Tuesday, August 12, 2014

what-ifs and if-onlys


We loved him in the bay area. My sister-in-law has a picture with Robin. He was so approachable.


Yesterday was unreal - after hearing of one of my ultimate favorites, Robin Williams' suicide.  Today I am even more upset - news that he hung himself.  I am physically ill over it. I am weepy and out of sorts. You see, I have a issue with suicide. It seems to run in my family.

My mom shot herself in the head in 2008. She was 73 years old. I had just come back, from a week with her. I knew she was depressed. But stupid me, did not ever consider, that she might take her own life. Of course now, when I play it back in my mind, I see all the warning signs. My sister and I both, are still haunted by the "what-ifs" and the "if-onlys."

I am a firm believer, that if a person wants to kill themselves, they will...eventually. We as a society can erect suicide barriers like on the Golden Gate Bridge, we can offer mental health screening and care, we can have suicide hot lines and phones at places on bridges and beside train tracks - we can have suicide counselors on call 24/7 - and it may stop a few and that is good - unfortunately the majority, who want to die, will do it. Nothing will stop them. I know that sounds harsh, but it's true. What makes human beings think they can actually talk someone out of killing themselves?  I believe that if you can talk someone out of it, how do we know, they were really intent on killing themselves in the first place?  Seems the ones who do, succeed. They succeed in fooling everyone including themselves.

That moment of insanity - takes over and I totally believe, they can't stop themselves. It's horrible.

I've been suicidal at times in my life. I actually attempted it in my first marriage - like many families, we kept it a secret. I went to the doctor and got on my meds and did counseling and I am "all-better" now. Or am I???  See, that is the deal. We never know. We think, just because someone is depressed that we can talk them out of it. Sometimes, we who are depressed or who struggle with depression (not the same thing) are expert at masking our deep inner pain and struggle. Just like my Mom. Just like her father and just like his father.  Now, the good thing about me, is I have always been real upfront and honest about my struggles - so I believe I will actually break the cycle. Am I totally 100% convinced, I will break it?  No. But I will try like hell because I see what suicide does to the survivors of a family. I would never want my loved ones to have to go through what my sister and I have gone through.  In a macabre way, my family may have actually done my sister and I a favor. We are VERY aware of this family curse passed down to us and we talk openly and bluntly about it. Our family knows our concerns.

I feel so awful for Robin Williams wife and his children. And to the many friends he may of had, who also struggled with depression. Suicide is like divorce - you see your friend do it, and wonder, if you too can take that way out of your marriage. Suicide is the same way. Things get too unbearable, there is always a way out.

I also feel for the many depressed people and those, like my sister and I who have had to confront it, head on and deal with the aftermath, that really never goes away. Every time we hear of a suicide, we both are heartbroken and have to re-live that pain.

It will be awhile, before I will be able to watch anything with Robin Williams in it. This is very hard to take.





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