Depression is a silent killer. You don’t even have to die to experience its death. You live the death just under your skin, suffocating your soul, 24/7. It is an insidious infection that never lets up.
Sure, you have moments of elation, rest, momentary peacefulness, or escape. I’ve struggled with it for years. When I first married, my new bride would describe me as morbidly introspective. Nice.
Yet on the surface I was upbeat, forward looking, powerful, and optimistic. Underneath, I always wondered if I measured up to peoples’ expectations. I was sure I didn’t.
So I performed better. And better. And… tried harder and harder… .
Robin Williams recent suicide brought it all back to me—the acting, the humor, the insecurity-amidst-confidence; and especially the fear of being known. I even wrote an article on it.
What drives such a successful man to draw an end to his life? In a word— despair. Def.- The conclusion that life holds no more for you. That managing life is now beyond your ability and/or desire. During my journey as a counselor three individuals have committed suicide under my care; one, premeditated, the other two, on the spur of the moment. I’ve always wondered if I could have prevented these needless deaths. My depression spiraled downward to the deepest depths.
If you could have walked through Robin Williams’ depression with him, what would you have said? What hope would you have offered? What reason to continue living? What great purpose would have fulfilled his life? Certainly his success as an actor and comedian did not bring him the fulfillment he so desperately hungered for.
Many fellow Christians might have offered him the reasons he sought in a relationship with Jesus Christ. But do you realize how strange that could have sounded to someone who had no hope, who sat outside the perimeters of God’s protection? It would have sounded farcical.
So many of us, Christians and normal people alike, place our hope in our personal security, our financial stability, and in our own abilities and self-confidence. I don’t think this is enough.
There is a great deal to be said for reestablishing a relationship with the God who made us. And for cleaning out the garbage of our lives. And for clearing the air with our friends.
I grieve Robin Williams death. He left us, unnecessarily, too soon.
For what it’s worth,