Who knows the full story behind the death of Robin Williams? While the world speculates about suicide and depression, the only good to come out of such a terrible loss is the increased awareness of The Invisible Illness.
The chemical imbalance in the brain that leads people to give up on everything they should hold dear. You can’t point to it, you don’t come out in a rash or turn purple, which makes it so hard to treat. Depression tells you that nothing is worth it, and you believe it because that voice comes from within. It’s this fundamental misfire which holds so many people back from asking for help. Asking for help involves admitting you have a problem, and so the door of stigma opens: other people’s attitudes to mental health are the biggest barrier to care and healing.
Everyone needs some kind of support, depressed or not. But the most difficult thing to accept is that someone has decided they want to stop living – that the pain of living with The Invisible Illness has become unbearable. To find that someone might be unreachable and that the best thing for them is to let them go is almost impossible to comprehend.
To say that suicide is ‘selfish’ is to deny the presence of a corrosive condition that often erodes the self.
‘Tears of a clown’ is a strange cliche, but until the truth emerges, I want to remember the joy that Robin Williams brought me as a child watching Mork and Mindy after school. A legacy of happiness.