Yesterday Robin Williams died and unless you’ve been out in the desolate forest, you know that it has caused a lot of uproar from lots of people. Some angry, mostly sad, and some nostalgic. I myself see this as a reminder that we are all human. We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we are all susceptible to mental illness regardless of the money we make and the prestige that we have. Robin Williams was a brilliant man. He could make you laugh and cry in the same movie. He was actually in a movie about suicide that a lot of people seem to forget. What Dreams May Come is a movie that I cried at within the first twenty minutes.
If you’ve seen this movie, you know what it’s about obviously, but if you haven’t, it’s a great movie to watch. Robin Williams and his two kids are killed in a car accident and it shows him going through Heaven and seeing different people who went before him, etc. He sees his wife struggling on earth and one day she takes her life. She on the other hand goes to Hell. It is Robin’s job to go down to Hell to save her. The movie is powerful and it shows a lot about what we think about suicide as a nation. It doesn’t matter who you are, suicide is sad. It takes a life too soon, and it reminds us that we are human.
As a counselor, suicide has a strong place. As someone who has been in the deep dark place, it also has a place. Yes, I’m saying that I’ve thought about it, and I’ve thought about how, etc. It’s not something that we talk about as a society, but it’s something that I think a lot of people have probably at least had a fleeting thought about. As someone going into the mental health field I recognized that this was not okay, and I sought help. I talked to my doctor which lead to me talking to my friends and family about being depressed. I’m not someone that likes to admit my weaknesses all the time, but man did I feel so much better when I finally told someone how I had been feeling. It took months for it to even start to go away and even know the happy person that I am (most of the time), I still slip into those negative thought patterns. For all people, though, it is not like this. It’s not as easy as focusing on the positives and it doesn’t help when others try to tell those people what to do.
We need to be there for people who are depressed, we need to be a listening ear. We don’t need to tell people to “snap out of it” or “just go do something.” We need to help people get the help they need whether it be immediate or not. Suicide is not something we should let go. We need to bring mental health issues to light, we need to let people know it is okay to talk about these things. Judgment needs to be left at the door so that they can feel like they have space to talk.
We may see people going down the street who look jolly as can be, but they can be struggling so much inside. Be kind to all those that you come into contact with. Pay attention to signs, get yourself or your friends and family help. One suicide is one too many.