Rest in Peace, Robin Williams.

Gone way too soon.  Way too soon.

And apparently by suicide.  It’s very, very hard to imagine.

Though, in some respects, it isn’t.

There are many others like him out there that smile and say “I’m okay” when they aren’t—the ones who suffer in silence from their depression and think that there’s nothing left for them.

And believe me.  I’m not advocating control of anyone’s life, but at the same time, I’d much rather not have people commit suicide.  I don’t believe anything is as bad as it seems, because our perception and experiences and life choices dictate how we view life.  In other words, I try to see the glass as “half full” most of the time, and I think that there’s a lot to live for in my life.  I’ll take and give what I can and will.

But that’s my opinion, and that’s where it should stay.

I don’t want to tell someone with depression, “You have so much to live for” or “Look on the bright side,” because a) telling another person that they have so much to live for in their life is essentially telling another person “I know more about your life and what it will be like than you do,” which is pretentious, and b) telling them to look on the “bright side” detracts them from the problem that they’re going through.  That kind of language says that they are “wrong” in their line of thinking.

Solving problems does not begin with saying “You’re wrong, and I’m right,” or “I know better than you do,”  Solving problems begins with listening, and asking “How are you feeling? What can I do to help you? How can I gain a better understanding of the situation before I jump the gun?”

You may think you’re alone and have no one to talk to, but really, you’re not.  Someone loves you enough to have put you on this earth and let you stay here.  And the stigma associated with being “crazy” or “mental” or “problematic” or “suicidal” is completely outdated.  It’s a human problem.  It’s a real problem.  Humans are communal creatures, and we aren’t going to survive if we don’t help each other and listen to each other cry for help, and listen carefully.  Because crying for help appears to be one the quietest of cries in the universe.

And it shouldn’t be.  At all.

If something’s bothering you, please, please talk about it with someone you know.  And I know it’s easier said than done.  We’re human.  We let anger fester in us.  We have papers to finish, jobs to do.  We think that our problems are small compared to the rest, but eventually they will catch up.  You can only push them far back before explosion.  We avoid the personal, because let’s face it.  It is hard stuff.  It’s private stuff.  It’s reality.  And so we make ourselves think we don’t have time for talking.  But there’s always time.  And there are always going to be people out there that are willing to help you—from your loved ones, your colleagues, your family, and even professionals like those who work for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

And if you see someone that might have signs of suicide as detailed herelet that person know.  Don’t be afraid to ask them if they’re thinking about suicide.  Suicide is a taboo topic, as expected.  But talking about suicide is not like spreading a virus.  Talking about suicide to the person you are trying to help most likely won’t encourage them to do it.  More than likely, talking to them about it acknowledges to them that you are listening to them and aware of their presence and their pain.  That’s far, far, far better than just ignoring the person.

You are acknowledging their silent cry for help, because suicide is a serious issue.  Those who outright declare it will have others trying to talk them out of it—talking and arguing instead of listening and helping.  And no, suicide is not a simple issue.  Everyone is different and has reasons for considering it, because of the nature of how everyone has grown up differently.  But at least we can all do our part and listen.

Listening appears to be a cure for a lot of things.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.  You brought many smiles and many laughs to people around the world, and even to Koko the gorilla.  My condolences to your family, and thank you for all you’ve done.

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