There has been a lot of talk about suicide lately and everyone seems to have a very definite opinion on the subject. Truth is this - you’re all wrong.
In the wake of Robin Williams death, it seems everyone is out there screaming that depression killed Robin Williams - as if millions of strong people suffering with, or surviving, depression need to accept their fate. As if it is an uncontrollable act. Like a cancer eating you from the inside that no prayer can fix and no modern medicine can cure.
There are some that consider suicide the most ultimate form of selfishness. That the last act of a truly selfish person is to leave loved ones behind to mourn and writhe in pain for years.
There are some that believe with the right combination of therapy and medicine, anyone can live through the darkness that envelops their lives.
There are some that call it a “disease.” That people who kill themselves never had a choice. That this was their ultimate fate. That they gave everything they had and there was no choice but to give in.
There are some that say it is the ultimate form of selfLESSness. That if they take themselves from this world, they will hurt less people because it seems that they ruin everything they touch. That the damage they live with only leaves the world a shittier place and it would be the best for everyone if they left and were gone forever.
Truth is, none of those are correct. Or maybe all of them are correct. Or maybe none of the reasons truly matter because the only person who truly knows what is going on is the person fighting that battle. And even then, some of us can’t even articulate the overwhelming sadness that washes over us like a blanket when we turn off the lights. Or the thick fog that burrows into our brains and makes us feel unworthy. Unloved. Wasted. Washed up. Alone. Insignificant. And alone again.
Truth is, some of us make it and some of us don’t. Depression impacts wonderful mothers and sociopathic rapists. Teachers and doctors and murders and muslims and brown people. Some of us are selfish assholes and some of us try to do what’s best for the one’s we love. Sometimes that means we over-hug people and sometimes that means tell them we love them. Sometimes that means we lie in bed for hours contemplating the best way to end it all so we can have an open casket because our mom would probably like that. Or sometimes, we ask for help and shamefully whisper confessions in a room to get pills. Whatever the reason is, doesn’t fucking matter.
What we do know is that Robin Williams was loved and all that love and adoration from peers and strangers couldn’t help him. When I first heard the news, I was driving on the expressway. The first thing I said was, “Well, I’m fucked.”
She said, “What do you mean?”
And I said, “If that ultra-talented, good-hearted, millionaire couldn’t make it, I don’t have a fucking chance.”
I was kidding. Or at least, that’s what I told her. But maybe I wasn’t. Maybe I started thinking that life only gets more difficult as we evolve. That we have to stick around watching the ugly of the world get swept aside by people in power and our friends and family make us feel guilty for not living up to their standards. That we have to continuously wake up day after day and wonder where the fuck we went wrong - because this certainly wasn’t where our lives were supposed to end up. That insurance companies try to cheat you out of your policies and your boss is an insecure little asshole. Oh, and on top of it - why is it so goddamn tough to find someone to love us to our dirty rotten core?
So I get it. I get why someone would want to leave. It totally makes sense to me and to ask why it happened is irrelevant. The only reason you need to ask “why?” is so you can understand. But it’s not your fucking choice whether or not someone leaves or stays. It is not your right to tell someone they have to continue to live in constant misery and pain just so you don’t have to live in the misery and pain they leave behind. You telling someone they don’t have the “right” to leave you is just as selfish as them saying they DO have the right. No one wins. The only thing we can do to fix this fucked up situation is to make life not just tolerable, but worth living for everyone.
But what is important is that we are talking about it. We are allowing those of us who lurk under a constant dark cloud with fake smiles the opportunity to see that we are not alone. That we shouldn’t feel like we’ve done something wrong simply because our brains weren’t built like everyone else’s. That depression is something to take seriously and that none of us should be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
So no, you don’t know why he killed himself. Was he selfish? Who fucking knows. Was he being altruistic? Who fucking cares. Because your interpretation of another person’s pain is presumptuous and judgmental. Your need to compartmentalize someone’s choice to end their time here so you can justify their motives in your head is self-centered and doesn’t help anyone anywhere.
Truth is, plenty of people kill themselves out of downright spite. Some kill themselves as revenge. Some kill themselves to inflict pain upon their loved ones. Some kill themselves in beautiful glory. Some kill themselves out of the good for the world and whether you agree with it or not doesn’t change anything at all.
But that doesn’t mean this relinquishes you of any responsibility. Oh, you’re goddamn right you have a fucking job to do while you’re here. And that job is to make every fucking day count - because every last one of us leads by example. Because even you reading right now - you have someone who looks up to you and thinks you are fucking awesome. Because your job here is to make the people who are important to you feel loved and appreciated. Because you don’t know who is suffering in silence and you never know when someone is going to clock out. But I can tell you this - as a person who has been at constant war with those dark clouds and thick late-night fog, the only hope I have is knowing that I matter. But that’s just me. And my reason for living might be a completely different definition than the next person.
See, my job is to make you motherfuckers understand that you fucking matter. Each and every last one of you. And yeah, maybe I don’t know you but I do know that someone somewhere thinks you’re fucking awesome and it would really be fucking amazing if you stuck around and helped the people who came after you make sense of this stupid and ridiculous and beautifully confusing world and when you died it was of old age.
I mean, that’s what I want.
And I have a lot of you to thank for that.
So I guess I’m still here…
Because of you.