During the last few days I have had Robin Williams on my mind. The world now knows he has passed and probably his demise was because of his own choice. Sadly I think he hid his suffering in plain sight, as many people do, and maybe you do sometimes.
In watching the Youtube interviews, and reading the stories about Robin’s ingenious wit, and manic energy I think I see a drowning man hiding splashing around. Over and over again he joked about his alcohol use, and addiction problems but then quickly ducked his feelings behind his wit and dodges into vocal skits. He was deceiving us that he had it under control.
Robin was 63 and despite his worldwide acclaim I assume he was still a man of his time. I mean he didn’t want to appear weak or invite sympathy, and perhaps like many men (and women) felt he could soldier on, and his woundings were superficial and therefore he should be able to just “shuck” them off.
Depression (Mental Illness) should be no different than high blood pressure, if you need help you get it, but that is not what people do.
Robin was never alone in mental illness although every sufferer may feel alone or even possibly ashamed. Mental illness affects every Canadian as everyone has a friend, family member or a colleague affected. In fact 20% of Canadians (check the color link for more information) will personally experience mental illness in their lifetime – what is that statistic? It means that in your core family group of ten, two of your core group will have mental illness, maybe you, or me.
Why are we shocked by suicide? Robin was wealthy, famous, successful but none of that matters with mental illness. Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds, and 16% among 25-44 year olds. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age. NOTICE this – The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.
If you are hiding in plain sight with depression today, or tomorrow or anytime. Please stop hiding and let someone help you. People around you do to throw you a life ring and pull you in. They love you and want to help you by being there.
For the rest of us, let’s open our eyes, and hearts and learn the depression myths. Hide and Seek needs to stop.