Just over a year ago, I read the headline and was shocked. He was gone. Robin Williams, the man I had grown up laughing with. The man who brought joy to so many people. The man with gifts most of us could only dream of possessing. The man who spent years beating back the depression waging a war inside him. I was reminded of the loss again today, Suicide Prevention Day.
I cried a lot the day I learned about it, especially when I saw the outpouring of love.
It sounded like:
You are loved.
You’re not alone.
We see you.
These are the kind of words we need to hear in order to win the fight against the persistent lies of depression.
And he will never hear them.
I don’t know what his lies sounded like, but I know the sound of mine all too well.
You feel too much.
You are too much.
You're a mess.
For a long time, I believed them. Because they felt so true.
When one of the lies you hear most often is that you’re too much, it’s hard to ask for and accept help without feeling guilty.
But I was desperate. So I took one small step... and then another.
God sent a great counselor and some fierce friends into my life. Fierce and faithful.
The kind of faithful that doesn’t turn away when you cry the ugly cry, and say the ugly truth.
The kind of fierce that fights for you when you can’t fight for yourself.
Last weekend I was reminded what this looks like all over again while I was watching one of my favorite movies: Hook. (The star of said movie also just happens to be Robin Williams.) There’s a particular scene that makes me cry every time I see it. Robin Williams' character (Peter Pan) has literally forgotten who he is. He now believes he’s a middle aged lawyer who’s afraid of heights. He’s been dropped in the middle of Neverland, and now he’s supposed to figure out how to fight an epic battle to rescue his kids from the clutches of the evil pirate, Captain Hook. The problem is almost nobody believes this guy who can barely run, much less fly, is the real Peter Pan. When everyone else dismisses him, one stays behind to take a closer look.
When you’re depressed, you forget who you are. You forget what’s real.
Hope looks like someone coming close enough to look hard at your tired eyes and say, “There you are. I see you. I’m not going anywhere.”
Sometimes it takes a while for your belief to catch up with theirs.
Sometimes it takes a while for the truth to start to feel true.
But that’s ok.
We’re in this together.
That’s the way God designed it.
We can’t always be strong.
We all need extra support sometimes, and asking for help isn’t weakness.
It’s insane courage.
If you’re struggling to find hope today, please... pick up your phone. Send a text. Write an e-mail. Make a phone call.
Tell someone, “I’m not doing well. I need help.”
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some resources to help you take the first step.
There are people waiting to listen and help around the clock, at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
And this? Yes... this. Please watch it. Because here? There are some beautiful words to help fight the lies.