Why Robin Williams’ Suicide Leaves Me Terrified

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Robin-Williams

As I sit here, I am saddened — no I am devastated — by the suicide of Robin Williams. I am not, however, shocked.

I want to scream and cry and I am mad. Pissed off that this fucking disease has stolen another brilliant mind from this world. He was a genius, with eyes tinged with sadness who always made everyone else around him happy. We shared something in common, Mr. Williams and myself, aside from being from Chicago: A bipolar diagnosis.

It’s a punch to the gut because many of us who suffer from this diagnosis know that this is a very real outcome for our lives. It’s not so much a matter of will he or won’t he kill himself, it’s more of a when will he just not be able to bear the burden any longer because even though our pain threshold is higher than most, even we have a limit to the torture we can endure.

I’ve never suffered from an official diagnosis of severe depression, but I have spent a lifetime suffering from a diagnosis of Bipolar 1 which for me has mostly meant teetering between mania and extreme irritability.

People love you when you are manic because you are the life of the party. You are fun and funny and everyone adores you. But when you stay manic too long, you become irritable; irritable at the fact that you cannot calm down from your manic high, annoyed with yourself for being this person; for breathing. You begin to feel out of control and then you become angry and mean. You hate the world. You hate yourself. Then, just to add insult to injury, sometimes you fall from your vibrant mania heaven to the deepest, darkest pit of depression hell. You feel worthless and unworthy of the air you breathe.

I haven’t been “depressed” since my teen years. Like I said, I used to exist between manic and irritable. I’ve been non–episodic for 12 years. I’m 41. I was officially diagnosed when I was 27 but I had been exhibiting symptoms of bipolar from about the age of 15. At that time, I did frequently got depressed. I used to lay awake at night crying trying to figure out a way to disappear; to kill myself because living felt pointless and it hurt to feel that worthless. But the thought of breaking my mother’s heart was too much for me to bear so I held on.

When I was diagnosed with Bipolar, I wept with relief. I was so happy to have a name for this terrible demon that had literally turned my life upside down. When I was diagnosed, I was on the brink of losing everything but I was so manic that I did not care. I was drinking heavily to try to quiet my mind. I would wake up chipper and pleasant and happy-go-lucky and then it was like my engine got stuck, revved up and I just couldn’t stop and I was so tired of being “up” so than I drank myself into a stupor. When I was irritable, I was mean and biting with my words. A part of me wanted to alienate everyone and destroy anything that was good in my life because I didn’t feel like I deserved it when I was coming down. That’s the thing. It’s a shame spiral. You get manic and feel like the king of the world and then you come crashing down and feel unworthy of life and that’s when the demon creeps back in. Sometimes your meds quiet the demons, sometimes they can’t. But you choose to fight, every single day until you can’t anymore.

I am non-episodic but I know every day could be the day that I become manic. I know that every day could be the end of my life as I know it. I fight. I fight to stay here to be here because today, I know how wonderful it can be. Right now, I am living as close to normal as I’ve ever been.

Robin Williams was 63 years old, he fought his demons every day for all these years but today he was too beat down to fight back and we lost a comedic genius, a father, a husband, a friend. Today, I lost a fellow warrior. He has fallen and my heart is heavy. My thoughts and prayers are for those who loved him that he left behind, may they find the strength and courage to carry on. May he finally rest in peace.

Don’t let his death be meaningless. Don’t let one more person die in mental health vain. We need to be more open, to remove the stigma and support one another. Bipolar disorder, manic depression, depression or whatever it is that you call your demon can only be defeated when all the warriors stand tall and share our stories and own our issues. I won’t lie, Robin Williams’ suicide scares me because it makes me feel vulnerable.

There should be no shame in being sick, there should only be compassion and understanding and HELP! Share your stories. Come out of your mental health closet. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone. Don’t give up.

24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Do not go gently into that good night…Rage until you can no longer draw breath into your body.

Rage warriors, rage harder than you ever have before.

Related post: The Cloud of Depression

Comments

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  1. 2

    says

    Reposting the most important part — YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Call someone –they will help you. 24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

    Do not go gently into that good night…Rage until you can no longer draw breath into your body.

    Rage warriors, rage harder than you ever have before.

