Now, that title alone is going to get some tempers flaring. No dood aboot it. However, while I wish Robin Williams, the world’s funniest man, was still alive – not for me but for his family who loved him dearly – I want something good to come of his suicide.
So, it’s time for me – a literary nobody – to throw in my two cents because as someone who also suffers from depression, I’m basically an expert, right? Not a fucking chance. I know a lot about my own diagnosis but on the whole I don’t know jack about the disease. Most of the people around me know very little about it either. Despite our supposedly enlightened age, society doesn’t allow people to talk about depression without feeling like lazy losers most of the time. Shit, my supervisors at work still don’t know I have depression. I don’t plan on telling them anytime soon. Or maybe I’ll tell them tomorrow when I get back into the office.
Look at that face. Really look at it. I’ve never seen that picture of Robin Williams before I found it in a Google image search and it haunts me. Before Monday August 11, 2014 I would have looked at that picture and said to myself, “Man, he has more talent in his forehead than some people have in their whole body”. I would have thought that photo was just about good acting. And on the particular day it was taken, maybe it was. But as someone who has depression (and is therefore an expert, remember…) I know there is more going on behind that face than anyone knows.
I had no personal relationship with Robin Williams. I never met him. I’ve never even seen him from a distance on the street. I only know him from his movies and interviews. But I’ll admit that although I was a huge admirer of his acting and improvisation skills, many of his interviews made me feel awkward and I was never able to figure out why until now. Watching his physical comedy, the constant hamming on camera, the contortionist in the interview chair, the never-ending stream of jokes and one liners…it reminded me of my own antics throughout my childhood, teens, and even into my adult years. If I wasn’t the funny one making jokes at my own expense, I was no one. Invisible. Lonely.
(For a great blog post about funny people and depression, read this: http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/robin-williams-why-funny-people-kill-themselves/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fanpage&utm_campaign=new+article&wa_ibsrc=fanpage)
If the coroner determines his death was a suicide and it was his depression that lead to that suicide, I want to say thank you for his celebrity passing. Maybe, just maybe much-needed attention will be turned to the topic of mental health and depression. I mean, if the world’s funniest man lost his battle to “the dark” and the literally the whole. entire. world starts talking about depression and the lives it claims maybe something will be done about it.
I’m not going to go on and on and regurgitate the same stuff that has already been said in the less-than 24 hours since news of Robin’s death broke. I won’t tell you a sad story about the tears behind every class clown you ever knew. I refuse to go into some pseudo-scientific explanation about medicine vs. herbal remedies vs. exercise vs. institutionalization. I am not going to jump on the soap box telling those suffering from depression to seek help. You’ve all read countless posts, blogs, and articles spewing all of that already. All I want to do with this post is say thank you to Robin. Thank you for bringing awareness to the horrible disease that is depression. If your death brings anything good, let it be that.