Rest In Paradise, Mr. Williams

Depression is a terrible disease that 10% of Americans live with. Those who suffer from depression feel like they are drowning and there is no way out of the water. It is not a feeling they can control and it is not a feeling that other people can understand. This can make sufferers feel even more alone than they already do.

The world is full of so many sad hearts hidden behind beautiful smiles. People show strength in front of others, but are fighting terrible battles inside that nobody knows about. Even when people are so loved by others, it is hard for them to see this. They become their toughest critic. Depression is a downward spiral. Even when you are climbing upwards, and feeling better, something can set you back. Things can make you snap.

Suicide is not that people want to die, it is that they want the pain to stop. You never know the pain in someone else’s heart. We all loved Robin Williams greatly and saw him as a genius in his craft. Even if he grasped the idea that he was one of the most powerful, loved actors of all time, he had a disease that prevented him from feeling that way. Depression doesn’t allow people to see all the great things in their lives. It only allows them to focus on the negative. Robin Williams could play any role, he just couldn’t play himself.

My junior year of high school, one of the most encouraging teachers I had, Mr. Chapman, played “The Dead Poet’s Society” for us. Being a total nerd growing up, I hated when teachers played movies. I wanted to learn something, not spend a couple days watching a movie so that the teacher didn’t have to teach. Playing this movie for our class, Mr. Chapman WAS teaching us something...and so was Robin Williams. Williams encouraged his students in the film to become their own people. He told them, “You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

For those who suffer from depression, I encourage you to take Williams’ words and find your voice. Break out. Find your passion and run with it. Remember that even in the darkest hour things always get better. Think back on the worst moment of your life. You overcame it. While it’s not easy living with depression and can be a gray cloud hanging over you for the rest of your life, there are things you can do to try to feel better. Seek therapy. Pray. Get involved in something that makes a difference to someone else. Read positive quotes. Write out ten positive things about yourself.

If you don’t live with depression, there are still things you can do to help. Be as kind as possible to others. So often we hear of suicides on the news where children and teenagers were bullied to their own death. We all saw Robin Williams as a happy, successful, comedic man. None of us knew the internal battle he was fighting and none of us know of anyone else’s internal battles.


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