Yesterday I read that Robin Williams the famous comedian committed suicide after a failed attempt to lift himself from depression at Hazelden, the treatment center in Minnesota that celebrities apparently go to in when they hit rock bottom.
I remember seeing a photo of him at a Dairy Queen on a friends Facebook page a few weeks ago. There was something in his eyes, some feeling that you don’t often see in a celebrities face.
I feel like I may understand a little bit about where he was coming from in this final act. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was a teenager. I was going through some incredibly hard years of growing up and found myself face to face with the troubling concept that nothing in life really had any meaning, that there was no point to any of this. Suffice it to say that the tumultuous teenage years left me with many scars, some mental and some physical, that now serve as a catalyst to remind me to move forward always – onward and upward – especially when I catch a glimpse of that dark place off on the horizon. I know what it is like to have arrived there, in that dark place that is indescribable to those who have never felt it around them, the weight of this absence of light crushing the breath out of the body.
Depression is a very real thing that exists within us all, I believe. The ones like myself who have been all the way down the dark road and contemplated ending it all have only met that which we all will meet. Depression leaves scars on our psyches, and if we utilize these scars to inspire us to “Seize the day” as Williams said in Dead Poets Society we can only become better people, and perhaps learn how to become happier one step at a time.
The hardest part about Williams death is that it tells us that all the things we think will solve all of our own personal problems, such as fame, fortune, family, and respect, actually, in the end, will solve nothing. It is up to ourselves to find meaning and happiness in this world and even the poorest unknown person in the far reaches of the planet has the ability to do so.
Let us respect the darkness and enjoy the light within all of us, in the passing on of a great man who gave pleasure and inspiration to many, many people.