I’m just gonna come out and say this: It’s a sad day indeed when the most hilarious man on the face of this earth takes his own life.
The world will remember Robin Williams as a comedic genius with an insane amount of energy. In my mind, he must have been so fun to be with. Laughs all around and good times were let to roll. But we’ll never know what kind of internal battles he was fighting on a minute to minute basis. Peace didn’t come with fame or wealth or age or experience.
We’re all so shocked–and I didn’t know him personally, but I bet those that did can probably pinpoint the warning signs looking back. Humor masked his broken heart and alcohol fueled an already out-of-control fire. This man–this poor, poor man–was screaming in his soul and he just could not stop.
People try to say that mental illness is–well–all in your head. It’s so not. It courses in your veins. It churns in your stomach, compresses your lungs, clouds your vision, grates your nerves, shakes your hands, tightens your chest, stabs your heart. It’s in the air you can’t breathe, and the food you’re not hungry for, and the people you sometimes just don’t have the energy to love.
Depression is dark, and draining, and lonely. A person suffering from mental illness will always be fighting it. They need access to every weapon in the arsenal–medication, counseling, healthy food, exercise, a strong support network of friends and family, and Jesus. They need people who they can trust, people they can cry with, pray with–and of course someone who will push them relentlessly on the days they don’t have the stamina to continue by themselves.
Sadly, sometimes the people who are in a position to help the most will only offer up a judgy Facebook article on the benefits of a gluten-free diet.
It’s hard to understand if you haven’t walked 1000 miles in those heavy, fugly shoes.
I can’t leave you with some inspirational verse that will just “solve” depression as if it were merely a state of mind that a person could change at will. But I’ll say this: mental illness is that—an illness, which as we know, this world is chock full of. There is no shame in using the tools God allowed on this great green earth to treat it. There is no shame in admitting a weakness or 20. There’s no shame in asking for help.
And people who are suffering should be able to find help in this country. Mental illness should not be so taboo. And hope should not seem so far out of reach that a man–who has brought joy and laughter to millions of people around the world–feels there is no end to that painful black tunnel.
Take heart you guys. And help your friends.