It’s only been a few hours since I heard the news, and I’ve tried since then to think of words to express my feelings. I found out via text message from my friend Brandi. Robin Williams was found dead, apparently of suicide. I didn’t want to accept it; he’d spent his life making people laugh. He brought joy to millions. While it hasn’t been officially confirmed (at the time of this writing) that his death was self-inflicted, my heart hurts even more because of that possibility. I ache at the thought of such a joyful member of our society, such a bringer of happiness, sinking to a place where joy could not reach him. No one deserves to ever feel that alone or that helpless…but countless people do, every day.
And while some make it through, others can’t navigate out of their darkest hour.
I’ve been there. I know how it feels. Back before I knew how to thrive in the midst of bipolar disorder, I spent a lot of time in the dark. It’s only because of the persistence, love, and patience of some very, very good friends and family that I’m here. Losing Robin Williams has made the world a little less bright — but every suicide is a heartbreaking one, not just those that are done by famous people.
There is so much I wish I could say to those in this position.
I would say that as hard as it is, there are options. Suicide is not the only option. There are so many other routes to something better — and loved ones who will walk beside you on the journey.
I would tell them that they are special, beloved, and wonderful, despite those mean little voices in their heads. Whether it’s due to mental illness or circumstances, our brains and hearts can lie to us. They’ll tell us horrible things about how we don’t deserve love, or we’ll never be good enough, or it’ll never get better. You do deserve love, you are good enough, and it’ll get better.
I would take their hand and let them know that the world is a better place because they are in it. Each and every one of us has a great propensity for good, even in small everyday ways. I would remind them of the power of their smile, and how its presence could and would brighten someone’s day.
I would remind them of the wonders of the world, and what a beautiful place it is to be. So many things make it beautiful, too. Nature, small acts of kindness, music, our loved ones…everyone has something that is beautiful to them. If I were with someone in their darkest hour, I would talk about the beautiful things that are waiting for them out in the world, and I would affirm that they deserve to enjoy them.
Are you approaching your darkest hour? Have you ever considered suicide? Have you ever found yourself wondering, “Should I kill myself?” If so, please hear me: you’re not alone, and we would miss you. In your darkest hour, I want you to know that I love you, I’ve felt your pain, and I believe in you. This too shall pass, and together we can move forward to keep on making the world a better place.
While I don’t know if Robin Williams reached out to anyone in his darkest hour, if you’re ever there, I hope you will.
Talk to friends. Talk to family. Talk to teachers, colleagues, peers, mentors, anyone. Reach out to me. Send me an email. (Kelly.M.Rivard (at) Gmail.com) Message me via my Facebook page. Comment on this blog. Talk to me.
This world can be a hard place to be. Please, don’t make it harder by removing yourself from it.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me, or anyone else in your day-to-day life, here are some resources you can turn to:
- Lifeline — The National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
- Veterans Crisis Line — Instant support and resources for those who have served in the military.
- NAMI — National Alliance on Mental Health support and resource directory.
- Mental Health America — A directory of support groups for those facing a wide array of difficulties. There is also a hotline number to call if you need to talk right now.
- The Hope Community — Geared toward teenagers and young adults, this community is for anyone who’s dealing with any sort of struggle in life. There are live hotlines, forums, and much more.
To read more about my own past struggles with mental health, to prove you can also find your way back, read here:
- Let’s talk about mental health.
- Celebrate life, support World Suicide Prevention Day.
- My bulimia story.
- Sometimes admitting defeat is the bravest thing you can do.
- Hi there, stability.