This Isn’t About Robin Williams

“Many who try to bring joy to the world are often the same people who fight a great war within themselves. Every fight lost is a tragedy.”

The death of comic genius Robin Williams spawned thousands and thousands of (well-deserved) tributes and blog posts about not only his career and his life, but also his mental health struggles.

I don’t want to read them.

I don’t want to watch them.

I don’t want to hear about depression and opinions from people who just have no clue.

That’s selfish, but I don’t want to deal with it because I live it every day of my life, a life that I’ve questioned the value of more often than I care to admit. While I would like to think that I would never go to that extreme, I’ve thought about what the world would be like if I were no longer in it, if I could never get “better.”

Because of that, Robin Williams’ death wasn’t surprising to me. Tragic? Yes. Surprising? No. Addiction and depression are equal-opportunity destroyers, regardless of age, sex or class. And the thing about addictions are that they’re all just a slow suicide, no matter your weapon of choice.

So why do some people make it while others lose the fight? I don’t think anyone knows.

What I do know is that for me, it’s not about lack of resources, because if I want to get help there are a million places to get it.

It’s not about people not doing enough to help, because I know you have to want and accept that  support in order to pull yourself out.

It’s also not about attention. My dark thoughts aren’t about death but rather the fantasy of finding some peace—any peace—to quiet the storms in my head.

That probably doesn’t make sense, but I wrote a piece for Huffington Post about my OCD that I never shared on this blog because I didn’t want to be misunderstood. Plus, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with that reality.

But it is reality, and so are suicide and depression and all those things I don’t want to read, hear or talk about a lot of the time—all those things I am forced to think about all the time anyway.

Yet that’s probably part of the problem.

After Williams’ death I posted that quote above on Facebook and linked back to a post I wrote on depression.

The response was huge, both on that older post and to the simple quote. People sent me emails sharing their stories, and someone commented, “Thank you for things that you write. You have a medium where you can reach out to other people and truly help them with your own experiences.”

Whether he liked it or not, Robin Williams had a platform to talk about mental health, and maybe in some tiny miniscule way, so do I–whether through humor or sharing my struggles. If nothing else, I need the support myself on most days.

Of course, there’s no magic cure or easy answers. But what there is is support if you accept it, people who care and a dialogue about mental health that has been reopened up with another loss of life.

This time it wasn’t you.

It wasn’t me.

And if it was, it’s safe to say the whole world wouldn’t be mourning our passing. But somebody would. Somebody cares. And every fight lost is a tragedy.

Keep up the fight.

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35 responses to “This Isn’t About Robin Williams

  1. thanks for being real abby. “keep up the fight.” i will if you will.

  2. Oh Abby, I have so much to say but thank you for writing, for sharing, for fighting.

    ‘I won’t give up if you don’t give up.’

  3. hollowtreeventures

    Beautifully said. xoxo

  4. Amazing post. Many of us keep up the fight against the dark clouds every day, it’s so difficult some days and easy others, but it’s always there.

  5. Everyday I live is another victorious stab at the darkness within. Keep fighting the good fight.

  6. “… the fantasy of finding some peace—any peace—to quiet the storms in my head.”
    That’s it in a nutshell. Well said, Abby, well said.
    Rest now Robin. You deserve to rest well.

  7. Beautifully said and you are worth more to this world than you realize. Keep fighting the fight.

  8. Me too with depression. I am sort of lucky because I’ve gotten pretty good at finding help for myself and knowing what I need. But the problem with depression is sometimes, when you’re in your darkest of moments, you just don’t have the energy to try to get help…. you just want to curl up in a ball under the bed with your dogs.

    • Exactly. I’m glad you can recognize when you’re headed into that place and reach out for the help that you need. That’s truly the hardest part-wanting to reach out.

  9. Thank you for this.

  10. we all reacted to robin williams the same way because we understand.
    finally… peace and quiet.

  11. I hear you. The whole thing (mental health issues in general and robin williams in particular) just sucks. But I agree – tragic but not surprising.

  12. SingerWriterVanessa

    You said it right–Addiction is a slow death. You made a great point, I think the big reason many of us felt compelled to share resources was due to the shock of it all. He killed himself he hanged himself! and struggled with demons none of us really knew. He hid it well, and in turn touched so many of us.

  13. Amen. His death brought me to a dark place that I didn’t want to revisit by choice or for some rubbernecking.(as it did for so many others).
    Sad. Mad. and glad it wasn’t me.

  14. I’ve never met you; probably never will. But I love you.

  15. It is good to see people speaking about it. I’ve just written a post on my blog with a similar theme. Feel free to have a read. We’re not alone.

  16. My ex husband was an alcoholic, and toward the end of our marriage I fell into a 2 year depression. Without really knowing what was the matter with myself, I somehow pulled myself up before things got bad. I suppose it was because I had a best friend who just wouldn’t let me slip… But I dreamed of running away, not suicide, and had all kinds of elaborate plans. It’s not the same, but sometimes I understand how thoughts of suicide might feel the same to those further in the dark than I was…

    My ex, on the other hand, died a slow painful alcoholic death. Or maybe it was quick – he was 38 – but clearly his depression went further than mine, and unfortunately for him he did not have a friend or even family there to help him.

    We do have to want to help ourselves. I did, my ex did not, but in my case, I just needed one other person willing to give almost their entire selves to me to save me.

    Thank you everytime you share your depression with us. Depression has no “cure” it sneaks back into my life at the most unexpected times, but knowing I’m not alone, and being able to tell you you’re not alone, always seems to help.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I agree that for me at least, it IS like mentally running away, and I think addictions are a way to do that. They’re aggressive and all-consuming, no doubt, but they’re also a passive way to let yourself slip farther down. I’m glad you pulled yourself up, and I’m so sorry for your loss.

      • At the very least, I’ve learned to recognize the signs of addiction and depression in other people and can at least reach out to them to let them know they don’t have to be alone. You can’t make someone accept your help, or even accept that they need help, so the best we can do is just say “I’m here…” That’s what saved me, and continues to save me.

  17. “And every fight lost is a tragedy.”
    This is the reality. (buying shoes is so much more entertaining for most. Hard to look at difficult messy things.)

  18. This was so well stated. I am sorry you also have to fight the darkness. I think most people who turn to humor really have a dark place inside that they are trying to control. I’m glad you have managed to do that.

  19. Reblogged this on sunflowers & puppy breath and commented:
    “suicide” is an extremely controversial topic. I think this is a great description of many peoples situations.

  20. I read all your links and simply put, I think you are an amazing person.

  21. Reblogged this on casuallyconfused and commented:
    Thank you so much for sharing this. Very well said.

  22. You matter to me and your writing matters too. Don’t give up. You made an excellent point about how it’s all a slow suicide regardless of our weapons of choice. You’re totally right. I know we’ve talked about this before but it really struck home to me.

    I’m always here if you need me.

  23. Until this day all i can afford is just to read blog articles about robin. I dare not to watch anything on tv or other video sites and i cant read the news for myself for i have heard mh friends reading it aloud to me. He is very special to alot of people he ddint know existed and his death is really, really, tragic indeed 😥

  24. Thank you for sharing. I hope it helps you as much as it helps those reading.

  25. Thank you for continuing to fight the fight. You are an incredible human being. Do I need to fucking say it again? YOU ARE AN INCREDIBLE HUMAN BEING. xo

  26. The darkness is hard to keep away. Sadly some can’t manage it.

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