Trigger warning: This post deals with suicide and may be distressing for some readers.
By KATE LEAVER
Grieving for a famous stranger is weird.
I get that.
Robin Williams was a famous stranger… and yet news of his death today has crushed me. The shock of it momentarily took the air from my lungs. Dramatic? Maybe. But genuine. I’ve had his face — scrunched up in laughter, as it so often was — in my heart all day.
You may feel unusually moved by the death of Robin Williams, too. And that’s OK. It’s not just because we’ve lost a rare and extraordinary comedian. It’s because we lost him to depression.
Police investigating the actor’s death say Williams most likely committed suicide. In his sixth decade of life, he chose death.
This was a successful, kind man with a TV show, a film in production, a full family, friends, and millions of fans. He had all the trappings of happiness, all the signs of satisfaction.
But in taking his own life, Williams proved that none of that matters, when you’re being tortured by depression. Mental illness does not discriminate. It’s savage and it’s powerful enough to knock out one of the funniest men on the planet.
Excuse my French, but that’s a fucking bleak reality. Especially at 8 o’clock this morning, when news broke of his death.
But by 5pm, the conversation had turned to how we can protect people from suicide. For that, I am grateful. #RUOK is currently trending worldwide on Twitter. It doesn’t take away the tragedy of Robin Williams’ death (and those three words can’t save someone on their own) but it’s heartening to see that millions of people have chosen today to take depression seriously.