I'm very deeply affected by the suicide of a prominent childhood figure of mine: Robin Williams. For a while I wondered why, because I normally don't have such reactions to actors.
And then it hit me. Robin Williams was one of the most funny, dynamic, colourful personalities out there. And he was depressed. It makes me so sad, and almost sick to think that the collective love directed towards him by people all over the world wasn't enough to protect him from depression. Depression's hold is too strong.
What's worse is that it's still a taboo today. Depression is incredibly underrated, and wrongly considered a weakness. People feel the need to hide behind masks of humour and cheerfulness. I don't blame them. The world is harsh and judgmental.
There's a great article on Cracked.com about funny people battling depression: Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves. It's well worth a read.
One particular comment to this article really stood out:
"They're afraid that the moment the laughter stops, all that's left is that gross, awkward kid everyone hated on the playground, the one they've been hiding behind bricks all their adult life."
You couldn't have put it any better, man. If you stop and think about it, how many times is the "funny guy" in the room the one that doesn't want the party to end? The one who convinces you to have one more beer, listen to one more song, play one more hand of cards? It's because we know that once the party's over, once everyone goes home and goes on with their lives, we have to be alone with ourselves, and for a lot of us that's scary as hell. I was wondering why I was taking a celebrity death so hard when I normally don't give them a second thought, and now I think I know. Thanks for this.
There are so many people even in my own life to whom I wish I could explain that mental stress and troubles should not be looked as scoff-able weaknesses, but as something to be handled with understanding, love and support. Way too many think that depression means craziness.
The only thing I can say to them is: Look out for the people who open up to you. If someone exposes their vulnerabilities, treat them with care not condescension. And lots of love!
Rest in peace, dearest Genie.