Last week I posted about the terrible wars, murders, and persecutions happening all over the world. I asked for Christians to pray not only for the oppressed, but for the oppressors.
Today, I want to go intimate. My heart ached when I heard the sad news about Robin Williams. Please pray for his family as they grieve his loss.
I’ve followed Robin William’s career from the 1970s when he was Mork from Ork. When Mork and Mindy first aired, I though it was the stupidest idea for a program ever. But once I tuned in and watched Robin Williams, I realized that no lame theme, no cheap set, or vapid script could hold this young genius down. The first time he said” I am Mork from Ork. Nanoo, nanoo,” I thought, no one else could say those words and sound authentically alien and indescribably funny the way Robin Williams could.
William’s quicksilver wit catapulted him to stardom soon after. But he was also a deep, tender, and amazing dramatic actor.
I knew he’d had some trouble with drug addictions, but I didn’t know about the depression he also battled.
Some people who spoke about him on the news said they couldn’t understand how someone with so much talent and who had so much else going for him would commit suicide.
I can answer that. I’m no genius or extraordinary talent, like Robin. But I’ve been through a terrible depression, and I can say without any reservations that it was the most painful experience I’d ever undergone. Death seemed preferable.
When you’re depressed, even though everything may actually be going well, you can’t see it. That’s part of the illness. Think of the person who’s struggling with anorexia. They look in the mirror and see a fat person. We understand that they have a distorted self-perception.
Depression is just like that. To the well person, it seems obvious that things are not that bad. But to the person suffering with depression, the world is perceived in hues of black and charcoal.
That’s why I cried when I heard about Robin Williams. He couldn’t get out of his blackness. Maybe his drug use was a flimsy way of coping with the chronic depression.
The sad thing is that depression can be treated. I’m proof of that. I wanted to die, but my loved ones helped me seek professional treatment. It took a long time —well over two years—but I recovered.
There’s hope. If you’re depressed, please don’t think you’re weak by taking medication or talking to a therapist. Wouldn’t you go to a doctor if you were physically ill? Mental illness is physical, too.
It doesn’t have to end like it did for Robin Williams.