It's 00.02 and the following iMessage appears on my screen from Justin:
I'm sure you've seen
But Robin Williams
I really hope that this isn't what I think it is
I haven't seen
At this point, I know exactly what it is. My eyes begin to well up, not quite enough to form visible tears but enough to feel a weight amassing beneath my eyelids. And it dawns on me that this is the first in a terribly long time that I have not found out about a death via social media.
I'd told myself last week that I would write a new blog post this week. As the days went on, I had an idea what I'd write about but wasn't completely sold on the subject matter. It brings me no joy in that finding something topical to write about is at the consequence of death.
It felt almost strange that I didn't find out about Robin Williams' death via social media; telling not only of my lifestyle but also the world we currently live in. When I finally made it on to twitter, it looked exactly how it looks when someone in the limelight dies. The celebration of life, the sadness at loss, the recollection and the reminiscence. No matter how big or small a fan you were, how much or little you know, these people have a way of touching so many lives. I, for example, found it strange that, in reminiscence, not many people on my Twitter timeline mentioned Dead Poet's Society but then, generationally, considering my age and that most people I follow are the same age, it was a film that was made before we were born. In fairness, my reason for watching it (for the first time in the last 2-3 years) was because it won the best original screenplay Oscar. Whatever one's reason is, it's beautiful to see people come together to respect, appreciate and revere a life.
Sadly, it's inevitable that in light of the reverence, out comes to play those who also want to contribute their not so positive opinions. Thankfully, nobody I follow (because of the importance I put on having an Online Consumption Filter) played a part in this but I did see some of the comments due to those on my timeline complaining about them and/or RT'ing them to highlight what they were complaining about. For anybody who is unsure of the kind of comments I mean:
- Those who complain about how much attention we're paying to a celebrities death, when there are other problems in the world (Gaza, the murders that police are committing in the United States)
- Belittling of the achievements of those who died
- Comments akin to "I never saw you praising them when they were alive"
- And, in this case, people's insensitivities and ignorance to suicide
Some of the more beautiful things I did see on Twitter yesterday were:
And, before I make my point, an anecdote I read on Williams whilst writing this:
|From Robin Williams: five quirky facts about the 'comic genius' Source: The Week|
Genius is not a word I use lightly but Robin Williams was exactly that, of the comedic variety. In recent years I've come to far more appreciate the genius of comedy both in terms of sitcoms and stand-ups. The writing, delivery and comedic timing all carefully weaved together to evoke laughter. Emotions, even.
Suicide and depression is a touchy subject, one which I by no means hold any expertise in.
"Most people don't realise how truly evil an uncontrolled brain can be" - a friend in regards to how depression effects. It isn't as simple as saying they looked so happy. Or highlighting how successful they were. That can, in fact, be a part of the problem. I don't think it's by chance that so many successes (especially in the creative/artistic spectrum) are marred by alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicide. Puff, Big & Ma$e knew what they were saying when they said mo' money, mo' problems.
"There's also the potential of the desire for success masking true sadness that only becomes apparent once you have everything" - I can't guess or assume why Robin Williams would take his life but this point feels poignant when considering the anecdote from his younger years. There really is something both incredible to appreciate in people who dedicate their livelihoods to entertaining others but a heartbreaking and sinister side to the coin in the effect it potentially has on them.
Earlier this year, for a short period, I myself went through a short bout of depression. I hate to mention it but feel the need due to how it was identified. After a messy alcohol-fuelled night that followed a week to forget, the next morning hungover, confused and at my lowest, my best friend called to check on me. We joked about the night, but he also gave me a stern telling-off for being so drunk but, more importantly, choosing to be so drunk to escape problems. As the call went on, I became more and more silent, deep in thoughts as the problems came rushing back to me. Fighting back tears in my silence, all it took was for my best friend to ask if I was okay, a 'yes' to leave my cracked voice and then the tears began to flood. Shortly after he arrived at my house, more tears and we went out for a meal and talked it over.
It took someone else's observations for me to realise the magnitude of what I was going through at the time and, incredibly, talking it out for hours was the first step in getting myself together. The sense of relief. Hearing my thoughts out loud. And not necessarily having the solutions then and there, but knowing that was alright. I've never not known that I have people there for me. In fact, if you know me well enough, I forever champion my friends and can't speak enough of my gratitude for the fantastic people I have around me. It can, however, be so easy to lose sight of that especially if you're like me, happy to keep to yourself and rather strong-headed (code for stubborn) in that I prefer to just get on with things alone. I am usually the rock for others and seldom ever the one who needs help standing up.
It's okay to need help.
It's okay to need help.
I sign this off with two more more things I've seen on social media today:
|From an AMA (Ask Me Anything) that Robin Williams did in 2013 (source: @iseowl Instagram)|
It's not easy, especially in the busy lives we all lead to be conscious of others. And, though it'd be unfair to say that we could prevent depression, let's try to care more and not be the reason our people feel alone. R.I.P. Robin Williams.
Currently listening to: J. Cole - Farewell (a song that always crosses my mind in light of death. The first verse is honestly poetry, I'd encourage you to read the lyrics whilst listening it)