Robin Williams’ tragic death at his own hand may have a hidden virtue: a much-heightened awareness of the cruel, destructive, physiological disease known as Clinical Depression. (Which is worlds-away from “feeling depressed.”)
Since I know that “artistry (and youth) and depression” often go hand-in-hand, and so, a comment here about it might reach some ears who need to hear:
- Depression is a disease … just like a head-cold in that it is physical, only infinitely worse and more insidious.
- If you’re “in it,” you need above all to talk to someone. To someone who is trained to listen and to help.
- Suicide-prevention hotlines are an excellent resource … even if you are not contemplating suicide. They’re staffed 24/7 by trained (usually) volunteers. They have access to all kinds of resources, all kinds of perspective, and above all, compassion. They can help you to assess your situation (in ways that you, frankly, cannot …), and to point you to whatever it will take to rid yourself of “this accursed thing.”
- “Effective treatment” does not necessarily mean, “zombie drugs.” In one memorable case, the root cause turned out to be a food allergy … to broccoli. The human brain is a fantastic machine ruled, in ways that we don’t even begin to understand, by chemistry that’s measured in micrograms. It shouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, that it can “get sick.” (What’s amazing, really, is how rarely it does, which is “neither here nor there” for you.)
- Basically, you can’t effectively deal with the situation because you are on the inside. The disease affects your perception of it, and interferes with its own treatment. Whereas a well-trained outsider … is in the position to help you right-now in a meaningful way.
- Like a cold or the flu, Depression can utterly ruin your life … whether or not it kills you … even though it has no right to do so. And worst of all, you might not know what’s happening.
- If I’m talking to you … make that (anonymous, of course) call. Don’t try to buck this thing. Get help, and do it now.
Thank you. (From a former one of those “volunteers” that I was talking about.)
Robin was a courageous funny-man who lived with this disease, obviously, all his life. Yet, in the end, it killed him. May he rest in peace now. But, may his death also be a sober reminder to everyone else. Including, especially, and you know who you are: you.