Three days ago, I was doing silly voice impressions at my one year old niece. My sister in law laughed, and I told her I should have been Robin Williams' kid. Little did I know, this warm, funny, talented man would end his life only hours later.
When I was young and stupid, I called people who committed suicide "selfish". Instead of kind words, I turned their very real medical condition into a violation of my feelings. How very pathetic - and selfish - I was for that. I'm so sorry to those I unknowingly disrespected when I didn't "get" it.
I eventually began to experience close encounters with suicide: a friend's husband, another friend's ex-boyfriend, and an uncle, to name a few. I am the type of person who wants understanding. I demand reasonable explanations, not speculation, blaming, or hyper-religious BS. So I sought education, and it made me realize how very wrong I was about this thing called suicide. It is a fatal symptom of a psychological and often physiological condition that the victim wouldn't wish on anyone. We've all had an ailment that required medical attention, haven't we? They didn't choose their illness anymore than we have chosen ours. This is not make-believe. People can't just "be positive" or do charity work or simply think of those they love in order to "snap out of it". They're not making up their problems, nor can they wish them away. We will never fully know the pain someone else lives with, but for the love of God, can we look past ourselves long enough to have a thread of respect for the patient? Only a scumbag would insult someone who is sick and desperate for relief. Don't be that person. Don't be the person I was when I was young and dumb.
Mental illness is just that - an illness. Sometimes, and in the case of Robin Williams, people who are sick seek help. He was in the hospital not even three weeks ago. He wasn't a coward, he wasn't in denial, and he wasn't prideful. He asked for help. But sometimes, just like a physical illness, the treatment doesn't work. That is reality.
May God have mercy on our ignorance.
I pray you rest in peace, dear Robin. The world is a sadder place without you.
(Cross-posted to Thoughts & Theories)