Any suicide is an imponderable, if not unconscionable thing. It becomes all the more difficult to grasp in the life of one who seemingly has it all.
Robin Williams had talent, success, fame and wealth. He had around him people who loved him, who cared for him quite deeply. There were, undoubtedly, many who would have gone to great lengths to help and support him, many who already had. But Mr. Williams also had the extreme challenges of addiction and the kind of morbid depression that are unimaginable to those who have not lived them.
The findings of Robin Williams post-mortem investigation will list self-inflicted asphyxiation and cuts, but will not list the real cause of his unnecessary death—isolation.
The greater predictor for suicide is not depression or grief, or even pain. It is hopelessness. It is the blinding sense that there is no longer a means to endure nor a reason to do so. While we are actively and openly connected to others, our view is more open, the possibilities greater.
But for those who are deeply depressed and cut themselves off from others, even though the other may be in the next room, the blindness can give rise to hopelessness. In isolation, they may kill themselves to kill the pain.
In the wake of much visual and social media attention, we will hopefully take depression more seriously. Perhaps we will gain a deeper understanding of the urgency. Perhaps we can prevent other pointless deaths such as this one.
It’s not just about “feeling down.” More than 20 million people in the United States suffer from depression.
No matter what you are experiencing, there are others who understand. You are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected with others who are there to help.
You can also turn locally to the Behavioral Health Access Service at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth, where qualified mental health professionals are on-call at all times. Or take an anonymous depression risk assessment to find out if what you’re experiencing might be depression.
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)