Reflecting on Robin Williams and Suicide

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Robin Williams’s suicide shocked and saddened all of us. I published two posts on HealthCentral’s bipolar site, which can be found here and here.


    This is a good time, writing from a depression perspective, to focus on suicide. This is an issue all of us living with depression - no exceptions - have confronted. Some of us have survived failed attempts, others have come right to the edge. Still others frequently entertain the thought, even if nothing actually eventuates.


    On top of that, many of us have been through the loss of a dear friend or loved one. 


    We can speculate all we want on what triggered Robin Williams‘ final act. What I can say is this: When the brain is in a state of extreme distress, taking your own life seems the rational choice.

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    “It felt like a rat was gnawing at my brain,” is how one person described it to me.


    Severe depression is a state of intense, almost unendurable, psychic pain. Our outside world has turned on us, abandoned us. Our inside world implodes.


    We are Sisyphus rolling a rock uphill, we are Prometheus with birds gnawing at our liver, we are Atlas caving in under the load.


    You know the feeling, that horrible moment of truth, where the inescapable realization strikes, where you know, know absolutely: the one way out is the only way out. 


    That’s all I know. Life is a mystery, as is death. We will never have answers. Explanations are pointless. All we can do is acknowledge the pain one man felt in those final terrible moments, a pain beyond limits.


    We lost a brother, a comrade-in-arms. We love you, Robin ... 

Published On: August 28, 2014