Robin Williams choice to end his life disturbed deep waters. Every horror movie seems to have a deep lake in which a ripple bodes ill for whoever is on the shore. Drum beating in the Mines of Moria. The reverberations out of the darkness that send all parties fleeing. I read articles and posts until I stopped reading them while my family is visiting. Three lovely days of boisterous chatter and patter of grandchildren's feet. A sharp contrast from the place of darkness that sucked me deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression. Sucking light and life until I felt I was only barely alive. I woke up, I felt pain, damn I was still alive. I no longer feel that way but reading of the 20+ suicides of soldiers and the plastering of posts over Robin Williams caused a deep shuddering ripple from my own past. Thoughts of suicide are part of the symptoms of PTSD along with hopelessness, severe depression, nightmares, and the list goes on. PTSD is lethal when you take into account suicide deaths. People do die of a shattered heart.
I avoided all articles that condemned Robin Williams. I knew that he condemned himself more than any pious poster could ever hope to say. I was troubled by those that were disappointed by Williams because he was their hero and he let them down. Williams let himself down more. I was troubled by my own feelings of disquiet in response to all the negative post and comments showered on his family. Didn't they have enough grief to deal with? Did all these angry people afraid of suicide need to throw up on the family that was already grieving their husband, father, friend? Are people really so callous that they feel venting anger on them will help anything or anyone? I have more questions than answers.
I was inspired by Robin Williams when he played the lead role in Patch Adams. I cheered when he helped shoot imaginary squirrels so his mental institution room mate could run to the bathroom. I would recommend the movie to anyone suffering depression to watch and feel inspired to move forward in the midst of discouragement. Patch Adams is an example of finding purpose and hope where none existed before. Robin Williams played the lead role.....he understood depression, did he not feel the inspiration? Did he say the words without them penetrating his darkness? Or did he feel that his story was different? He played the role so well it was hard for me to remember that Robin Williams was not Patch Adams.
No one knows what went through Robin Williams mind in his last days, though every tabloid screams the headline that they have the scoop on his last moments. Some lament that he couldn't take the pain? From my own experience I realize not being able to take pain may not be the reason. Another article declared that suicide is not a selfish act. I read the article from a child of a parent that committed suicide. As I pondered each contradicting opinion I felt that suicide like any other choice the why lies with in the person. A selfish person will commit suicide of selfish reasons. A caring loving person will rationalize the choice couched in caring loving reasons. "I don't want to hurt my loved ones because of what I am or may become." Sadly death is touted as an ultimate solution. The final dark sleep that shields a person from the world and the world from them. Few recognize the lie that death is an ending. The hurt for those that live ripples for years to come. The questions by loved ones that wonder why they weren't important enough for the person to live for them. The why behind the act is buried with the person that committed suicide.
My counselor worked with me as I discussed my own suicidal thoughts. I felt baffled and confused as he tried to reassure me that I could take the pain and suffering. I replied that I knew I could. He stopped, looked hard at me, then slowly clarified, "You are not trying to escape a painful life, you are committing an execution. You don't feel like you deserve to live." My counselor said out loud the words I was afraid to utter. The crushing feelings of being a burden, bad, destroying other's happiness because I exists. The oft heard words that the world would be better off with me out of the way. The bitter out pourings of those disappointed that I couldn't be what they wanted me to be. The crushing burden of my life became the topic of many discussions with KavinCoach as he taught me the warped perspective of other people did not define me. I wish I could say this was easy for me to grasp. It wasn't. Years of conditioning is difficult to overcome. I can finally say, "I deserve to live. The world is a better place because I breathe."
I believe that open discussions about suicide can benefit survivors, loved ones, and those contemplating suicide. Open discussions of feelings and thoughts would be wonderful. Unfortunately, suicide is steeped in dark frightening myths and lies. Clarifying what is real and what isn't would be as difficult as filling in the Grand Canyon one shovel full at a time. I pray for those that suffering from loss of loved ones to suicide. I pray for those that are struggling with suicides lethal pull. I pray in thankfulness for a counselor that helped me struggle out of the ugly quicksand of suicide. My heart is filled with gratitude that I learned that I deserve to live.
Another perspective from Light and Sound: