By

Robin Williams

When I saw that Robin Williams had died, I was sad for the death of someone whose work had touched my life, but I did not cry. Then I saw it was suicide and — as twisted as this may sound — hoped it was to avoid the painful decline of a chronic illness. When I saw he’d been severely depressed, I stood in my kitchen and sobbed. Depression was that illness and he’d already experienced its painful decline.

I remember what it felt like when death seemed like my best option and am crying for everyone who feels the same way. That the world has lost someone who brought great joy to so many lives, that a woman lost her beloved husband, that children have lost their father to a cruel yet (usually) treatable illness is tremendously sad. That he is only one of the thousands of people who took their own lives today… I cannot find the words.

1-800-273-TALK. Put that number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in your phone right now. Whether you need it for yourself someday or for someone you love, have it available and, more importantly, use it. If you have had suicidal thoughts in the past, please put together a suicide safety plan. (The link is to guidance in the context of migraine, but it is best to put a plan together with the help of a mental health professional. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can also help with a suicide safety plan.) I hope you’ll never need to use it, but planning ahead could literally save your life.

Take care of yourselves.

4 Responses to Robin Williams

  1. Thank you, Kerri, for this thoughtful piece. I haven’t yet been able to put my feelings about it into words. I sat with my phone ready to post on Facebook and just couldn’t do it. Is finally taking his life at 63 “losing his battle” against depression and bipolar disorder? Or is it a victory to have made it so long, leaving behind such a huge, incredible, touching and hilarious volume of work? I guess, really, it’s both, and that in itself is evidence of the complication and treachery of chronic illness.

  2. Katherine says:

    Thanks, Kerri, for your touching post. I so understand how depression leads to suicide. News reports that Robin Williams died “in a fit of depression” (thanks Fox News), leave people who aren’t familiar with the disease thinking that depression just hits you, like a bus or a truck. There is no recognition of the creeping, insidious nature of the disease, and how difficult it is climb out of that black hole.

  3. Katherine, another excellent point. I totally agree.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *