The untimely death of Robin Williams was a tremendous loss. It seems so unfair to lose a man, who brought immense joy to so many, to depression. After his death people posted clips of him in fun and laughter in order to honor his memory. It was painful for me to see, for it juxtaposed the conditions and circumstances of his death. It was meant to be kind, but it displayed a lack of understanding of his plight. His genius was a talent indeed, but it was not all of Robin. Robin was a man, not just an actor or comedic genius. We lauded him for every joy he brought us and by doing so we continued to praise him for what we received and failed to understand him fully and who he really was.
People that are battling depression feel alone, isolated and as if no one will ever understand them. I watched some of his interviews where you could see the expectation of the audience as they were practically screaming, “entertain us! make us laugh! we are waiting!” I am sure it must have been a great confirmation early on in his career, but that sort of affirmation wears thin pretty quickly for a person of depth. It was obvious he was a kind, loving, giving man. He brought much joy to everyone, but sadly failed to find real true joy, otherwise known as peace of mind, for himself.
The miserable, overwhelming, frustrating pain of depression is extremely difficult to face. The person may push loved ones away out of the kindness of their heart even if it may seem cruel. Many a time they feel bad dragging people along the long road of misery they see as inevitably endless. Do not listen. Do not leave them. I would say the best method to take is the same as that prescribed for one who visits a mourner. Wait for the person too speak. Let them lead the conversation. If they do not speak at all, just sit with them. Sometimes all they need is to know you are there and you care and that they are worth waiting for. Kindness can be beheld in the eyes, a hug or by your mere presence and patience.
It is especially meaningful in today’s fast paced world. The modern day man has lost the ability to engage in the much needed warmth that can exist between two people even when they are silent. This is a crucial human touch that has been abandoned to the continued detriment of the psychological well being of many.
Let us truly honor Robin Williams memory by extending ourselves, our time, our eye contact and listening ear to our loved ones. Let us be there for each other and live in the moment. It can not wait till tomorrow when someone is in pain.
It can save a life.