robin williams, again: on ‘cowardice’ and compassion

So many do not recognize or honor the fact that mental illness can be all consuming, overwhelming, and invisible to the rest of the world. These battles are not a choice, nor are they any less hard than something you can physically see. Rather, sometimes it’s harder. Most can’t imagine how it might feel to be left to fight alone, hearing others say “but you look fine…” , and having to feeling that admitting something is actually wrongs not allowed or acceptable.

Those in that situation do not want to hurt anyone else, do not say anything because they do not want others to worry, stay silent, or say I’m fine. They learn very well how to lie, how to hide it, how to seem ok. Should they get to the same point where the fight is just too hard it is not cowardice you are right. When something like this happens it leaves the rest of the community (large or small) wondering what happened, how they missed signs, why that person gave up.

So I would like to Thank You Amy for wording this blog entry so well. I am sorry that it took being a survivor to have you find this, but I am glad you found the courage to share it.

(Thank you to whomever reads this and understanding that every so often there is an occasion where the main focus of a blog entry is to help understand a current situation. I continue to be a strong believer in the fact that art can help you get through your own trials, struggles, and battles. Even if your art at that moment feels dark and destructive, it’s still you fighting that battle. For more ways to help heal yourself or get through I recommend “The Soul’s Palette: Drawing on Art’s Transformative Powers” by Cathy Malchiodi. It helped me and is one I still turn to when I need it.)

Figuring. Shit. Out.


I hadn’t planned on writing again about Robin Williams’ death (I hadn’t planned on it the first time), but each new suicide kicks up some dust from the old ones. And when Fox News’ Shepard Smith called Williams a coward, I almost choked.

Smith has since apologized. Good. He should have. Still, some points need to be made, here.

First: Williams wasn’t a coward. My husband wasn’t a coward. My sister wasn’t a coward. My dear friends who killed themselves weren’t cowards. They were good, loving, generous and sensitive people who battled demons so vicious and alienating that they believed they were better off dead.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say this again, I’ll won’t stop staying this, ever: suicide never makes sense. Neither Williams’ misery nor the misery of those left behind can be explained by any worldly logic. But the hurt that his death afflicted on his loved ones doesn’t negate the agony…

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