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Yes Robin Williams’ Suicide WAS Selfish. That’s How Depression Works

August 13, 2014

We need to stop lying to ourselves about suicide. It is entirely selfish. It’s also giving in whether you like to think if it that way or not.

Selfishness in not a bad thing. We’ve been taught that it is, but let’s be honest, when all the wires are straight and the messages are getting through properly, selfishness is a thing that, at worst, make you kind of a jerk and at best keep you alive. We evolved the urge to take the extra food or the spot closer to the fire as a survival instinct. Yes, sometimes that instinct is now used to take the last cookie or cut off another driver but it is not, in and of itself, a negative emotion.

Look, I struggle with depression. I know the way it feels. As I’ve previously mentioned, I feel it as this crushing weight with teeth and claws and a map to the tender parts of my soul. My level of depression is not impacted by how much money I have, how many friends I can contact, or how cute my outfit is. It can have an impact on those things but it is not impacted by them. Because depression makes me want to not go anywhere, including work, nor talk to people, nor dress in anything but pajamas.

And I’ve had suicidal thoughts; not that I actually want to die so much as how awesome it would be if things suddenly just stopped. Which, I guess, is the lazy person’s version of suicidal thoughts.

And when those happen, the lies depression tells you really kick in. The lies tell you that death is the best answer. Things will stop hurting and since you don’t matter, the world will be so much better off without you.

You spend a not small portion of your time doing any and everything you can to drown out the relentless drum beat of stupid, ugly, worthless all day every day.

And that is hard.

It’s not a thing that I can control But it is a thing that I can fight. And the fight is what matters.

Because the when depression talks, it lies. Anyone who suffers from depression knows that. That’s why we don’t listen.

Except Robin Williams listened. He slipped, one time. He stopped fighting. He knew that depression was lying to him, as evidenced by the fact that he was seeking treatment, but he listened anyway. He gave in to that selfish urge to listen to the lies and end the pain.

It was a mistake, a selfish mistake. We all make those. The lies of depression don’t make the decisions less selfish. They make the sufferer look at the consequences through a fun house mirror where pain is joy and loss is benefit.  The thing about suicide is, you can’t fix it after the fact. You can’t decide to share the cookie or let the next guy merge before you because you’re gone. You’re gone and the people left behind are suffering.

Hey you know what, I’m not only someone who fights depression, I’m the adult child of a parent who listened to the lies.

I promise you one thing, no matter how much counseling they get, no matter how much they are assured that their father loved them, Robin Williams’ kids will be left with one crushing truth for the rest of their lives.

Their father did not love them enough to stay.

Maybe that’s selfish too, which is how grief works. Neither depression nor grief is logical.

Our job, as survivors is to push through the lies and keep fighting.

Call someone, even if it’s just to hear another human voice who cares.


If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do well on the phone  reach out to IMALIVE. They do online chat and counseling.

Don’t let anything, even the hateful voice in your head, extinguish your light.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2014 9:57 AM

    I think for some of us with long term depression that it is a terminal illness because eventually we just can’t live any more with the daily pain that it causes.

    • August 13, 2014 7:07 PM

      Yeah, I can see that and in a way, though the pain NEVER goes away, it’s almost as if my father’s death was some sort of immunization against actually taking my own life. Because on the darkest, longest nights, when I was absolutely convinced that my death would not matter one iota, I would replay every moment of finding out that he was dead, all that pain and anguish, and then I put my sister in my place. I force myself to watch her go through all of that in my head and then I call somebody for help or do something to fight back from the edge.

  2. August 17, 2014 5:25 PM

    Exactly my sentiments!

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