Robin Williams You Will Be Missed…..
What a huge loss to hear that Robin Williams passed away. First hearing the news via Facebook (is it strange to anyone else that we get our news from FB?) I felt incredibly sad. His death was a bit more heartbreaking than others. To me Robin Williams was so full of life, living a very full life. Was it a heart attack? How did he end up unconscious? All questions I quickly asked myself. Then to my shock we all realized he actually killed himself. That news made it all even more of a loss, that he was so desperate, he killed himself. Death was better than life for him at that moment. Heartbreaking.
Have you ever wondered why as a society we don’t like to talk about hard things? When seeing a friend at the grocery store we ask, “How are you?” The friend simply replies, “Great and you?” Rare would it be if we actually were truly honest and shared our troubled mind, our troubled life our worries or doubts.
I had a conversation last week with someone about this very topic. (Except of course knowing that one of the greatest actors, choose to die rather than live.) How being honest, really showing our struggles and speaking our truths is hard or nearly impossible to do. I used facebook as an example. By the looks of things, outside looking in, it looks like most of us all have our shit together. Our lives are beautiful, polished and fulfilled. Facebook has made it easy to showcase our lives in a way we all can be stars in our own minds. Yet how many on your friends list, is contemplating suicide today? How many so-called “Friends” cry themselves to sleep every night, struggling to pay bills?
During the same conversation last week I was reminded that Facebook was not the start of this. For us it began long ago in a different way. A little place called church was where we both learned how to hide the very core of what was going on inside of each of us. Think about it? You go to church, you dress nice you smile, and you shake hands all with happiness. You act the part, you must look joyful and you must look like you have it a together. For those of you who go to church, have you ever felt this way? You are asked, “How are you?” and your reply is? “Great” We must match our nice clothes, our smile and have others believe our life is wonderful, our life is blessed and we are content.
Yesterday with the crushing blow of Robin Williams taking his life, it has made me think about of what is expected of all of us. The pressures we face every day to stay content, to keep our problems tucked nicely hidden so no one can see.
Robin Williams was so loved by so many. He was hugely successful, talented, funny, creative and so much more. Yet he struggled for years with a sadness that ultimately took his life. No matter how many tears his family cries over the years to come, he will never be able to say he loves them again. Mental illness is a tricky thing. It is hard to overcome and it is hard to understand.
But what if we as a society begins to slowly let our guard down? What if when we asked about someone, we truly mean we want to know what is going on in your life? What if when we ask, “How are you” we really meant it? We really mean to say, “No really, how are you?” we then take the time to listen to the hurt of others. We take the time for one extra hug. Then we take it a step further and follow through. We email or text that person to see how there week is going.
Technology has made it easy for us to disappear, to hide in our smart phones. Not engaging in conversation while out in society. Making it easier to burry the pain deep within us. The problem is that one day that pain may be so great, there is no other way out in your mind. The only freedom to let go of the pain is death. Leaving the community around you stunned and heartbroken. There is no one to blame for Robin Williams’ death. Although I am sure his family will be left with the burden of guilt. Though for the person who is suffering death is a form of peace.
There is no easy solution to mental illness and those who suffer from it. But maybe as a society we can begin to start really caring for those in our circle. Maybe investing an extra ten minutes to be there for the person who actually admits in the grocery store “My life is falling apart actually and I don’t know how to fix it.” It’s Ok to admit that you don’t have your shit together sometimes. Because in fact there is never a perfect year, even those who are super positive and feel on the right path have some hard days.
What if we really start caring for the truth that others feel?
What if we can let each other speak their truths freely? Can we then, take away the pressure of performing we all sometimes feel we must do?