming. Combine that with the struggle to cope with the disease Depression and it must be overwhelming. Frightening. Terrifying. Painful.
I know how sadness and hopelessness and helplessness feels. And then there’s clinical depression. I can only imagine how that must feel.
And so perhaps the sadness and grief that grips my heart is for all the people incapacitated by depression.
If you suffer from depression and have not sought help, please do. Your life depends on it.