And now there were more details about a leather belt and how Williams had battled drug, alcohol and depression for a long time.
With everyone, but especially celebrities, you can never know the inside of someone else’s life.
According to IMDB Williams had about 100 film and TV series to his name. Everyone must have seen a film with Robin Williams in it. My three favourite Robin Williams films: The Birdcage, Mrs Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society.
He was a great actor and comedian and I feel like losing a part of my childhood.
I am very sad for his friends and family, as they must be shocked that he’d take his own life. I have lost a colleague and a friend’s husband to suicide in 2009 and 2012 respectively. The affect it has to those around the individual who takes their life is something like I’ve never seen before with other deaths.
I read that women attempt suicide more often, usually as a cry for help, but men succeed more often.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK. That’s from Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
I too have gone through some very dark periods of depression and it is something that’s always there, like Jiminy Cricket sitting on my shoulder. I have a variety of tools and techniques to keep little Jiminy at bay, ranging from medication I take when it gets really bad, counselling, to light therapy in winter, and also, the best therapy I think, is my writing.
RJ Scott wrote about depression on her blog, and she said she doesn’t write depressed or suicidal characters for fear of losing herself in them if she did. Which I think is a very sensible approach.
That had never occurred to me as a way of coping with depression. Because humans are endlessly complex, and different, I do write characters dealing with depression, and suicide. Writing what Dominic goes through in And Then That Happened, was my way of coping with my own very dark period at the time. The supermarket trolley scene in the book happened to me. On more than one occasion.
I wrote about how Richard deals with depression in another WIP, The Guardian Angel, again based on how I’d felt.
For me, writing about depression does three things:
- It gets the feelings *out* of me, like when you write a diary (something else I do every day, as another way of coping I think)
- It helps me express how I feel, even if I don’t feel anything
- It helps me share with other people what it’s like to suffer from depression.
I think the third point is so important. Anyone who says, “Why did Robin Williams kill himself, he had money, celebrity, a family everything” really doesn’t understand depression at all. Cos it’s not about what’s going on outside, it’s what’s going on inside here *taps side of head*.
I first read about a depressed character in fiction in Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, by Marian Keyes. It's chick lit, but rest assured, it's very good chick lit. Keyes sufferers from depression and the way she writes about Lucy’s depression is so real, it can only have come from her experience.
So if you suffer from depression, go to your doctor and get help. Don’t keep it all inside, tell a friend, colleague partner. When someone asks how you are, say “not too great actually” it’s amazing how that opens up a whole different conversation from the normal “fine”.
If you have a friend who’s withdrawn from socialising, or you haven’t heard from in a while, pick up the phone – call them. Just call them for a chat. Ask how they are. Go round and sit with them over a cup of tea and biscuits. Listen to them telling you how they are, really listen, without a smart phone in one hand and the TV on in the background. Proper, eye contact, no interruptions, listen to them.
You might just save someone’s life.
Liam Livings xx