When I read the first tweet that said Robin Williams had died, I let out and audible, “Noooo.” Nicole was in the middle of telling me about her day and I had to interrupt her because my mind had shifted to Googling everything to find out if it was true.
I clicked on the first article that popped up and quickly realized what I feared was true: he didn’t die of natural causes.
The quote from the publicist didn’t say suicide but it did say he’d be depressed. A man that had lived so many highs, from stand up to tv to movies and everything in between, had reached such a low point he couldn’t go any further.
As the night went on, I saw the tweets and Facebook posts rolling in. Everyone had their tribute to him. The only thing I could think to say was a simple, “Oh captain, my captain” tweet. It seemed as though everyone had something to say about Mr. Williams. They had a favorite quote or movie. Through the many different favorites of Robin Williams, the one thing evident across the board was that he would be missed as an actor and entertainer.
Something in me wanted to write about the whole situation. I watched a clip from Dead Poets Society and immediately wanted to write a post based off his famous what will your verse be quote. It would’ve been about how our story fits in a bigger story and how we all can contribute something.
That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Instead, I ended up watching the entire episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? where Williams guest starred. That felt like a better use of my time than writing a contrived post based on a 24-year-old quote simply because it’d get clicks on social media.
I scrolled trough Flipboard while laying in bed, stopping on every article about Robin Williams, watching most of the old clips, and generally trying to process the whole thing. There was an article from Buzzfeed that had collected a whole load of tweets from celebrities about his death. While flipping through them, one tweet in particular stuck out to me. Evan Rachel Wood posted a scene from Alladin with the caption, “Genie, you’re free.”
And I almost cried.
It was in that moment that I went back to the place where my best friend told me she couldn’t be around me because I was “just so G–d— depressed all the time.”
I remembered driving down US 460 in Lynchburg, VA and wondering if anyone would care if I got in a wreck.
That place of hurt, depression, and darkness became so very real again.
Depression is a real thing. It happens to more people than you realize, and until you either go through it yourself or are close to someone who does, it’s hard to fully understand how powerful it is. For Robin Williams, it was so powerful that he didn’t think he had a way out. Like the genie, he felt trapped in something with no way to be set free. He lost his last ounce of hope and could go no further. And because of that, we lost one of the best entertainers the world has ever seen.
This is the point where I could take a hard right turn and tell you Jesus is the hope you need. He’s the only thing that can truly move you past the darkness you’re feeling right now to a place of hope and freedom.
And if I were a better Christian, that’s exactly what I would do.
The thing is, I know how I felt when depression had its grip on me. I knew about Jesus and how he could fix things, but I’d gotten to the point where depression was who I was. Even when I’d start feeling better, I’d catch myself and think, “wait, I’m supposed to be depressed. I can’t be having fun right now.”
Instead of giving you the churchy answer or the preachy sermon, I just want to tell you one simple thing:
Whatever your depression is telling you right now is a lie.
You are not worthless.
You are not a failure.
You are not a disappointment to everyone around you.
Depression is a jerk. And if I didn’t work at a church, I’d probably use a much harsher word than jerk.
If you’re currently in the grips of depression, know this: you can get through it. You don’t have to do it on your own. I know you don’t believe me but I also know how dark my life was just five years ago. Trust me. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and anyone who has found it will be glad to show you the way.
If you’re reading this and need someone to simply listen, please speak up. Darkness cannot exist once it’s exposed to light. Don’t sit by yourself embarrassed thinking you’re less of a person because that’s a lie. Make the first move and let someone know what’s going on.
If no one else has told you this lately, let me be the first one: you are worth fighting for.
Fighting alone gets really tiring really fast.
Let others fight with you.
Say your prayers and take your vitamins.
Have a nice day.