Seconds after I uploaded my post from yesterday I learned of Robin Williams’ passing. At first I thought it was one of those stupid dead celebrity rumours but quickly learned of the details surrounding his death. Depression does not discriminate. I don’t think anyone can really know what depression is like unless they have lived with it. I have seen loved ones struggle with depression, but really don’t understand how it feels myself. I once was asked by a dear friend who lived with depression to take her medication because she feared having access to them, she was in a dark spot but was able to reach out for help.
Jesus Christ, how fucking difficult must it have been for her to make that call? Another person in her life said she needed a kick in the ass and to get over it. I think we are slowly moving away from those views and the stigma of mental illness, but we have a lot of work to do and a lot of it begins with language. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide, he succumbed to depression. Saying he died by his own hand absolves the disease he was living with from any role.
The comic above is from Watchmen, many people have associated the joke told in the panels above with Robin Williams. The character telling the joke suffers from mental illness himself, and the joke isn’t told to be funny but to open the readers eyes to the realities people may be living despite how others view them. The joke could be applied to Chris Farley, John Belushi, and many other funny people, but they are the first two people that came to mind. As I was trying to make sense of Williams’ death last night this page came to mind.