Robin Williams and The Door

As heartbroken as I am about the death of Robin Williams, I am not entirely shocked. I recall about 4 or 5 months ago maybe, seeing him as a guest on some late night talk show. (cannot remember which one) I remember distinctly thinking to myself that he looked exhausted, withdrawn, and old. Not old in the way that he got gray hair or wrinkles, but old in the way that life had beaten him up one too many times. He was coming up with insane one-liners and jokes like always, but his eyes looked vacant to me. He looked lost and in slower-motion than normal. I remember just silently thinking to myself: “He seems sad.” Then, about a month or two ago, I remember reading that he had checked himself into a rehab facility, “for precautionary reasons.” Everyone was saying good for him and all that, and it was – but I just felt like something was off. Like it was the beginning of the end somehow.

I recognized the darkness in his eyes that night, and the light that had left them – because I had been there too. Before losing my husband to sudden death, I didn’t understand depression, or suicide. Not really. Not truly. I was never judgmental about it, but I didn’t get it. Then my husband died, and I died too. My soul was in pieces – my light went out. All I could see was darkness. There were many nights, 3 months after the death, 7 months after, 13 months after, 19 months after, where I sat inside my own darkness and thought about not being on earth anymore. The pain was so awful and so unbearable, that I didn’t understand what to do with it. Most nights when I felt that way, I would log on and reach out to the Facebook world, or call up another widowed friend late into the night.

Sometimes that got me through. Sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes I still didn’t want to live. One night, when I felt that way, I called my grief counselor in an “emergency session”, and we talked for a long time. I said: “I just don’t want to be here anymore. It hurts too much, and I really think the pain is going to kill me anyway, because how can anyone live, being in this much pain all the time? I can’t do it.” She got very serious and then she said to me: “Do I need to call the hospital? Do you feel like you might harm yourself?” I stopped and thought about it for a minute, and then I said very calmly: “No. I don’t want to be here, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything about it. Not wanting to live isn’t the same as wanting to die. I just needed to say it out loud.”

I was grieving, and all I could see was darkness and more pain. I didn’t understand or see that there might be a way through that pain, and I didn’t have the energy or desire to think forward. I just saw blackness. But even in my days and hours of blackness, and even when I didn’t feel any hope – I still was not willing to actively take my own life. I would sit around THINKING about suicide all the time. I actually sort of obsessed about it sometimes, and thought about all the different ways I might do it. But in the end, something somewhere inside of me knew that I would never actually do it. I just knew that I would have to sit inside of this awful, horrific, mind-blowing pain – until it wasn’t as horrific anymore.

Depression is different than that. It is an illness, and it takes you over and screws with your head and hurts you. It makes you think that you are a burden to everyone else, and that maybe the world is better off without you. You just want the pain to stop, and so ending your life FEELS like the only logical way to make it stop. Depression is all over my family – almost everyone on my dad’s side has dealt with it in some form. It is on my mom’s side too, as are other forms of mental illness. I have dealt with anxiety and PTSD as a result of my husband’s sudden death, along with other trauma I have experienced in my life that I won’t get into in this post. Mental illness is just that – an illness. Why we continue to blame the person going through it is beyond me. The person going through it does not have the capability to think what I thought that night talking with my counselor. They don’t think: “This is really going to hurt my family”, or “I don’t much feel like living right now, but I don’t want to die either.” No. Their brain has turned on them. They have a chemical imbalance that they fight against everyday. Now, I am not saying that every person who takes their own life is suffering from mental illness. But I’m willing to bet a good portion of them are. And with depression, which Robin Williams had struggled with his whole life and talked about openly; most times; you are done reaching out or you HAVE reached out but you no longer want to – you just want the hurt to end.

So you end it. And it’s not selfish. And it’s not cowardly. It is a person in a lot of very real pain. It is a person, most likely, with a disease. It is a person whose light turned off long ago, and they couldn’t find their way out of the room.

RIP Robin Williams.
I’m so sorry that your light went out before you could reach the door.

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2 thoughts on “Robin Williams and The Door

  1. just found your blog last night……another sleepless night to fill. You see I lost my fiance 7wks ago today to alcoholism. I feel so much guilt. Guilty because I was mean to him when he chose to drink, pushing him away instead of holding him close, telling him I loved him. He’d go days being sober and then he’d drink, days at being good, and drink again. Horrible circle. We recently relocated to central Oregon, he insisted, “your parents need help and we need to be there for them, you’re an only child and they need us.” I told him I wasn’t ready for that phase of life but he persisted and I finally agreed. We had been here for about 6 months and so many things were so much harder than we thought. So when I got invited for a trip “back home” where we had moved from I jumped at the chance to get away for a few days. When the day arrived I was sad and didn’t want to go. M laughed and said,”don’t be silly, go, have fun, do some nice things for yourself, like a new hairstyle or a few new clothes.” I didn’t want to go but I did anyway. I kissed him goodbye, told him I loved him and to be good. “I will” he said and smiled his beautiful smile. We texted through out the day to one another, he told me he loved me, called me his beautiful goddess. I loved/hated that. When he called me that I knew he’d been drinking but I also KNEW that he thought of me as his beautiful goddess. I got to my girlfriend’s house had dinner, chatted until 10pm and then went to bed. I woke up to my phone ringing a little after 1am, it was M’s and my best friend, K, she had introduced us 4 years ago. She was telling me there was an accident and M was killed. I heard it but it couldn’t be true. I just saw him. I just told him I loved him, he PROMISED he’d be good. I wish I never left him that day, when he drank, he never drove when I was there with him. He’d still be here if I had listened to the little voice in my head. I’ll never forgive myself. The spot where he wrecked his truck is less than 3miles from “home.” My parents and I drive by it everyday, it sucks ASS. It’s on a county road, right now they don’t allow “Don’t drink and Drive” signs that the state posts on their roads. I’m working to change that, I go before the county commissioners on the 27th of this month to plea my cause. It still doesn’t seem real until I go to bed at night and he’s not there. I make his poor pillow wear the clothes he wore the day before he died, since I never got the ones back that he died in. It’s such a fucking nightmare. I want it to stop but it just gets worse as the days and weeks go along. Because we weren’t married I have to stand by and watch his “family” come get most of his belongs, and beg for things I can’t part with. A few months before his death he said we should write on a piece of paper and get it notarized that we get each others stuff if we die. I blew it off, don’t be silly, we don’t have to worry about that for along time. Yea right! Again, why didn’t I listen?
    My man left home at 17, didn’t go back for over 12 years and only then was he very guarded around his family. So now I’m grieving and watching his family take his things….hell…I’m in hell and there is no way out. PS….. No one else was involved in the wreck,the only thing I have to be thankful for on that shitty night.

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