*The following post talks about suicide. If you are feeling suicidal then please call someone or head to your nearest emergency department. Keep telling people until you get help. Lifeline: 13 11 14 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 3646 Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800*
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you will know that Robin Williams passed away this week. Another victim to Mental Illness, another life that will be sorely missed by the people who knew him and because of his fame, many who loved his work. I think the last person who caused such an outpouring of grief with their death was Princess Diana, that is the enormity of the impact that Robin Williams had on those who enjoyed his work.
The death of Robin Williams seems to have hit a lot of people really hard. His death is proof that mental illness and suicide can impact anyone. Here was a man who spent his life making other people laugh and yet he couldn’t escape his own personal demons. His death proved just how lonely the mentally ill can be, even when they are surrounded by people who love them.
Unlike this post, I know that suicide isn’t a choice. At least not in the way that you choose whether to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt today. When you are suicidal, there is no rational thought involved. Sure you believe in that moment that you are doing something completely rational. You believe that the world really will be better off without you. You believe that your friends and family will get over it quicker if you just cut your life short.
There is also the other flip of the coin when someone commits suicide during a manic episode. In their mind they aren’t killing themselves because often they believe that they really can fly off that bridge. They believe that death is beneath them, that they are God and are in fact invincible. They believe that the cars won’t hit them when they dart across a busy highway.
Even though those thoughts or motivations seem to come from completely different ends of the scale, they are both the same in that the person isn’t in a rational frame of mind when they make that ‘choice’ to end their life. Often someone who is suicidal doesn’t see beyond there here and now, they just want the pain to end.
I know that suicide isn’t a choice. I know that suicide isn’t selfish, at least in the mind of the person who is attempting to take their own life. They see it as a way to remove the burden that their illness causes their loved ones. I know that suicide can touch anyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done, you can be touched by mental illness.
Please talk to your loved ones. If you are feeling suicidal then please know that you are not alone. Please ask for help.
Great post. I completely agree. Being mentally ill myself, I have experienced the inability to think rationally that comes with it and that may lead to suicide attempts or unfortunately completed suicides. This reality of the damage mental illness can do is tragic but true.
I absolutely agree. I think that a lot of people, who haven’t been around people who are mentally ill or are mentally ill themselves don’t understand the impact that it can have on people.
I think perhaps dad thought we’d all be better off without him, but contemplating what he was thinking at the time is hard for me. Its hard because I was only a child when he did it. Its hard because there are so many emotions involved and its hard because I know what its like to have to get on with your life after a loved one and someone who is meant to protect you has gone. I dont ever think he was selfish, but now that Im a parent I have my moments where Im angry at him for leaving me because of all the moments he missed being a part of.
I’m so sorry Toni. I couldn’t imagine what it must feel like for you and I wouldn’t even try.
Thank you for writing this.
(sorry it took me so long to get here, bloody kids)