I am, of course, addressing only a few of the characters portrayed by the late Robin Williams. Yes! Rest in peace, Robin!
Tonight, the world learned of the passing, apparently by his own hand, of this entertainment genius. I'm not going to make this a long, maudlin discussion of his life, his talent, his characters, TV shows, stage performances and movies, his humanity or philanthropy. All the news channels and entertainment shows are and will continue to do an excellent, over the top job of that.
What I want to make note of is the Demon that took his life at the young age of 63. That demon has a name and that name is Depression.
I am, personally, well acquainted with this horrific affliction. I, myself, have experienced some depressive states from time to time over my life, so I have a limited knowledge and understanding of the despair and darkness that depression can drag someone into. But, on an even more serious level, my father suffered from depression. I was a senior in college, having not quite attained the age of 22, when my father apparently found himself in a similar place as Robin Williams did today. Unfortunately, my father didn't even make it to 63, he took his life at 42.
I cannot begin to describe the devastation my father's suicide caused for our family, his friends, professional colleagues and me, in particular. The causes of his dive into the depth of despair were likely several. Unfortunately, those who were left behind are scarred for the rest of our lives, ever wondering why we didn't see it coming and what we could have done to prevent it. But, there is never an answer.
So, here is what I'm saying to you, my loyal readers, and to those who may find this blog someday in the future and read this article, be aware for yourself, your family, friends and colleagues. Depression is often genetic, so if someone in your direct family bloodline suffered from depression and/or hurt himself or herself or took his or her own life, talk with your doctor about it. Depression is very stealthy. You may not even realize you are dealing with it, perhaps, until it's too late.
If you have a family member, friend or colleague you suspect may be dealing with some depressive demons, talk to them. Be a friend. Suggest they bring it up with their regular primary care physician. Physicians can do some tests to rule out things it probably isn't before considering that a person may be dealing with depression.
Do everything you can to prevent your life from dragging you into the pit of despair. We live in a very stressful, complicated, often unfair world. There is a lot of negative all around. The news and talk shows and many of the TV crime and drama shows as well as movies proffer this negativity 24 hours a day. While this stuff may be reality, it doesn't have to be your daily reality.
There is so much to love about life. Watching your kids or grandkids growing up if you have any. Enjoying time with your spouse, if you're married, as well as family and friends. Exploring hobbies. Learning new things. Experiencing the beauty of nature, places of interest and meeting new people, whether locally or through extended travel to new places. Volunteering to help in any of many ways, the disadvantaged, disabled and hurting people in your community or around the world. Get involved in the arts - whether theater, performing in a choir or something else. If your job or occupation is bringing you down or stifling your life, consider what you'd have to do to change to something you'd be attuned to and love doing.
Be A Friend
Tell your loved ones that you love them. Call distant family members and just say you were thinking about them and wanted to let them know. Call friends, those you regularly see and/or talk with, but especially those you don't see very often or perhaps for years or decades, and tell them you were thinking about them. Smile as much as you can. Try to make others smile regardless of their relationship to you or their station in life as a clerk in a store, a ticket agent at the airport, the receptionist at your doctor's office, etc. Attempt to make everyone you come in contact with each day feel just a little better because you spoke on the phone or crossed paths. You may lift them out of a little depression, but you'll do yourself a world of good at the same time.
There is ALWAYS a Way
Finally, remember, there is ALWAYS a way out of the darkness. There is always someone you can talk to who cares. I'm here and I care. Email me and let me help you find some light. Even when you don't believe anyone loves you, believe me, there is someone, just reach out. Whether you have a strong religious faith or not, there is something bigger than any of us and you were born into this world for a reason. You are needed. Learn to let go of negativity. Learn what it will take to live free and find the happiness and contentment you seek. It's there. I know.