I am lucky. I rarely have to contend with haters, internet trolls and people with ugliness in their hearts. That is because I have the most compassionate and courageous social media friends in the world.
Since the death of Robin Williams was announced, and since it was reported that his death was a suicide, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of compassionate and heartfelt postings for the comedian. There have been posts with understanding for the sufferers of depression and other mental illnesses, and there have been informational posts to offer help to those in need.
I wish that Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda, who obviously is in great pain right now, was as lucky as I am. The haters of the world viciously descended upon her at her worst moment, sending hateful messages about her father to her Twitter account. My heart cries out to her in so many ways.
I am sheltered from such hate, thankfully, most of the time. I know it is out there, though.
Despite the risks of being on the receiving end of the vitriol, many of my social media friends have taken the unusual step of discussing their own battles with depression and other emotional struggles very openly in response to Williams’ death. I admire them so much for having the courage to do that!
Coping with emotional pain takes immeasurable courage on its own. To talk about it openly, knowing that it could have repercussions – well, that is the most courageous thing a person can do. My friends’ purpose in taking the risk was to let others know that they are not alone, and that they can get to the other side of it.
We all hurt, and we are all susceptible to experiencing mental and emotional disturbances. There is no shame in it. There is only sadness when someone loses his or her life because they did not believe that they could get to the other side of it.
I spent 20 years as a mental health counselor, helping people heal from a variety of emotional concerns. If anyone thinks that these people were weak or somehow defective, they would would be wrong. These were the strongest and most courageous people that I have ever met.
I want to thank you, if you were one of those who shared a story about your own struggles in the last couple of days. I also want to thank you if you were one of those who responded to another’s sharing with compassion and support. You have all reminded me of the most wonderful aspects of human nature.
I also want to thank Robin Williams. He made me laugh with his silliness. He made me cry with his seriousness. He helped me understand with his gripping portrayals of The Fisher King and the neurologist Oliver Sacks who discovered groundbreaking treatments for mental illness in the film Awakenings.
I only wish that he could have believed that he could make it to the other side.
Godspeed dear funny man. We will always love you.
If you need help, please check out the resources in your area. There is hope! If you do not know how to access help in your area, these national mental health resources can help get you the services you need.
Life is an Adventure!