This morning I found myself in an odd predicament. Many famous folk have died before... even individuals I have admired in some shape or form but I have never shed a tear. Sure it’s sad and my heart isn’t made of stone, but crying over someone I didn’t really know sounded stupid. They have been so far removed from my world that I had no real affiliation to them on a sentimental level. This morning I lay in my bed scrolling through my phone and on discovering that actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away, I cried my bloody eyes out. I know! I probably needed to get a grip and the lack of food in me didn’t help, but I just lay there crying.
The death of Robin Williams felt like the funny uncle in your family had died. That one goofy chap who your parents would roll their eyes at but you adored him because he would sneak you treats and supported all your life choices. Even when your life choices meant that you wanted to be a princess and a power ranger AND a scientist, your uncle would be high fiving you all the same. He probably was the first grown up to let you drink alcohol and although it tasted like shit, he didn’t scold you for being a douche, but distracted you from vomiting by playing Frisbee in the garden.
I grew up with Mr William’s performances. He was part of my childhood. Mork & Mindy, Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook, Aladdin, The Birdcage and most recently this year I watched Good Will Hunting for the first time and fell in love with him all over again.
The news is telling us Williams suffered from depression for many years and this hurts my heart. It’s the ultimate irony. One of the funniest men in showbiz battling with an illness that renders you unable to smile most days.
I know I often write blog posts on frivolous aspects of life like “7 ways cheeseburgers have the tendency to piss me off on a Tuesday afternoon” but from time to time I emo out all over the place, and the motivational speaker inside of me rears it’s clichéd head. A family friend threw himself off a multi-storey car park when he was just 17, and although I hadn’t seen him for years… his death really choked at me. Depression is a disease. It’s not just an emotion you attribute to feeling a little melancholy because your favourite Game of Thrones character has been killed off. A known myth about depression is that you are overwhelmed with sadness and yes this can be true, but for some you simply feel nothing… a vacant feeling and intense anxiety.
Another common myth is that depression is a sign of mental weakness. To anyone who thinks this… go fuck yourself. For real. It’s a complex disorder that can’t often be ‘fixed’ with a shiny pill or some idiot banging on about ‘staying strong’ … accompanied with the false advertisement of 'if you're happy and you know it' memes from the internet. Tomorrow will come and with all good intentions to ‘get a grip’ you still can’t shift the dull ache of apathy.
And that’s ok. All of it is. But don’t think your problems are insignificant and do not by any means compare your struggle with anything or anyone. They are your thoughts, feelings, fears… and important to you alone. Seeking help is not easy so I am not going to presume I know you or your situation, but know that you have options. Ending your life should never ever be an option.
Robin Williams… sleep easy. You were awesome.