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  2. 6

    says

    My heart goes out to his family. The issue is so real. I really really pray that I can be there for people in my life who struggle with this. It’s becoming so common, and it’s very scary <3

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    • 7

      Jenny says

      So well said. Educational to those who do not understand or have had no experience with this disease. I hope your journey in recovery continues to be positive. Remembering Robin Williams for his contributions to the entertainment world and not for how he chose to exit.

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  3. 9

    says

    Thank you for sharing this. I share your fear as my mother is bipolar and I’ve witnessed it my entire life. She is strong today and has decided her story will continue. Thank you for your bravery and honesty.

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  4. 15

    says

    People who have never dealt with depression really have no idea of the toll it can take. I get so upset about it. People think it is something you can turn off and turn on. Someone once asked me, “What do YOU have to be depressed about?” People DO NOT get it. It isn’t a choice! It is a fog. It is dark. It takes control of your mind and your thoughts. You sometimes can not see clearly or rationalize. It is such a horrible, horrible disease. It does not discriminate and it is NOT a stigma! RIP Robin Williams

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    • 18

      says

      ^^^ Yes! This! I had some severe depression when I was younger and thought very hard about suicide and didn’t do it because I was afraid my very little sister would find me and be scarred for life. Meds, therapy, and a change of environment saved me which makes me one of the lucky ones. I almost got swept up in baby blues/PPD after the birth of my daughter but admitting to friends and fellow moms that I’d been struggling and talking to them brought me out of that fog. It really isn’t something you can help. I mean, I’d just had a daughter who I loved and was so grateful for but there were days I just didn’t want to go on and I didn’t want to even see her. Those aren’t things I chose to feel. We lost a great man yesterday. He couldn’t get out of the darkness and we need to embrace and help each other out of that place and make it safe for people to reach out to us.

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    • 19

      says

      I’ve been controlling my depression for a little over a year with no meds or counseling. I had great counselors who taught me how to think my way out of it. Thank God because I spent ten years in hell, waking up pissed off that I didn’t die in the night. I feel deeply for Robin. He helped shape my childhood. I think I was depressed even then maybe, after my parents divorced when I was about 6. I watched Mrs. Doubtfire all the time. He was divorced too and he made it funnier. Even learning that Robin was bipolar, like the doctors thought I was, helped. He became a hero to me, a beacon of hope and solidarity. I wish he could have held on another day or two. Maybe that mania would have come on. That can save your life in the darkest times. It’s not healthy, but sometimes you need it.

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    • 20

      says

      You are so right. When are we ever going to learn not to belittle people with depression or any form of mental illness. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it does not exist. It’s very real for those suffering. Being critical doesn’t help them.

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    • 22

      says

      Uggh exactly! I hate when people poopoo what’s going on. I had a bad weekend- that’s what I call them. I was struggling with some stuff, and I was on the verge of a total crash. I know the best way to hold it off is to keep moving (at least for me) so I went to a “friends” house. While I was there I broke down. I just let it all out, and the first words out of his mouth were “What the fuck happened to you. You use to be fun. I don’t like this side of you. Why can’t you just be the fun you” Needless to say, we are no longer friends.

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    • 24

      sha says

      hi jessica.. don’t get me wrong.. i find the article really helpful.. i just want to say though that maybe, just maybe, that question was just a way of getting an idea on what can be done to help.. maybe, it would be offensive if it was asked w/ sarcasm..

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  5. 29

    Tabatha says

    You nailed exactly how I’m feeling about this. For years I suffered from depression, and things like this are a stark reminder that any day could be the day it returns. And that’s terrifying.

    RIP, Mr Williams. You brought more joy and laughter to my life than I can even tell you. I am sincerely heartbroken that you’re gone. :( You put up a heck of a fight; please rest easy. <3

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    • 32

      kimberly sue taylor says

      thank you for explaining in such a perfect way that alot of us struggle with prayer’s for all of us that struggle and so humbly will i pray for his family faith in thy lord is what get’s me through my day;s and somtimes even those day’s are hard this is the first time i have ever spoken out about this so thank you with all my heart kimberly taylor

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    • 33

      kimberly sue taylor says

      thank you for explaining in such a perfect way that alot of us struggle with prayer’s for all of us that struggle and so humbly will i pray for his family faith in thy lord is what get’s me through my day;s and somtimes even those day’s are hard this is the first time i have ever spoken out about this so thank you with all my heart kimberly taylor
      \

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