No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
~Robin Williams in the movie Dead Poet’s Society
This week the world lost a very valuable actor, Robin Williams. He was known for some serious roles that he played such as in the movie Dead Poet’s Society, but he was more known to my family for his role in Mrs. Doubtfire and for all of the laughter he supplied to us through the years. My daughters both grew up watching this movie repeatedly. We have watched it so many times that we can all recite lines from the movie. He provided humor right when it was needed in the way that only Robin Williams could, yet he touched on some very serious subject matters in this movie as well.
Robin Williams seemed to be America’s funny man. He was usually all smiles for the camera and had a joke or two readily available to give you a big ole belly laugh. The vast majority of us did not realize that Mr. Williams suffered for years with depression. I have heard a lot within the past week of how not only did Mr. Williams suffer from depression, but he was also Bi-Polar which of course has manic and mania tendencies. All I know is that no one truly knows what goes on behind someone’s smile. This is proof right here!
Many fans around the world are shocked and are in disbelief over Mr. Williams taking his own life. Looking in the windows of his life, it would appear that Mr. Williams had it all: Fortune, Family, & Fame. However, there were things going on inside of Mr. Williams that tormented him. He had his own personal demons that no one can ever fully understand unless they’ve been right where Mr. Williams was the day he took his own life. No one could have ever imagined that Mr. Williams had depression and suicidal thoughts going on behind that smile of his and all of his jokes.
In high school we lost two of our classmates to suicide. I remember hearing the news that my friend had hung himself and how he was clinging to life with the aid of the ventilator. I was unable to visit him in the hospital, and to be honest, I don’t know how I would have handled seeing him in that shape. I just prayed for him and cried my eyes out the next morning when it was announced on the school intercom that he had passed away. I remember attending his funeral with tears falling like rain. I remember my grandmother also grabbing me at the funeral telling me to pull myself together. This shocked me to be told at a moment like this to pull myself together … at a funeral … under the circumstances with the way he died. It felt like I was not allowed to grieve for my friend and then immediately guilt set in for not being able to control my emotions.
We lost another classmate a year or so later the same exact way. It left us all asking why something like this had to happen and how someone could take their own life.
Then depression and suicide touched my family and brought us all to our knees. This was something that always happened to other people. We always “heard” of this but it was always “over there” in someone else’s family … surely not ours! But, there it was, dropped right in our laps when the world crumbled around us that hot July day back in 2001. It doesn’t seem that long ago, really, and there are times when it seems like just yesterday when all of the feelings and emotions come rushing in. The day my sister took her own life. She died by her own hands. She committed an act that we never would have ever thought she would have done. She drew her last breath on this side of Heaven, and we knew that we would never be the same again. When she died, she took a part of us with her. She was my only sibling, my older sister that I looked up to. And now, I’m all alone in this world without my sister, my best friend.
It is so hard to understand how a person could do this, and yet it happens far more than we can even begin to imagine. People get so down in life with different things troubling them. They are in so much emotional pain with things coming at them from every angle. When their problems pile up, they begin to feel as if the only way to end the pain that they feel is to end their life. It’s tragic when it gets to this point. A lot of people say, “If only they would have reached out for help …” and question why such a strong person would succumb to weakness to this extent … you and I will never understand unless or until we’ve been right where they were the moment they made the decision to end their lives. I pray you and I never know how it feels. I pray that we never go through our own personal hell to this extent to where we feel the only way out, the only way to make this better for us and our loved ones is to take matters into our own hands.
Please … hear me now, whatever you may be feeling reading this or whatever you may be going through in life, please … I beg you, as a survivor of the aftermath of suicide, please know that help is available. If you could share how you’re feeling with a trusted friend or family member, they will get you the help that you need. Help is also available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) where you will be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We talk a lot on this site about choosing joy and staying positive. We try to change our negative way of thinking to find more positives and things to be thankful for. We ask that you focus on things that bring you joy and happiness instead of things that threaten to pull you down. We ask that you give thanks and recognize how blessed you are in this life. We do this for a reason. It isn’t so that we can all live in a bubble of make-believe and pretend, ignoring problems in our lives. No. It is because there ARE so many problems and things that trouble us in this world that we ask you to shift your focus if you are able to do so. We realize that if you are in the pit of depression, this is something that you simply cannot do very easily, if at all. In times like these, we hope that you will speak with a trusted friend or family member and that you will also seek professional help. Please know that there is NO SHAME in reaching out for help. I only wish more people would do so. Oh how I wish my sister had reached out that day instead of taking matters into her own hands.
There is such a stigma attached to mental illness and depression. A lot of times, people do not want to share what they are going through for fear of being judged or looked down upon. Please know that it takes a lot of courage to speak up and to tell someone. It takes a lot to reach out for help, but please … I beg of you, if you ever get to this place, please reach out to someone!
Over the years I have had several friends that did reach out to me, and I am thankful that they did because I was able to take them to the emergency room at a local hospital for them to get the help that they needed. I have personally taken two people in my vehicle to the emergency room when they have called me for help. It was not easy dealing with this type of a situation, but these people reached out to me in their time of need, and I immediately rushed to their side. I spoke with them at length, and then we made the decision together to go to the emergency room. Thankfully these friends were willing and did not put up a fight at all. They recognized the need for help and were literally crying out for it. And so, they were taken to the emergency room where they were admitted into a program to receive the help that they needed in the form of counseling and medication. They are doing well today, thankfully.
I have had two others friends that dealt with suicidal thoughts as well. One was determined no matter what we said to end it all, but thankfully her attempts failed. She ended up in the psychiatric ward on lock down against her will the last time, and I think that was what it took for her outlook to change. She has not attempted since, to my knowledge.
The other friend that I spoke of worked in the medical field. He dealt with cases where children were involved, and the cases did not always have the desired outcome. After losing a precious little girl that he had gotten close to with her and her family, he went into a deep depression and attempted suicide himself. He survived and lived to tell about it. He sought treatment and is in a better place today as well.
Each of the individuals mentioned above were struggling with things inside of themselves that could not be remedied by a simple attitude adjustment. No amount of positive thinking was going to change their view on life at that moment in time. No amount of anyone saying to “pull yourself up by your boot straps” would help either, instead, often times it would add insult to injury with someone saying such things. We realize that depression, mental illness, and suicidal thoughts is a very serious matter, and that is why we beg of you … please reach out, please talk to a trusted friend or loved one.
Here on this site we want you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles. We want to encourage you in every possible way, and we want you to know that you are a precious child of God. We want to offer support to you and give you our love. We want you to cling to hope and put your faith in God to see you through. Every one of us will go through hard times in this life. We are not sure why that is, but perhaps it is so that we can show compassion for our fellow man. Perhaps going through our own struggles allows us the ability to empathize with others. Perhaps it enables us to show more love and kindness.
If you or some one you love is in need of assistance, please call the Suicide Hotlines. Help is available, and there are numbers listed by state. By clicking here, you will be taken to the Suicide Hotline page with states listed in alphabetical order for your convenience and ease.
Help is available. Hold on a little longer. Know you are loved by your friends here at Light Love Hope.