Thursday, February 23, 2017

On The Death Of Robin Williams

This was originally written shortly after Robin Williams took his own life but, for some reason, I never published it.
I am about to reveal something about myself that almost nobody knows. I have had suicidal thoughts. Not that I've actually thought of ways to harm myself but I've been in such depressive moods and felt such despair that I've gained understanding into why people do it.

Often when someone commits suicide people will ask why they didn't reach out for help. They will emphasize to others to do so if they're hurting. I've got news for you: I was under professional care and taking medication when I got that low.

The truth is that for me I understood that people love me. I could think of a hundred things to live for. I could think of a thousand things I would miss. Maybe that kept me away from the edge but in the moment they didn't matter. I just wanted the sadness to lift. I wanted to be free of the weight that clung to me like a thick slime.

From there I could see the abyss - I truly saw it in my mind - and I could see that I was closer to it than to reality. It seemed it would be so much easier to simply let go and walk over the edge than to try to fight my way back. There were no thoughts of right or wrong. There were no thoughts of religious condemnation. There was only thought of relief.

I wasn't afraid. I knew I could easily take that next step, and the next until I stepped over the edge. But I knew I didn't belong there. I knew, somehow, the despair was not real. There had been events in my life that hurt me and scared me so bad that they made me want to run away and hide and wallow in my pain - but they were not like this. This had an everythingness about it. There was no source, there was no trigger, it was just there and it had crept upon me.

In the end, obviously, I turned around. I made some changes to reduce stress. I stopped doing things that contributed to my emotional state (the cleanliness of my house suffered). The thing I didn't do was tell anyone about it - not even my doctor. I didn't want people to know. I didn't want people to think less of me for letting it get that bad. I didn't want people to tell me I should have called or reached out. I didn't feel foolish but I knew that kind of talk would have made me feel foolish. I didn't see it coming and I didn't want to feel like it was somehow my fault for not noticing.

My doctor knows about this now. She asked the direct question and I answered, "I can't say that I haven't thought about it but I can say that I haven't thought about actually doing it."

Maybe this has nothing to do with the situation or state of mind Robin Williams was in when he left us. Maybe he just said, "Fuck it." But maybe I can help someone to understand that it's not as simple or straightforward as it seems.

I will tell you this: If you're ever looking toward the abyss and you don't know what to do and you don't feel like explaining yourself, reach out to me. Tell me, "It's dark in here" and I'll understand. I won't ask for details but I'll be there for you. I'll distract you if that's what you want. I'll come hold your hand. I'll let you cry on my shoulder. I'll sit quietly listening to you breathe just so you know someone is there. I will just be there because I know that sometimes that's enough.

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