I remember watching Mork and Mindy as a child and running around saying nanu nanu. I thought Robin Williams was a talented actor and admired him for his ability to make people laugh. He seemed like “one of us,” approachable. I also thought that it was really cool that we shared a first name. And with his death, the world is a little less funny and a little less bright.
However, while I respect his wife’s request to look at what he did during his life and not to view him through the colored lens of his death, I am furious with him. Someday I will be able to enjoy his work without anger, but today is not one of those days.
I am furious because like Robin Williams, I have been suffering from severe depression. I don’t have a problem with addiction, but I could because the genetics are there and the level of my problems would make it easy to turn to drugs or alcohol in order to escape. I also suffer from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder compounding my difficulties.
Recently, I went through a very difficult time. I’m still recovering from the issues that were problems and believe that it will take me a long time to get through them. In February of 2014 there were several suicides in our community and they hit me very hard. Then event upon event escalated my feelings of loss and hopelessness. I felt I had lost my purpose and myself. I believed that many, many things I cared about had been unfairly taken from me. I was never a danger to myself or others; I wanted to stay in bed and hide from the world. I wanted to be numb against the pain and not have to deal with it and I wanted to live in my own little make-believe world.
To say I was in a bad place, is to put it very lightly. I was being treated with medication, seeing my health care professional weekly and trying to find some purpose. I didn’t believe that I would ever reach a point of serenity and I believe that I was very close to hospitalization for my depression.
I feel, in my heart, that Robin Williams took the easy way out. I’ll admit, I didn’t know him and I’m sure that his problems were enormous. But, I feel that he was selfish and that he had a responsibility as a public figure. He had an obligation to the rest of us because he was so loved, so talented and well, he seemed like the best of what we could be.
I’m damn angry that he took his own life and sent the message that he couldn’t deal with the problems facing him because every morning, since March, I have gotten myself out of bed to face the day. I have made the effort to pull myself out of the despair that I have been feeling. To regain my balance and to leave a legacy that I can be proud of.
I haven’t given up and I won’t. I can’t and I don’t know how. I couldn’t hurt those I love by leaving them with pain and anguish. Crap – I think that I just don’t know how to be selfish.
I’m depressed, severely depressed, but I just don’t understand. Robin Williams had a chance to speak to the world and make mental illness something less stigmatized. He had the ability to make others feel less alone and to change lives for the better. He could have taught persistence, strength of will, responsibility, compassion and understanding. Instead, he chose the easy way out. He chose not to fight for our most precious possession: life. And I’m horribly afraid that he may send the message that giving up is the thing to do. Because, it is not. Giving up on your life is not an option.
And that he gave up on his life makes me damn angry because every day I battle the depression and try to find a way through it. I may have a setback, but I don’t give up. I won’t. I can’t. But Robin Williams did and I’m furious because how is it possible that I have the raw determination to make it through each day, and he gave up?