In the world of "supposed to", Robin Williams wasn't supposed to commit suicide. It's Robin-Fucking-Williams. Didn't see that coming. Because of his high profile, his death has put the conversation about suicide at the forefront. Here are some observations about suicide, society, and Robin.
The common paradigm is that suicide is selfish. Robin dedicated his life to entertaining others and raised millions of dollars for charities around the world. Does he still seem selfish? I didn't think so. It's an action that is out of sync with what he has given to the world, certainly. Selfish doesn't cut it as an adjective for this situation. Yes, there is a family and a world of grieving people. As one of those grieving people I do not call him selfish, but I call him selfless. And, I call myself confused.
We live in a culture where we pretend that everything is okay otherwise it's called unprofessional. He played pretend characters while dealing with a real life of addictions and life altering heart surgery. Yes, life happens and it takes its toll on mental health. I've seen my father go through four brain surgeries last year. Is he alive? Yes. Did it take its toll? Absolutely.
We don't know what drives people to take their own lives. Nan pointed out that the media perpetuates that having money and fame will make you happy. I'm not saying it doesn't help, but it's not the magic pill to happiness.
We don't talk about suicide as a society. It's almost taboo. It's apparent that there's a lack of education and information to the public about what drives a creative genius who seems like he has it all, to have such large moments of depression and then ultimately end his own life. Once again, "suicide is selfish" as an observation doesn't work anymore.
Not troubled youth, not gangs, etc., but the beloved Robin Williams started an international conversation. I've had good friends over the years go in and out of depression spells. Usually, they are the ones who make us laugh the most, or with whom I've had the best times with. When they talk about their depression, they feel ashamed. The worst thing you can do is not talk about it. Parkinson's Disease has Michael, now Depression and Suicide has Robin. I don't know much, but the biggest lesson I've learned this year from my Head Coach, and dear friend Jae Yee, is that having one conversation can change lives.
Full disclosure, I've never worked with or known Robin as a friend. I formulate these opinion based on being a recovering "Hollywood guy" and having a working understanding of the experience of being human.
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