The passing of Robin Williams sends shivers down the spine and a somber fog into the lives of his millions of fans. Fans who felt like some of their fondest memories of laughing, crying, and being truly entertained, were supplied by the comedian/actor.
How could it be? How could a person who was such a beacon for so many other people - a person who had it all: a prolific career anchored in creative integrity, a loving wife, three children, world-renowned genius, and A-list fame - feel that life was no longer worth living?
He was called the funniest man in the world.
No official cause of death has been publicly declared. If Robin Williams did pass on by choice, he not die from suicide. As writer, Tom Clemson said, Robin Williams died from depression. Depression is a disease that does not discriminate.
There were public cries for help. A hyper-manic television appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show. In an interview with The Guardian, he appeared on the brink of tears, solemn to the point of morbidity, confessing that an unbearable amount of anxiety and fear drove him to a drinking relapse in 2003 after being sober for 20 years.
The darker shades of human emotion penetrate us all at different points in our lives. For some, depression is situational. For others, it feels inescapable - no matter what you have, what you do, or how you are perceived by the outside world.
The violence humanity is exposed to everyday, the terror of our own vulnerability, the feeling of being trapped in your own life - a denizen in a cage within the chaos of the world that will go on, unchanged, with or without you here - take over.
Dead people don’t have to endure rejection. Dead people don’t get bullied. Dead people don’t have to struggle to pay bills. Dead people don’t have to feel alone inside.
And sometimes, it is precisely those who know how to instantly light up others, who appear larger than life, empathic and present, are the most hyper-aware of the heavy nuances of this pain. They seek to liberate themselves and others through humor, through creative expression, through acts of godly service to humanity as a means of escape. Point in case with Robin Williams, Chris Farley, and slew of other iconic figures who will define America’s cultural richness of uninhibited individuality for the rest of history.
If you are in the grips of depression or fantasizing about suicide, please call the suicide prevention hotline, right away. With professional help, the intense haze of your racing thoughts and extreme sensitivity can pass. Ride out the feelings of wanting to die. Don’t trust that hopelessness. It is a lie.
By Alison Sher, J2SYL staff writer