I’m often moved to a deep point of sadness when a celebrity dies in the mannor Robin Williams, but not in the way many may think. I’m sad for every other John (or Jane if we’re still beating the PC horse to death) Doe whose life ended in the same way and the only headline was a little blurb in the obituary section of the local newspaper as an obligatory gesture to anyone who may not have known the deceased well enough for to warrant a phone call from the family or for the pure curiosity of those obsessed with all things morbid.
The recent passing of Robin Williams is a perfect example. When I read the news, I, like most others likely, was stunned. It’s been shown that many comics as well as people who just have a natural bit of entertainer in them many times suffer from some variety of emotional disorder as in the case of our recently lost legend. Many have other emotional ailments which lead to things like substance abuse and often death. Some of the names that come to mind are Jim Belushi, Jani Lane, Kurt Cobain, Lenny Bruce, Chris Farley. The list could just go on and on. I’ve known some who fall into that category during my lifetime, maybe a couple whose name many would recognize; and for that reason I will leave their names out of this.
One person who stands out the most was my father's best friend Mark who ended his life out in the Mojave one night will a revolver about a decade back. Nobody knew him other than his few close friends and a couple of family members. To everyone else, He was just this funny guy who was a ball of energy and could make just about anyone cry from laughing so hard. Those that really knew him, well, we were always worried. He had been medicating emotional problems for years will drugs and alcohol. It was obvious sometimes how much pain he was in and how desperately he wanted it all to stop and let him live a more peaceful life. Clearly, it didn’t work.
I have been suffering from severe depression since I was a child. I love to make people laugh and have a good time. It kind of helps when it’s just a bit too much to put on more than the fake smile to reassure all of those around me that “I’m ok, Nothing to see or worry about here”. As an adult, I had access to booze and drugs. I followed the same path as all of the others before me. I never meant to hurt anyone, myself included, although I’ve never had much regard for my personal safety when it comes to doing something that I think will give me some kind of mental charge or just be so over the top that I can’t say no. It has lead to the loss of many friendships that, often unknown to the other person, were actually very important to me. To this day I remember and very much miss each one of them, especially those who through various means are no longer with us because there is no chance for reconciliation. I have said very harsh things to any and all in my presence because sometimes the pain was just that bad. I’ve awoke an afternoon hang over not having any idea of what I’d said or done the night before, but knowing that it probably wasn’t good.
What almost no one ever saw was me having to talk myself into and through the process of getting up and going to work because I knew that if I let myself sit idle and completely live in my head, I would inevitably become a statistic as well. Most never saw me with a sad tear running down my cheek as I was picking up that damned bottle again in a desperate attempt to just make it all stop and shut my mind up for just a moments peace. I don’t think that anyone ever saw me crying like a child and begging a non-existent god to just let me die and we could call it even. I also know for certain that nobody saw me sitting there with that pistol one late February night. I doubt any one has seen a small tear start to come up when I think about those who have suffered so much because of my actions. To this day I don’t know why they stayed as long as they did, especially those that are still here after the worst of it. What they see in me, I’ll never know. I just appreciate that they do. Very few know that I don’t really hate people; just their ignorance. The hateful look that was used to keep people at bay for so long is now so ingrained in my body that no matter what my mood, even when my face is relaxed completely and I’m at peace for a time, it’s still somewhat visible. I don’t hold this in out of some stupid sense of pride. I just don’t like those near me to be hurting or worrying about me. I’m not saying this wanting any “attention” or for anyone to “feel sorry for me” because this isn’t just me. It’s millions of others out there who didn’t have people to love them and save them from themselves. It’s all of those who will never know the feeling of relieving love when someone sees just how bad off you are and for some reason picks you up, dusts you off and helps you back up. Many don’t have someone to constantly remind them about the good things in their life. If you’re still reading this and the story sounds all too familiar, do me a favor and just let them know you give a damn. It can go a bit farther than you may think. If you feel some of these things, I get it. Now get some help.