Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear for I wear a mask, a thousand masks, masks that I’m afraid to take off, and none of them is me.
from the poem Please Hear What I’m Not Saying by Charles C. Finn
The world is reeling from the news of Robin Williams suicide. It’s impossible for us to reconcile ourselves to the fact that this man who brought such joy and laughter to the world, could have been in so much pain himself.
If this teaches us anything, it’s that depression does not discriminate. from rich or poor, young or old. Here was a man, so celebrated and loved, by family, friends and the world at large. A wonderful and beautiful actor and comedian and by all accounts a man filled with such great kindness, and yet he was not immune. Depression and suicide, doesn’t make sense and there is no point in trying to do so. Depression is not a life choice, but an illness that can strike at anytime in anyone. And sometimes it’s a fatal illness, we need as a society to become more educated about the illness, to take it out of the dark ages and lift the taboo and then maybe many others who suffer in silence may be saved.
There has been outpourings of grief, sadness and support from across the world, but sadly there has also been condemnation as everyone tries to make sense in their own way of what has happened. But condemnation only seeks to diminish our humanity, and yes we are all capable of finding some level of compassion for others, if not understanding.
If you consider this, each and every one of us has felt despair and loneliness at some point in our lives, many have experienced the devastation of depression and for some the pain is so intolerable and consuming that they consider ending their own lives. Some survive, others do not. Look to your own experiences, open your heart and mind and just for a moment walk in someone else’s shoes.
Robin Williams has me laugh and cry many times, but never more so than now, as I recall the maniacal, jubilant and vulnerable man who was Mork from Ork. I’m deeply saddened by his passing and the world is a little emptier and sadder for it.
Rest in Peace.