With the death of Robin Williams this week there’s been a lot of discussion about mental health, depression, suicide, and the issues that come from those things that many of us still don’t understand. Several of those topics have effected my own life greatly and so I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting the past few days.
It often seems I’ve skipped a rung
Some days, for what it’s worth.
I’ve missed a step – I’ve slipped and swung
To some peculiar Earth.
On days like these, those moments tossed
Emerge with careless haste –
To leave me hopeless, hurt and lost,
With bitter truths to taste.
I’m sure it seems absurd to hear
I’d grieve to let him go –
I’d close my eyes and shed a tear
For guys I didn’t know –
But all the same – I will a while.
That man I never met –
The man that made me laugh and smile –
I never shall forget.
But that’s just the thing that so many of us who have lost others to suicide have a hard time understanding – love is not the cure to depression. It is not the cure for illness or disease or addiction. You can love someone every single day and still, it does nothing for the invisible monsters they’re facing on their own. Those monsters, whether you want to believe they exist or not, are there. It is not a made up thing that can be calmed and alleviated by the sheer presence of love, as much as we wish it could be.
It’s easy to understand people want answers when someone commits suicide. I still sit and think about my brother from time to time as I have often this week and wonder about the events leading up to his death. To place blame on the person who takes their own life and to call them selfish or to make comments like, “they’re at peace now,” “they’re in a better place, ” or “if they only knew they were loved” only encourage the idea that suicide and/or the existence of love is the answer to depression. Love is not what depression needs. It’s acknowledgment, understanding, and treatment that can only truly make a difference in the life of someone suffering from depression. And sometimes even that may not be enough. That’s the truth.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Thank you for inspiring me when I needed it the most. You will be missed dearly you special man… Robin Williams.