I rarely blog about current new events, “celebrity news” especially. However with Facebook and Twitter all buzzing about the death of Robin Williams, I caught myself wanting to comment, but then opting to refrain…because my comments were not in the spirit of finding empathy with the poster in most cases. Basically, I think that it’s tacky to pick apart someone’s social media post…especially those made in a reactionary state-of-mind. And 95% of these posts were along the vain of “OMG – I’m so sad/shocked/horrified at the death of Robin Williams! He was so funny! We’ve lost Ms. Doubtfire! Let me post this picture of Aladdin & the Genie hugging now!” (Seriously people?????). All I could really do is shake my head, because I really had nothing nice or relevant to say to these posts.
Before you write me off as being cruel & callous bitch, I honestly do offer many condolences to Robin Williams’ family. Not only have they lost a husband and a father, but they have to deal with their grief in a very public light. When you are grieving, the last thing you want is to be put in the spotlight! Yet I don’t think they are going to be able to avoid it, in spite of their pleas. So I really, sincerely feel for them.
But I don’t feel for us…the “fans” of Robin Williams. Well, in all honesty, I don’t think I can even call myself a fan of Robin Williams. I can appreciate him as a comedian…in that I think that he comes from that old school of comedy where you used your natural personality and then your characters all stemmed from that. Younger, modern-day comedians aren’t usually as deep and versatile as Robin Williams was. Oh, he also won a lot of respect from me by taking on the lead role in Club Paradise, a campy 80s film that most of the world has forgotten. However it portrayed the Caribbean and its culture in a very respectful, and interesting way…
But respect is not the same as love. I am not shocked or even saddened by the death of Robin Williams. In fact, I’m not very surprised at all really. Just because you are famous and you have money in the bank, does not mean that you are happy. And you can be happy, but still be depressed. On a deeper level, the man we saw in front of cameras is just a tiny sliver of a glimpse into the complete man that he was. For example, when searching for a picture of Robin to use for this blog post, I stumbled across this:
Now it’s well-known that Robin was a big supporter of our troops fighting oversees. If he had an affinity for the Arabs, I don’t know. In honesty, I don’t care. People are free to believe and support whatever they want…and fame shouldn’t exclude that. All I know for sure, is that the only part of Robin Williams that I was even remotely familiar with, was his professional work as an actor and comedian.
When people die unexpectedly, hindsight forces you to ask “why?”. Is there something that could have been done? Could this have been prevented? But all of the speculating in the world doesn’t bring that person back. Depression is a common, yet serious problem. And it is a problem that we just accept as a fact of life sadly. I’m thankful…I’ve never had to deal with deep, debilitating depression. However my life has been filled with so much misfortune. I think my brain just has a good ability to put things into perspective, and compartmentalize all of this misfortune to the point where it doesn’t cripple me. But it still isn’t easy. There have been a string of days where tears run out my eyes from the second that I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. I’ve had entire weeks go by where I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror because I hate myself so much. And like I said, I’m a person who deals with things well…who tends to turn to God more so than turning to drugs and alcohol. So I can understand how despair can warp your entire view…on everything. And make you feel that you are completely worthless. And that your life means nothing but pain and disappointment. And that it should end. Because you’re tired of hurting and being in pain all of the time.
Yes, I can totally understand those feelings. But I put trust in the infinite wisdom of the Creator…that for some reason, he created me. Even if I don’t know what that reason is, I acknowledge that it wasn’t my decision to come into this world, it should not be my decision to leave it.
But not everyone believes in God. I’m not sure if Robin did or not. But it doesn’t matter anyway now…because now it’s too late. If you ever wanted to talk to him, to find out the source of his depression, etc. It’s too late now. People are talking about and quoting his movies and best lines from Mork & Mindy. And I guess that makes them feel better. But I can almost guarantee that isn’t what would make Robin feel better. It’s just more celebration and publicity of these make believe characters that too many have equated with ‘Robin Williams’. Yes, it is an appreciation of his skills. But they were products of his comedic/acting talents…not ‘him’. There was much more to Robin than those characters. And it was most likely not his disappointment in his previous work that caused his depression. It could have been lingering uncertainty and fears of incompetence. We don’t even know if it is depression that killed him, or just too much of whatever he was taking. Again, who knows…no one. Because it’s after the fact now…
I fully expect that the news and the internet is going to be talking about Robin Williams for a while. What I hope would happen, but probably won’t, is more public discussion about depression (notice I said depression and not suicide…suicide is mostly just the result of depression). The reason why I think this won’t happen on a large scale, is because we don’t like tackling tough problems as a society. We run from them. Just like we run from really getting to know each other. We are handed many opportunities to learn and discover and to love one another. But we like to keep our distance. We like to be disconnected. It’s like we form our mental idea of what the next person is; and we never really let that person show themselves to be anything different…even if they are in fact completely different than what your perception of them is. This happens to me constantly. And for famous people, it is the norm. No one really knows them many times. Not even their spouses. And sadder yet, no one really cares to know them either. Until after they die. Then they’ll dig deep enough to write a book on you.
So sad. We…as a society, a so-called “community”…it’s just so sad.
Postscript – since the original publication of this post, I’ve been mildly repulsed at the comfort level of both the media and random individuals to “diagnose” Mr. Williams and make conclusions as to what led to his death. I found out here that he was actually asked about having clinical depression, and he said “no”. Whether or not he was lying or not is not my call to make. Please understand that I do not pretend to know or imply that I am privy to any details of Mr. Williams’ health…mental or physical.