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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Funny People Can Hurt the Most: Robin Williams Possible Suicide Will Shed Light on Firefighter Suicide and Depression

Yesterday the shocking news of Robin Williams' possible suicide has struck a cord with people suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD, like firefighters. It was a shock to some that the comic genius Williams was a sadly tortured soul.  Often the funniest people are the ones with the deepest wounds. Much like many sad endings they can change the way the world sees things, like he already has so many times. Once again he can shine light an another stigma, the one that surrounds reaching out for help.

I hate even saying reaching out for help. It hurts too much to even think about reaching sometimes. Your body doesn't want to move out of the spot you are in. It literally hurts to think of moving your arm to another person, it is more like sharing your human-ness. You're unique scars and wounds so we can heal them up together. The way we were designed to. I feel we weren't designed to heal on our own.

Felt Like He Was Family 

Like any child of the 80's I grew up hearing him call, "Gooooooood mooorning Vietnam!" and jamming to music in that movie. I knew every single word to Aladdin. I cried at Mrs. Doubtfire. He saved my from Captain Hook as Peter Panning. He was like my Dad too. Like him, I turned many of my enemies into friends with laughter. Including myself. I wish he could have kept doing the same.

Pictures showing favorite roles flooded social media. I was able to keep it together. I distracted  myself from the thoughts I knew would try and stab my heart with worry. I am married to a firefighter. I feel we have both suffer from depression. I have/had postpartum. My husband is a firefighter, an officer, and was on the fire investigation team. He has seen a lot. Though he says he is fine. Suicide is #2, next to heart related deaths at #1 for firefighters.  Both are totally preventable.

What happened???

What makes a person click from being fine, to shocking the world with one day not being there. Leaving everyone asking, "What happened? He seemed so happy." Did you have these thoughts too?

 As the day went on, I wanted to make sure that doesn't happen. What are the signs? I know how our lives seem from the outside. I also know how hard we fight in this world to stay sane, if you know what I mean. No one knows what we are going through. Because we hold it together really well. Because, of course, like any couple, we fall apart really well together when we need to. We have been one of the lucky ones, we just keep holding on, while the right weapons to stand strong on have found us. Each time making us stronger once we come out of the issue at hand. It is what happens while you are going through those unavoidable issues of life that brings that concerns me. Does it you? Here is a hot line that is free and confidential from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.

You see Robin Williams touched millions of lives since he was real in his comedy. We could look in his eyes and see sadness, joy, struggle, love.  Most thought he was just a really good actor. The character trait that I admired most of all was his self acceptance. I guess he really was a good actor.

I tried to stop thinking about it because we are also actors, my hubby and I. Creators. Artists to our core. Why are artists so tortured? Our dream is to be someone like Robin Williams. This amazing artist who was able to help the world, to radically change it for the better, by having the courage the audacity to be who God created him to be. Like Tim Allen. Even Tim Burton.
Perfectly imperfect, and using it to help others.

I hope to help you keep doing that Robin, if this was indeed your last act.

My husband put it perfectly when he cried out, "Who has hope if he couldn't figure it out?"
I guess that is the big lie of life, that people actually figure it out. That everyone else is doing well, while you struggle. The big reality is that we all struggle, hurt, and cry. There should be zero stigma around our faults, and especially our want to grow, change, and get better.

My hubby actually didn't believe me when I told him. He went right to where all accurate information comes from, Google. I prayed he would find that it was one of those celebrity rumors you hear about, like when I was 12, Zach from Saved By the Bell died and I found out it was fake. I prayed it was the same. Instead he found this from our President.

President Barack Obama

"Robin Williams was an airman a doctor, a genie, a nanny, president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien- but ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave us immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most."

Tears shot out of my eyes sideways at the Peter Pan part. That is my favorite roll. Next to When Dreams May Come.

My friends at Firefighter Behavioral Health, who fight to prevent suicide agree.

Yesterday they said,

"There was a guest on CNN who said of Robin Williams, that he could ring laughter to millions but never could he find laughter or peace in his own life. This seems very similar to FF's and EMT's. We provide help to people we don't even know during a crisis in their lives, yet when we are suffering we find it difficult to ask for help. Overcome what our culture dictates and reach out brothers and sisters. If you are struggling with issues in your life extend your hand for help."

"With the death of RW by suicide, it solidifies FBHA's mission to provide awareness and prevention.Our focus is on firefighters and EMS but it doesn't stop there. If you know of someone suffering, there is help.This is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-27-8255. #RobinWilliams."

YOU are loved. You are worthy. You deserve to be happy. 

Happy Thought

Right now I want each of you to think of a happy thought. Shut your face and just do it. Think of one thing that will keep you going no matter what. A moment. A promise. A gift. A dream. A kiss. A child. A spouse. A sibling. A parent. A friend. Your why. Can't think of anyone? Perhaps this is your chance to share your human-ness. Your unique story. Your crazy little life might just be what someone else will connect with, giving them the courage to keep going. 

When you are feeling low, surround yourself with that happy thought.  Just like Williams taught us to. I pray that we can all find that Happy Thought.


What is your happy thought? Please write them in the comments below. As always the best discussions happen after the posts, in the comments, or on my Holy Fire Cake Girl Facebook page. Be sure to share this now on FB, Twitter, Instagram, and all your other little pages. You never know who's picture perfect life is cracking away under the surface and needs help.

Once again here is the free and totally confidential number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255.

Robin, may your light spread and dissolve any stigma around reaching out to prevent suicide in the strongest around us, like firefighters, military, and our loved ones who carry the weight of life.