If you are having thoughts of suicide call: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
This week we lost one of America’s favorite entertainers, Robin Williams. I always thought of him as silly, and I love when an adult can be silly. It makes everyone feel lighter, happier and able to put their own troubles aside for the moment. So why did this man, who brought light and laughter into so many lives, choose to end his own?
I am not qualified to speculate an answer to that question or to offer advice for anyone battling with depression. I’m writing from personal experience, shedding some light on two aspects of suicide for those who are left shocked and confused by his tragic death.
A common question lingers when a loved one takes their own life. How could they leave me? It’s not unusual to feel angry or abandoned. As hard as this is to comprehend, when someone is suicidal they cannot think past the dark, isolated place they are in. They may even believe those they love will be better off without them. At the time they are so detached from emotion it isn't possible to rationally think about the emotions of others. It is that dark. What’s important for others to know is that the suicide was not about them or because of them and there is no blame.
Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse
Chapter 11 Pg. 172
January 17, 2005
7:20 A.M. Something feels awful. I’m sitting in my living room but I feel detached. I could easily not be here. I need to allow myself to feel this. Invisible, unattached, unknown. If this were the last day of my life would it really matter? What’s happening to me? I can’t feel any emotional attachment. I can only sit, breathe, stare, and occasionally write a sentence. Hollow. I want to feel but I have no feelings. I can list the people it would matter to—but would it really matter? They’d go on.
In chapter 11, Through the Darkness, I address suicidal thoughts and strategies for making it through the darkness. I call these strategies Beacons of Light. Sometimes just the tiniest pinhole of light will be enough to allow you to hold on, reach out and get the professional help you need. All of my “beacons” involved letting others in—a hard thing to do at the time. It’s gravely sad to accept that some, like Robin Williams, can’t see that pinhole, yet so hopeful to know that others can and do make it through the darkness. I don’t know why some do and others don’t. But what I do know is there are strategies that can help, and once you are through each dark episode there is strength to continue to do the work until you are in a place where the darkness is replaced by light, hope and joy.
Chapter 11 Pg. 161
As you read this chapter, dwell not on the sadness but on the profound, positive thought that I walked through the darkness and I am on the other side, healed and whole. I made it!
Read more about my Beacons of Light in Say it Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse coming October 7, 2014.