Robin Williams died yesterday. And America is in collective mourning. All of us together. All of us brought to tears.
I, myself, am devastated. And frankly, I’m confused by that emotion. People die every day. Good people. Tragic deaths. Wars. Lives are destroyed. Small, young lives. Innocent lives. All over the world.
So why did I cry myself to sleep last night because of one man? Why did we all cry ourselves to sleep last night because of one man?
Because Robin Williams killed himself. Robin Williams took a belt and hung himself. And we are all destroyed.
This is a different emotion than what we felt when Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose or when James Gandolfini was taken by a massive heart attack. Were those not self inflicted to some degree? So why is this so different? I think I know why.
Robin Williams’ suicide smacks us in the face with harsh truths about life and the humans in it: We are all fucking liars and we all believe the lies. We knew he struggled. He told us! “Oh. You were serious about that?!” We seem to ask ourselves today. He battled cocaine and alcohol. He battled depression. We knew this. We knew all of this! So why the shock? Why the despair?!
Because. It’s Robin Williams. Hilarious. Genius. Loved. Respected. Admired. Awarded. Lauded. Praised. Untouchable. Unstoppable. World Famous.
And if Robin Williams couldn’t win his battle with depression, how can I?
If Robin Williams didn’t see his beauty and talent, how can I see my own?
If Robin Williams couldn’t find any more hope in this world, how the hell can I?
That’s why this rips at our core.
We think entertainers are invincible, because they spend their lives making us laugh. We’re all happy and having a good time, right? But depression doesn’t care. Depression digs a hole in your brain and it destroys you from the inside out. From the inside. Where no one can see. Where you are rotting, decaying, screaming and crying. And all that’s left is a smile. A lie and a smile. A sure sign that you are just fine.
And in a well planned moment, that you have played in your head over and over. And over. And over… you begin to crumble. Your outsides can’t support the decay you’ve been hiding inside. And you take an action to end your life.
Because that rot inside?…that can’t be fixed. That decay?…that can’t be healed.
This is what depression tells you. Day in. Day out. Waking. Dreaming. It doesn’t care. It is relentless loud whisperings. It is scratches at your spine. It is slogging through pain and heavy sludge. Every moment. Every day. Until you break.
That’s what depression is.
And so I know it’s not selfish when someone ends their own life. It’s awful. It’s tragic. It’s devastating and sad. But it’s the only option left for those ravaged and desperate with this reality.
And It’s completely irrational. From the outside.
And that’s where we all sit today. On the outside of Robin Williams suicide. Trying to understand how we were all duped by his fame and his hilarity and the fun we thought we were having together.
“Oh. You were serious about that?!”
And he showed us he was.
I hope you are free, happy and smiling today, Mr. Williams. From the outside, in.