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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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To Live Will Be An Awfully Big Adventure

This week, the world gave a collective gasp as we learned that beloved Robin Williams had died at age 63, and the even more shocking news that he had committed suicide. It is a tragedy that will resonate for a long time, but hopefully will bring awareness and acceptance of stigmatized mental illnesses. 
No this is not a literary post. But I think it's important to acknowledge this, and because I can, I will. 

When I first learned that Robin Williams was dead, I was devastated. I've never really been affected by a celebrity's death before, but I was by this one. I really wanted to just stop working and go home and reflect. But since I couldn't, I had to wait until I came home from work at the normal hour to really focus on what had happened.

So I read articles, looked at pictures, and then I watched Hook. And that was the saddest part of it all. Robin Williams has always embodied Peter Pan for me. In my opinion, they could not have cast a better Peter. Williams was a kind, caring, and fun loving individual who never lost his child-like attitude and wonder. And it was so sad to watch as Williams says the last line of the film, "To live will be an awfully big adventure," when in reality he ended up believing what Captain Hook believed, that death was the only adventure left. It was very sad. And based on articles and social media posts, it was also very maddening for some people. That the man who said these things and many other wonderful pro-living lines killed himself, is too much for some to bear, and they have deemed him selfish and weak and cowardly.

And everyone has just got to stop that. Despite the life and truth that Robin Williams brought to all of his roles, that's all they were; roles. He was a very talented actor reading lines as characters. Williams was not Peter Pan. He was a man with a disease that many people fail to see as real. It is. Depression is very, very real. And it is a disease. Yes there's help, medication, and doctors, but that isn't always enough. And though people on the outside may see his suicide as a choice, it didn't feel like one. He knew that he had said the very words, "It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," but he did it anyway, because he had a mental illness. 

People don't talk about depression because for some reason, people think something that affects your mood isn't a big deal. People who are depressed are just feeling sorry for themselves, they could just pick themselves up and get over it. That is just not true, and it is my hope that the death of this wonderful man will help bring awareness to that. If there is a stigma it's hard to talk about, and if it's hard to talk about, people go untreated, and sometimes commit suicide. We can't let that happen anymore.

If you or someone you know suffers from depression, seek help. Depression is real. Do not sit in silence. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

1 comment:

  1. Such a good article. I so hope that the world's attention remains focused on this important issue long enough to raise awareness and for true help to become accessible for all who need it.