In His Shoes

In the midst of mourning for Mike Brown, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Robin Williams. So many thoughts have been running through my head, but this Robin Williams quote kept coming back to me: “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” So Captain! My Captain! I write…

I know those voices really well. I used to hear them much more often than I do now. These days, it’s just once in a while. Most of the time, I can switch them off and I replace them with the healthy tape that I’ve been working on for years. The shock and pain in my heart, though, never decreases when I hear about a suicide or an attempted suicide. I can almost feel that pain in my own heart and in the pit of my stomach.

But after that, I feel anger. Anger that no one was there to help. Anger that there may have been someone there to help, but couldn’t. Anger that he thought himself so worthless. Anger that the world would be better off without him. Anger that he believed the lies that depression was telling him. I’m not sure why I feel anger. Maybe it’s the anger that I have for myself because I have been in his shoes. 

I’ve been to that point of desperation – utter despair and darkness – that is seemingly unending. I distinctly remember each of the times that I had tried to take my own life. I remember the voice inside that was telling me that I was worthless, better off dead, and that I really didn’t matter. I also remember feeling that death would somehow bring me relief from the darkness, the pain, and the deep sadness.

I don’t know exactly what Robin Williams was feeling this morning or this past few months or even these past few years, but what I do know is that I have been in his shoes. I have been mired in the darkness and have outwardly shown a smile and a laugh – trying hard to keep it all together.

Depression is a terrible illness – one that never really leaves you and always tricks you with its lies.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please know that you are not alone. Please call 911 or you can call here to get help: 1-800-273-8255 or go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website to chat with someone if you are in crisis.

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

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