11 September 2014

Robin Williams

First let me say that I'm at an age where celebrities I 'know' are dying. I remember being younger and my mom telling me someone had died - someone important, Like John Lennon - and I would shrug and move on. The death meant nothing to me as the person wasn't important to me at all. Not even a little bit. I'm aware of how heartless this sounds, but that's the way it was. Now I'm older and have enjoyed the performances of many people and and genuinely saddened by the loss when they die. This might be magnified because both of my parents have died.

When Robin Williams died I was more than just shocked. He reminded me of my dad (or of our mom, my sisters say) and it was hard to lose him. Keep in mind I've never met him or talked to him, just watched him perform and enjoyed his show. My mom made a comment about him when I was a teenager that stuck with me permanently. He was in the news for something and my mom said it must be difficult to be 'on' all the time. I asked what she meant and she said that he's a comedian and people expect him to always be cracking jokes and making people laugh. She said that he must cherish his private time as he wouldn't be expected to maintain the facade of joy and cheer. 

This gave me huge insight into how my mom saw people, how I'm expected to be when I'm in public and how I'm allowed to be in private, and how celebrities are more than just what you see on tv. All of this has been tied into Robin Williams, and my dad.

My dad did what he needed to do in public and at the same time was intensely private. While he didn't go on stage or tell jokes, he did behave appropriately for whatever situation he was in (with a few exceptions), and when he was alone he was simply himself. It would take a lot to draw him out and have him confide in you. For a lot of people it was too much effort, and that was ok with my dad. He simply accepted that and moved on.

One of the biggest problems I've had with Robin Williams' suicide is that the posts on Facebook and stuff in the media focused on his comedic talent. And he was funny! Joyously, side-splittingly funny. He was also a really good actor in some really dark movies. The public seems to have forgotten that he was more than his jokes, that he was serious too, and more than once. I want to stamp my feet and stop people from telling me how funny he was and how sad the world is now. It's like most people only saw the glossy exterior and didn't bother to look at the man himself.

I have opened the door to that horrible dark place that Robin Williams most likely lived in. I have felt that there is simply no point in continuing as I have seen everything and done everything that I will ever do. I have thought not of ending my life, but removing myself from the prison I feel like I live in. I can really understand why my mom would commit suicide and why Robin Williams would as well. And I can see why someone wouldn't necessarily reach out for help. When things are that hopeless, why would anyone be able to help? So why ask?

I'm glad that his death has put a spotlight on depression and mental illness, I just wish that spotlight lasted a bit longer.

1 comment:

manchester fat acceptance said...

his death was so hard for so many people, but in such different ways. i am sad to hear you've faced the same abyss as Williams and our mother, and i hope that it never comes again.

what had bothered me about the media coverage was that the articles and comments were so judgey about how we are suppose to talk and feel about suicide. it's such a personal thing and people need to be allowed to grieve in whatever way that they need to. most of the judgement comes from people who have neither experienced a loss nor been tempted to suicide themselves.

thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this, i think people can be helped by this perspective.