A few years ago, when Robin Williams passed away, the initial shock of the situation hit me pretty hard. I was, for lack of a better word, devastated to the point of tears. This, in and of itself, surprised me because I was sincerely and deeply grieving for a man I had never met.
It took a few days before I could distance myself from it and really sit down to think about why it had affected me so much. At that time, I even started writing a blog to express these feelings, but I ultimately decided to not publish it.
Basically, he was one of my heroes. He was someone I looked up to and saw as a beacon of goodness, joy, and laughter in this world. Every story I had heard about him only spoke about how kind and generous a person he was. How he took time to really connect with his fans, just to find out what he could do to make their day a bit brighter, to make them laugh, to make them smile.
It was learning that one of my heroes, someone I had placed on a pedestal, suffered from his own demons and ultimately succumbed to them, that had shaken me.
It hurt, I mourned, but something else happened too…
Ultimately, through his memory, Robin Williams opened my worldview a bit more to the hidden trials and challenges people with depression face every day. Most days, they put on a false mask of courage, smile through it, and don’t want to burden people with their problems… but the fact is, that those masks can only last so long. It made me reexamine and think about my own battles with anxiety, doubt, and depression, and to ask for help if I need it.
This happened again recently with Anthony Bourdain. It hurt, I mourned… but I also remembered that old blog I started about Robin Williams.
These tragedies make you remember that your heroes are human after all. They have their flaws. They are not perfect. Regardless, their presence in your life has an impact. It has meaning, whether you knew them personally as a friend or if you were just a fan. Hopefully, they inspire you to make your own little mark in this life and leave this world a better place than when you found it, just as they did. Most importantly, if you are hurting or suffering from depression, hopefully, their memory will encourage you to seek the help you need.
Till next time,