13
Aug
14

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams

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The great comic, actor and legendary performer, Robin Williams has left us and the world now mourns the loss of a remarkable individual. Many were shocked but not surprised that he took his own life because it was well reported that Williams suffered from bouts of severe depression. His back and forth admittance for treatment of depression and substance abuse was even claimed publicly by himself on talk shows and he seemed to take it in stride and not hide from embarrassment. He named it and he claimed it but in the end he lost the battle with his personal demons and now he has taken his own life. I hope that wherever you are now, you demons have been quelled; rest in peace Mr. Williams.
So what can we take away from this tragedy? Certainly the most obvious lesson we see is severe depression can and does affect people no matter how rich, successful or well off they may appear to us. Depression doesn’t only knock at the door of the poor or those with I’ll health; depression was right there in the room with a man whose success reigned on stage and film, adored by millions. All his money, all his fame, all the kindness and generosity he poured out into the world couldn’t save him from self destruction.
Some say that suicide is a coward’s way out….I have to disagree. Williams was no coward. Hemmingway was no coward, neither was Thompson. Some people are born to wrestle with life at a more abstract vantage than others and when you add that monster known as depression into the mix, life itself can be a cyclical bout walking an existence of pure Hell on earth. Stop and try to imagine for a moment, a frame of mind so unsettled that you are willing to give up this precious gift of living because the anguish is too great to bear. A lot of us will be more understanding of an individual in chronic, severe physical pain wanting to end it all but when it comes to mental or emotional suffering we are more apt to feel this can be endured….not necessarily true people.
So what can be done to thwart this beast that causes people such emotional lows? I’m no clinical psychologist folks, but I do suffer from bouts of severe depression and I can tell you what helps keep the gun out of my mouth:
Don’t take people for granted. Let your friends and loved ones know that you appreciate them and enjoy their company-express that friendship. Don’t assume that they know you think they’re all right just because you go hang out together every weekend. You could make a big difference that one particular day when someone feels depression setting in just by telling them you think they’re a great person.
Don’t just text people you know or chat with them from your computer-go see the real deal. We all get lost in the age of technology because it speeds up our communication but we lose the human closeness with one another if that’s all we do. This will make periods of depression even more disparaging for someone who suffers.
Those who suffer; when you feel bouts coming on, start a log or journal and course the period of time when it hits you and when it leaves. Once you start charting your depression you’ll be more convinced that it is cyclical and will go away. It becomes more apparent to you that the dread will go away.
Last I would say that there is no perfect system. People will slip through the cracks and in spite of all our efforts, some people will take their own lives. Cherish those you know because tomorrow they could be gone and once they’re gone, they don’t come back. The only way Robin Williams is coming back is via recording and most of the people you know don’t have taped HBO specials….cherish them and let them know you cherish them….perhaps they’ll stay a little longer knowing someone wants them around.

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