Farewell Robin…

Robin-Williams    When word broke that Robin Williams had passed , I was taken aback. It’s always sad when someone departs from this world and this was no exception. When the nature of his death was revealed it saddened me even more.

Everyone is aware that comedy comes from a dark place and unless you’ve experienced the black hole that is depression, you’ll probably never understand how someone could just end it all.

The natural reaction is of course he had everything to live for. He had fame, fortune and his family. He was beloved by millions and he had a long and wonderful career. He was a gifted jokester and when people watched him perform either in a comedy or a movie we knew we would be entertained.

I grew up watching Mork & Mindy. The first movie I saw him in was Popeye and I continued to watch every movie he did.

He was a genius when it came to improv and anytime you’d see an interview or a talk show he was on, you were going to laugh.

But behind his laughing blue eyes, the demons were fighting for control and unfortunately the demons won. When you look back on artists who have taken their own life, it’s natural to think- they had it all, how could they do this? We fight death, not welcome it. We do everything we can to avoid leaving this place for as long as we can.

People have had some pretty sad reactions to this. Saying mean and cruel things about his death. But those that do just don’t get it. Depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, PTSD and panic disorders are just that- medical disorders. They can take months to years to get a handle on and you’re never cured.

It pisses me off when those who’ve never felt depression sit in judgement of those who do. If they lived one day in the life of those who are affected they would change their ridiculous opinion. If you’ve never been in the dark, where you want to get out of so bad but you’re mind won’t allow it. If you’ve never tried to medicate the pain away, or sat and cried for hours until you’re exhausted and worn, you won’t understand. Being devoid of any sliver of happiness is something that a lot of people don’t get.

It’s hard to explain the emptiness that sits inside you. Money, fame, power, family none of it crosses your mind when you are in that cold place. You become numb to anything good and can’t see beyond the pain. You feel out of control, out of touch. Like you’re not good enough and that you don’t deserve what you have, hell you don’t deserve anything good in life. You will sabotage the wonderful things in your life. You will remove yourself from family and friends.

Many times addiction will play a huge roll. Why? Because drinking or medicating the pain away makes things okay for a while. You can function without the demons fucking with your head. This in turn starts the vicious cycle where you’re either happy or incredibly sad. The minute the drugs stop working or you sober up, you’re back in that place where you can’t reach the light.

It’s insane that we spend trillions of dollars to go to war, but there is no serious money to help those with mental disorders. The stigma attached to a diagnosis is humiliating. Those who don’t get it think it’s merely mind over matter. That you just need to keep busy and not think, or push through it and forge on.

The mind is a powerful organ that we know very little about. Health professionals understand the complexity of the brain. The epi-center of our lives. The chemical reactions that take place inside it and how it affects people haven’t really reached the masses. Stupid ass commercials that tout antidepressants fill the air waves but don’t give a view into what happens to people with mental  illness.

It’s so much more pervasive than it ever used to be and we don’t understand why. I’m sick and fucking tired of seeing or hearing people say that Robin was selfish, that he just needed to buck up.

What may surprise many is that a lot of suicides and attempts are split second decisions. Yes, there are those that are planned out, but there are almost always warning signs leading up to their deaths. Unfortunately no one caught the warning signs or maybe just ignored them. chalking things up to someone being a drama queen.

In talking to others who have gone down the path to end their life their reason is quite simple. They only wanted to end the pain. Ending their life isn’t really considered, they just want the pain to stop. The deep gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach, the things that haunt you in your life, never shut the fuck up long enough for you to get your bearings.

In the darkest hours every bad decision, every bit of heartache, every time you fucked up goes through your mind on an endless loop. Playing over and over until you don’t know where to go or what to do. You can have the strength of a titan but when the damn breaks, the walls come crashing down around you , you feel like you’re drowning in nothing but sorrow, anger, and humiliation. You truly believe that you’re friends and family would be better off if they no longer had to deal with your ups and downs. It sucks…sucks…sucks…period.

Behind a pair of beautiful, blue eyes that usually held a twinkle, Robin Williams was suffering. Those around him knew that he was battling against this disease. Yes, I said disease. If addiction is considered a disease than the reason for a lot of addictions is damn well a disease as well.  Regardless of how you feel about suicide in general doesn’t matter. It was obvious that Robin was in pain and had grown tired of the fight. Tired of pushing back against an unseen enemy that only he could feel. There are plenty of people who get it. Who can sympathize with wanting to walk away from the fight and find some peace. I believe this is the case. I don’t think he was thinking about anything but finding that peace. It’s always horrible on the families, they love the ones who are gone. They don’t understand how they chose to leave everything and everyone behind. But I think they need to know it’s not about them. When someone has reached that end point there isn’t a lot you can do unless you have an intervention.

Understand the warning signs. Are you’re loved ones isolating themselves from you and the world? That’s a huge red flag and a place where you can intervene. We need to connect with others, it’s human nature. We aren’t meant to be solitary beings so when you see someone moving away from people, places & things take heed.

Coping with mental health isn’t all about finding the right medications. That can take a lot of time to find the right ones, with the right dosages. Even if you do find that perfect pill, it can eventually stop working. Keeping yourself healthy encompasses all facets of life. From diet and exercise to meds and therapy. You have to learn about coping with your illness and it takes time to learn those skills. Stress, feeling pressure verbal, mental and physical harm caused by others can railroad a person on the right path and knock them on their asses.

So what can you do? PAY ATTENTION! If someone is withdrawing from life know that their in trouble. Whether you choose to help them or not is up to you and it can be hard, but don’t make it worse.

Don’t add to the stress. Don’t intentionally cause them pain. Don’t turn their world upside down with lies and betrayal. Don’t help them lose their faith in humanity, in themselves. DON’T WALK AWAY…. be there for them, good or bad. You can’t fix them but your presence can remind them that they are loved and needed and worthy.

I’m passionate about this because I know the affects mental health diseases have on people and their loved ones. I’ve lived it.

In his death Robin Williams has hopefully opened the door to understanding. I hope it will make people think about mental health in a different way. His death can bring about a brand new dialogue about Mental Health issues and the need for the government to really give a damn about the millions of people who suffer everyday.

As my family doctor told me, Mental issues are no different from cancer or heart disease and shouldn’t be treated any differently. Chemical reactions in the brain isn’t something that can be controlled with strength of will. You can’t wish heart disease or cancer away. And you can’t wish away your depression. I hope Robin’s legacy will include not only his acting, comedy and good works. I hope this tragedy will put these issues on the fore front for more than a few days. I hope that it will lead to new treatments and hope for those who suffer everyday and just want to escape the black cloud that hovers over them.

Please know that there is help.

No one has to go through this alone.

Compassion, caring and love is out there.

Fight for your life!

Click here for the National Suicide Hot Line

Or call

1-800-273-8255

They are available 24/7

Peace and love,

     Sierra

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