Last night Robin Williams died.
This morning I find myself mourning differently than I had thought. I want to remember a man who made me (and most people) laugh. I want to remember his successes and greatness. I want to remember Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, and Patch Adams. I want to remember him in a good light.
Today, I have seen post after post, and tweet after tweet celebrating the life of Robin Williams. Looking around, everyone was celebrating the life that Robin Williams lived, and I found myself mourning the life Robin Williams could have lived.
What would his life have looked like if there had not been a tortured soul underneath the smiles and the laughs? What would his life have looked like if beneath all of the love on the outside, was an inside unwrecked by depression? What would his life have looked like if he was free from the terror in his own mind?
With Robin Williams passing, I find myself hoping that many others can use his life as a signal. Robin was the American dream. He was witty, quick, wealthy, charming, and loved. He was also depressed, and today he is gone.
It is not enough to have everything together on the outside. It is not enough to have everything that people around you think you need to have: to have the right car, the right house, the right spouse, and the right paycheck. It is not enough to be everything that people around you want to be: to be funny, witty, lovable, and charming. If it hurts inside when you are alone, it is not enough.
The last 15 years I have spent working to heal the terror I feel inside. After years with a psychiatrist, my brain is stable enough that it no longer hurts incessantly. It actually feels fine. After more years with my counselor, I have come to know my worth because of who God made me to be, and who he knows me to be. I can experience joy and peace now because I have accepted that God made me worthy of them.
I have shared something with Robin: depression. I have learned how to deal with mine, and continue to work on myself all the time to continue to experience life more freely and deeply.
I wish that yesterday, Robin had experienced belovedness because he is good enough. I wish he would have experienced hope and joy instead of depression and sadness. I wish he had been free to be the amazing man he was without all of the pain.
Today I pray that his death is a reminder that depression does not play favorites. It sometimes consumes the most amazing and compassionate people we know. It plagues the class clowns, the preps, the jocks, the intellectuals, the hipsters, the musicians, the poets, the construction workers, the CEOs, and everything in between.
To all of the people who suffer, depression asks “will you let me help you suffer invisibly, every day?” To those who suffer, I have to say that I have made it through my darkest days. I have discovered love in a sea of self hatred. I have discovered life in the middle of what felt like death, and hope in the middle of a space that defined hopelessness. I am not alone. You can experience life and love too.
Thank you Robin for a life filled with laughs and love. I pray that we remember the laughs and the love you brought to the screen, and the dread and the darkness too, because sometimes all of us need help.