On Monday, August 11, 2014, the world lost a great man. Robin Williams was found unresponsive in his home and it was suspected to be a suicide via asphyxiation. I’m in my thirties and I’ve been through a few celebrity deaths, but none has had the impact on me that Robin Williams’ death is having. My heart is aching and my eyes are tearing.
Robin Williams has been with me for 31 years. I have very vague memories of Mork, but I wanted Mrs. Doubtfire to be my nanny. If Peter Pan had to grow up there was no way he wouldn’t have grown up into Robin. I watched him escape Jumanji and I watched him try to save comatose patients. All the while he kept me laughing and he kept a place in my heart.
His suicide is being attributed to severe depression. I’m waiting for the deluge of outcry wailing that “he had everything” and “there’s no way somebody so funny could be depressed.” I would like to give a preemptive finger to those idiots. That’s not how depression works.
This death is hitting me so hard because I understand. I understand how that crippling beast can fester in the mind. I have first hand experience with that intruder occupying a place in life where it doesn’t belong and isn’t welcome. Robin Williams’ death hurts so much because I can relate to that pain and that feeling of hopelessness.
Depression is real. It lurks in the minds of some of the happiest-seeming people in the world. It isn’t some bullshit, made up disease, as some would have us think. It isn’t about “cheering up” and it isn’t about just deciding to be happy. It is an affliction of the mind and it is dangerous. It takes away lives, both from the sufferers and from their loved ones.
Robin Williams was a great man and a great actor. He kept me laughing for my entire life. He was not his disease and he was not his depression. He was and will remain loved.
Goodbye, sir. We’ll never have a friend like you.