Oh boy . . .
I’m just kind of, well, I don’t know how to start this.
Robin Williams committed suicide. It’s incredibly sad. My heart has felt heavy for his now-obvious pain and struggle and his family’s as well.
And, like most people, I probably have some thoughts about the situation. Kyle and I have talked about them over the past day. We’ve revisited it several times in many different ways as we’ve made sense of it and speculated about the potentiality of the situation.
I continue to be surprised by the outpouring of opinion and passion on Facebook about the tragedy. I suppose I shouldn’t be. I mean, nothing is private anymore, right? We never just have our feelings without posting every . . . . little . . . . . nuance . . . . of what we’re thinking and feeling.
(Oh wait. Unless we are the type of person that posts just enough to elicit questions from others . . . don’t get me started . . . )
And I guess I’m just kind of over all of it.
Was he mentally ill? Was he in existential hell? Was his chi out of balance? Did he need a shaman? Was his depression a “disease?” Did he need . . . what?
I don’t know. And the reason I don’t know is because . . . I just don’t know.
I wasn’t Robin Williams.
And I’m not you.
I have theories about people and what makes them healthy and whole or broken and constantly needing to fill the internal void. It usually doesn’t involve the word “disease” or “illness” or even “addiction” and generally doesn’t involve believing in pharmaceuticals or 12 steps, but that’s just me and my understanding of the world. Doesn’t mean it’s right.
It’s just my understanding of the world.
My internal impression of the world.
I’ve earned it. I’ve done the work.
Lots of different types of therapies over the past 22 years. Lots of introspection. Acupuncture. Psychotherapy. Bibliotherapy. Bioenergetic therapy. A Masters degree and some doctoral work. Extra trainings in lots of different things. Mindfulness training.
And my own stints of feeling depressed and worthless and full of self-hatred sprinkled with a healthy dose of binge eating and yo-yo dieting throughout my life.
And those experiences matter to me and the people around me in my life.
But that doesn’t make me more qualified to comment on what drove Robin Williams to suicide.
Nor does it make me want to step up on my soapbox and talk about “mental illness” and the outrage that “this stigma must stop!”
Nor does it make me want to air all of my dirty laundry in passive ways on social media, outcrying my own struggles in comparison to his or using my own experience to “prove” that he was this, that, or the other thing (e.g., was “ill,” needed medication, etc.).
It’s just so tiring, people.
I, too, sought out the press conference today to hear all the gory details about what they had found. I watched with baited breath. I was a voyeur.
And then I felt sad and sickened as I pictured him in the physical position in which they found him (which they graphically described) and wondered how in the world someone makes those final few moments of decisions that end it all.
I’ll admit it. I have a morbid fascination with the last few moments of anyone’s life, wondering what in the hell happens there. I could think about it for days.
It’s my internal process. You know, in here.
No, no, not over there. Not on Facebook or Twitter or whatever the hell else is out there that I’ve never heard of.
Here. Inside me.
It’s a healthy place for those things to be. In here.
And it’s helpful and incredibly healthy for me to share them with my husband or my mother or a friend to make sense of them.
I just don’t get this need to kind of half-put stuff out there on social media. And by “half -put” I mean putting something important out there in a way that can’t possibly be discussed or responded to in a conversational and complete way.
There is no real relational reciprocity on social media. There are just issues. And comments. And disagreements. And “Likes.” And back and forth. Lots of back and forth. Sometimes jovial and light-hearted. And frequently nasty.
But there is no sensory process of taking in what another human being says, letting it swirl around your body and mind and spirit, and responding in a whole way.
There is just this wall of “stuff” that gets put out there.
Are we looking for a response? A connection? A soapbox? A narcissistic outlet to show people that we are indeed full of knowledge and opinion and that they need to be aware of that? That we are entitled to take up some kind of space in the world? But in kind of a passive way?
There are probably so many answers to those questions. And I’m too tired to have an opinion about them tonight.
I just wish there was as much emphasis on going inward as there is on posting outward. I’d like to see some thoughtfulness and introspection beyond knee-jerk reactions and reposts of things that represent peoples’ opinions on issues.
Because at the end of the day, I look at Robin Williams and what happened to him, and I feel incredibly sad. And I feel incredibly sad for the other thousands of people who do the same thing every year.
And I feel sad and worried about climate change and GMOs and what we’re doing to our earth and the fact breastfeeding is so taboo in our culture and animal abuse and detached parents teaching their kids to be even more detached and on and on and on.
And, not to get all weird and quote Michael Jackson, because that would be ridiculous. But, what the hell.
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”
I can only start there. Spouting out my outrage or sadness in a way that doesn’t invite real conversation, connection, or even debate besides random comments on a computer screen is just exacerbating our problem of narcissistic detachment.
I don’t choose to be a part of that. There’s nothing to be a part of. It’s not real.
It’s not real, people.
It’s tempting to half-engage in, but it’s not real.
When did we stop knowing the difference?