“You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin,
the less likely you are to find it at all.”
Dead Poets Society
I have read and listened to a lot of information about the death of Robin Williams. I’ve seen a lot of mental health advocates, once again rise surrounding stigmas and mental health. Why has his death affected me to the point that my soul hurts? Let’s see….I’ve been in some pretty dark places in my lifetime. I could always count on someone like Robin Williams to get me out of that dark place. Just the shock of his death and the way he died by his own hand, has brought back many thoughts, feelings and emotions.
While a short stint as an EMT, I saw enough to last me forever. I would do it again. But, there’s consequences from doing this type of work every day. One such occasion includes a suicide that I responded to while working on the ambulance. Everything about that scene, I remember like it was yesterday. A murder scene with all of the sights, sounds and smell reminders are enough to have me feeling like I’m having a heart attack. Suicides of people that I’ve known throughout my life and never knowing why but understanding how they reached that point of hopelessness circulate my brain.
I have been forced to sit with these kind of feelings most of my life without many people knowing. After all, we are brought up in a society that wants us to look great even when things aren’t ok. I’ve realized that sometimes the people that make us laugh the hardest seem like they have the greatest scars that people seldom see. Some scars aren’t hidden like the ones on my arms. The scars on my arms are ones that say that I’ve been through a battle. But, the scars on my heart and mind say that I’ve been through and are still going through a war.
Just the topic of suicide can make me physically ill. This topic has affected me in so many ways both personally and professionally. Everyone has “secrets” that are not told. Society likes to judge and think that suicide is the ‘easy way out’ or ‘selfish.’ I’m not saying in any way, shape, form or fashion that one’s own personal belief, at that moment, isn’t distorted. But, I believe that most people who commit suicide do it to protect their families from knowing the truth or being considered a “drain” on the family. This isn’t every reason my any means. Suicide, from their view, could be an act of love. These families seldom know for sure. This is why death, in this way, is so difficult for the remaining family.
One can only speculate now, the real reason that Robin William committed suicide. However, knowing that he was affected by a known mental illness, I understand how tiring it can be. I’ve always said, “Everyone has a limit.” How far down does yours go?
I’ll leave this tribute to Robin Williams and the field of therapy that I saw on Facebook today.