Robin Williams

800px-Williams,_Robin_(USGov)_cropI’m a little bit surprised at how hard this is hitting me. Maybe I shouldn’t be. There are numerous emotions swirling. Nostalgia for an icon of my childhood (The Genie, Peter Pan, Mrs. Doubtfire), sadness for the brilliant mania that was his early stand-up, which I discovered later. Regret for losing someone who was not afraid to leave his comfort zone, even when it had mixed results from critics. But there’s a familiarity with a man, who I didn’t know other than what one can know of an actor based on their work and public appearances, because I share his struggles.

Depression and alcohol abuse nearly killed me. Or rather, lead me to nearly kill myself. Without knowing the details, I know what it’s like to face a moment that you think is it, the one you can’t get through, the one that’s makes you want to let go of everything and be done with this wretched, difficult grind. I recognize hopelessness. I could have been the one who, instead of attempting suicide committed it.

I have some survivors guilt. What happened with Robin that didn’t happen with me? What did I do that he didn’t?

I have some fear… If Robin Williams, who had access to the top resources to treat mental illness and addiction couldn’t succeed, can I? I know I’ve generally had some good months and improvement, but everyday I wonder if it’s sustainable. When I start thinking of it in terms of 6 months from now, one year from now and beyond it overwhelms me. Is it a question of when do I relapse instead of will I relapse?

I keep coming back to what I did differently. While I recognize the feelings that must have plagued Robin, I don’t know what happened in the final hour of his life. We may find out, we may never know. But here’s what I thought about: My mother.

I called my mom that morning. And she answered.

I don’t know what will happen to me tomorrow or beyond. But I’ll have a chance to find out.

Please, please, please call someone you love if you’re sad, depressed and anxious. Please reach out and just ask someone for help. If you have a friend or relative who you think may be struggling, ask them. Tell them you love them. Please.

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