I was shocked and saddened when I heard that Robin Williams ended his life, as I’m sure we all were.
I wasn’t an especially huge fan of his, but I liked the guy. He’s been around my entire life. I remember watching Mork and Mindy as a kid.
To hear that someone ended their life makes me hurt. Because I think–imagine how incredibly bad someone must be hurting to take such a drastic step. The raw, sharp, suffocating pain that must cloud their every moment, to where they feel like they can’t go on another second, that the only escape is to end their life. To end the pain. To be done with this.
Robin Williams was famous for being a goofy funnyman. His death puts a familiar face on the affliction of depression. We ask ourselves, how can someone who seemed to have a great life–we presume–still be so desperately unhappy? What hope do the rest of us have?
And it’s so desperate, so final. When I hear about a suicide, sometimes I think, “Why couldn’t someone help them?” or “How could their spouse/family/friends not know they were in trouble?” But I understand. The pain is so private. Even having a wonderful family life still sometimes cannot stop the nagging, dark thoughts that haunt you inside your own head.
I am so, so, sad for someone I didn’t even know in person, sad for his family, and sad for humans that we have to deal with the darkness of depression.
I’ve written about a possible connection between high sensitivity and depression before. We HSPs ruminate over things ad nauseum. We have empathy for other creatures’ pain. We feel emotions more intensely, good and bad. Williams once described himself as “introverted, quiet, and absorbent.”
I recently read that an ex-girlfriend of Jim Carrey committed suicide. Carrey said: she was “too sensitive for this soil”. That made me so sad. It’s like saying that some sensitive people just can’t take the pain that comes from living in this world. It’s easier to stop living in it.
HSPs shouldn’t bear the injustices of the world on their shoulders. We can’t hold on to every mean thing anyone has said to us, every failure, and every bad experience. We have to learn to let go and realize that we can’t fix the world, and that striving for a constant state of “happiness” is impossible. No one is happy 100% of the time.
Feeling “Ok” is ok. If your life isn’t perfect, that’s ok, too. You are ok, and everything will be ok. If you are feeling hopeless, and like you’d rather give up then keep feeling so much, please call up a friend or family member. Think about the great times you’ve had in the past, and that you might just have fallen into a deep emotional pit. You might need help crawling out, and it’s worth crawling out. Think of the simple pleasures in life that make you smile. Those are worth sticking around for.
I originally wrote this because I had such a strong reaction to Robin Williams’ passing. I’m not sure there was really a point to this post, other than just letting it out. If you know someone you suspect may be depressed or isolated, maybe reach out to them today to see how they are doing.
Related: Compassion Fatigue & Dr. Sophia Yin