Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Darkness Is A Wicked Place

A lot of people are shocked about Robin Williams taking his own life, but I can't say I am. To me, he always seemed to have this air of sadness about him, even when he was at his loudest and most entertaining. For some reason it always felt like a facade, like this was his role for us. All I wanted was for him to turn off the noise and get real. To drop the joking around and get serious for a minute.

His death is probably the realest he's ever been. 

Suicide is tragic. It's always so confusing for people. It's hard to understand how someone so successful and beloved could take their own life. Didn't he have friends? A wife? Family? Yeah, suicide is tragic but it's also not simple. Money and loved ones have nothing to do with it. A scary thought, isn't it? That no matter how rich, successful and loved you are, depression can still get the best of you. Yes, this man had money and people, a wife and kids, who loved him, but he also had a mental illness. 

And mental health is a tricky thing. We all have good and bad days, even those of us who aren't suffering from anxiety and depression. There are highs and lows for us all. Except, some of us can't reason our way out of the lows. Sometimes the lows are so low we can't fathom ever having a high again. The simple act of living another moment in this miserable world is unbearable, so we do something about it. We bow out. 

We all understand the darkness and have experienced at least a fragment of it.What we don't understand is how consuming it can be, how suffocating and daunting, the sinking feeling that it will never get better. For me, death has never been a solution to get out of the darkness, still I know those who have turned towards it for an answer. The thing about suicide is, it doesn't stop things from getting worse. In fact, it only eradicates the hope of it being better. Those people who dwell in the darkness sometimes forget that fact. 

The darkness is a wicked place. If allowed, it will seep in and cloud the senses, dismantling rational thinking and destroying common sense in its wake. When the darkness is at its thickest, you cannot see the good, there is no hope or bright side there. Just an abyss of pain and fear and worry. If we're lucky, light is filtered in through people and things we love. In a room of pitch black, the flicker of a match can be enough to guide us to the other side. Sometimes no light arrives, though. Sometimes the darkness wins.

What I find most tragic is the joy we experience from these people who are trapped in the darkness. Despite the laughter and love they spread, they are broken and lost. Unhappy. Unhealthy. It burdens my heart to see someone exit the stage before their time. To decide they don't want to live here anymore. Live with us. Those are selfish thoughts, for sure, because this isn't about me, or us. It's about the darkness of depression, how heavy it is, how difficult it is to get out from under. 

I am saddened to hear Robin Williams didn't find his way out of the darkness. His demons were only compounded by his addictions, both of which he failed to fully escape, even in death they are haunting him. It's heartbreaking to think he never experienced the same joy he gave to others so freely. I only hope he has found peace wherever he is now.   

Mental illness is an unpredictable beast. The journey is long and hard, repetitious, but if you're lucky you will find the light to pull you through, and keep finding it every time you get lost in the darkness. And I will keep holding a match for you, on the off chance you are looking for my light. 


Chris Schwartz said...

Amazing. Perfectly said.

Tee said...

((love)) to @Chris