But I also write this blog for myself - because it chronicles my life. It's something that I, and my kids, can someday look back on.
So let me memorialize that yesterday, Robin Williams died. And I am seriously sad about it.
I can't figure out why.
It's not that I'm a huge Robin Williams fan. I like his movies, but I haven't seen them all. But generally, I would say that I definitely like him. I mean, what's not to like? He seems like a genuine, nice guy. And he's funny. Definitely funny. If I ever caught him on a late night show, I would watch. Because he was wild and unpredictable and entertaining.
His suicide was a shock to everyone, including me. But why - because he was funny and rich and entertaining and a nice guy? Because he had children and a mansion? It's not like depression only hits melancholy, unsuccessful, childless, people. But I guess we like to think it does. Because that's what separates them from us, right? We have our shit together. They don't. So we would never do anything like that.
That line of thinking doesn't work when considering Robin Williams.
The first time I knew someone that committed suicide was in high school. A classmate shot himself in his friend's driveway. The whole community was devastated. I wasn't particularly close to the the victim, but it was hard to take in at age 15. I just didn't get it. I didn't understand how things could have been that bad, or how he could have done such a horrible thing to his family. He must have just been crazy, I thought, and extremely selfish. I didn't think about or understand depression or mental illness back then
As I have gotten older, I look at things differently. And though I am lucky enough not to have anyone close to me suffer from severe depression or suicide, I have known of acquaintances and friends of friends who have taken their own life, including a law school classmate of mine.
And I don't think they are crazy, or selfish. I think they are sick.
I have never been suicidal. But when I was in the throws of post partum depression with my second child, I certainly felt crazy. I had no control over my own thoughts and I couldn't eliminate feelings of utter despair. Why? Why was I feeling that way? I would try to rationalize with myself that I was still the same person, that I had everything I had ever wanted in life, that there was nothing for me to be afraid of. Rationally, I knew I shouldn't feel the way I was feeling. But I couldn't make it go away. I couldn't enjoy one minute of life. And the guilt, my God, the guilt I felt for that, was overwhelming. I was a horrible mother and a horrible wife and a burden and a general failure to everyone around me.
I never had the thought, I want to kill myself, but I certainly had the thought: I can't live like this.
I am SO lucky in that my mental illness was extremely short lived, and was for the most part, hormone dependent. After just a few short weeks of being on an anti-depressant, the fog started lifting. And though I have had a couple of bumps in the road, I have never again felt the despair that I felt for those few weeks right after my second son was born.
What I experienced was a treatable, small snippet of mental illness. For those with longer-term, full blown depression, I can only imagine that what they are feeling is worlds deeper than what I experienced. And in that way, I can relate to how I can't live like this would eventually turn into I don't want to live anymore.
Can you imagine what Robin Williams was going through in those final moments? The agony, the solitude, the anxiety, the despair? Is that what my high school classmate was going through? Or my law school classmate? Or all of the people that fall victim to suicide?
It's too sad to really, really go there. I don't know that I can.
But I'm sad today.
RIP, Robin Williams.