Robin Williams Was Not Weak.
I learned of Robin Williams’ death yesterday, as did the rest of the world. I had been wanting to write something about it, but wasn’t sure how to put it into words, until I saw the vast amount of tweets discussing how suicide is a decision made by the weak. The Sherriff’s department says his cause of death is asphyxia due to hanging. Suicide or not, it’s sad and it’s a loss to the millions of people he has inspired and an incredibly large loss to his family, whom will never be the same.
As for suicide being a choice made by people that are weak…I beg to differ. People living with depression are some of the strongest people I have ever met. They go through life struggling each day and their strength is an inspiration. We should not berate a man who felt hopeless, but instead work hard to prevent others from also taking their own life. Suicide is not a choice made logically. It is a choice made out of desperation and wanting the pain to end. When someone is depressed they don’t think of ending their life, they are only thinking of a way to make the pain end.
Robin Williams was not selfish. He was not weak. He was simply a man dealing with depression.
Many people put celebrities on pedestals and don’t realize that they, too, deal with emotional, physical, and mental issues. This shows that no matter who you are, what you do for a living, where you live, what you believe in, or how much money you have, mental illness affects everyone. We need to stop the stigma around asking for help, we need to start talking about mental illness and start helping those around us seek treatment. Mental illness can be managed most of the time, once diagnosed, but you must seek treatment.
Robin Williams did seek treatment, which shows us that he was trying to survive. He didn’t want to leave this world, he simply wanted the pain to end. He had recently checked into Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in an attempt to ensure his sobriety and stay on track. Mental illness is a disease, just as cancer or any other physical disease is. Do you blame someone that dies from cancer? Do you call them weak? No, you don’t. Just as you shouldn’t blame Robin Williams for his depression.
It shouldn’t take the death of an icon to make us talk about suicide. We need to discuss it openly in order to prevent it. Suicide is 100% preventable, but calling someone weak for doing it will do absolutely nothing to help. Be the solution instead.
Help and Hope are available. Call Common Ground for more information on mental illness or if you are in crisis. They are available 24/7 – 800.231.1127
For more information on suicide prevention, post-vention, and intervention click here.