I wasn’t going to write about this, even though when I learned the news yesterday I was in shock. Just like a lot of other people. Enough was being said about this creative, amazing man’s legacy and brief, shining light. I figured I would let everyone else speak, and I would bottle my own feelings about his death. After all, I am trying to keep this blog running and lifestyle centric. However, this is also a place for me to let loose with personal updates, and as someone who has suffered from depression, taken anti-depressants, and idealized suicide I have strong feelings about what has happened as well.
Robin Williams touched so many people in his life, as a child I loved watching Jumanji and Mrs. Doubtfire. Those movies made me laugh over and over again. I wasn’t familiar with his battles with drugs and alcohol, and so rumors that his death was a suicide literally blindsided me, like many others, I never thought that a man who was so funny could be suffering so silently inside. I, like many others, can identify with that pain. I’ve been depressed, am still depressed (it waxes and wanes to a much lesser degree now). I’ve cried myself to sleep and self-harmed. Not many people know this, I’ve lied to cover it up and I am sure that anyone close to me who reads this might be surprised. I’m trying, in my own bumbling way as I attempt to pin down these slippery feelings, to say that everyone knows someone or can identify with this pain themselves. His death hits close to home for everyone. It has also shed very significant light on the epidemic of hiding away our mental illnesses. So many people in the past 24 hours have come out and confessed to their own depression and suicidal thoughts…..why had we all been hiding away before? Are we all still ashamed? Is it weakness?
About two years ago I was drinking a lot and in the midst of my worst depression, at one point I woke up in the ER one morning after being taken there with a blood alcohol level of .24. To put this in perspective I am a petite 5’2″ woman. My friend and I split a 5th of vodka, and the last thing I remember doing was getting up to dance that night. I have no idea the state I was in when a police officer wrote me an MIP with a summons to court, I don’t want to imagine the scenarios. I was still plenty drunk the next morning at 6am and ashamed of myself. The guilt and shame compounded how worthless I already felt, and I wished many times after that night that I had died then.
Since then, I my life has changed in ways that I could not imagine. I’ve been to India and Guatemala, made incredible new friends, moved to Portland, ran a 2:58 marathon and landed some incredible new jobs. I’ve grown and changed in ways I could not have imagined. Now I consider myself a mostly happy person, though there are still times I can spiral down, but at least now it’s not the norm anymore. I don’t rely on anti-depressants, I rely on my running. It’s the gift that has saved me from self-destruction many times over, and I would not be where I am right now without my running goals setting me straight. I’m saddened that Robin Williams felt that he didn’t deserve to be alive anymore, for he truly was a man of many talents, running being one of them (I just learned).
I wish that he would have been able to use one of his gifts to save himself, too.