This post arrives on a very sad day. Yesterday, we heard the devastating news of the passing of Robin Williams. An incredible actor and comedian who made so many millions of people happy with his incredible talents. While in the outer world he was a superstar, like so many geniuses, he died by his own will… because of his inner world.
Robin suffered from depression, bi-polar disorder and addiction to drink and drugs throughout his life. The addictions were more than likely to help him escape from the feelings of depression. We all know of the impact of excessive drinking and drug use on your state of mind. But the big problem here is the answer to the question that so many people ask: WHY?
Why does someone so wonderful want to die? Why does someone so brilliant and so smart want to end their life? Why? Why? Why? The answer is simple. Because his inner world was so horrible he couldn’t live in it anymore.
I understand what that is like. I have been at that stage at points in my life. I am sure many of you reading can understand it too. Because although negative events in the outer world can trigger bad feelings, it is in how we perceive them in our inner world that causes the real damage. It’s far more than sadness. Depression is a feeling of inescapable torture where everything seems pointless and the future seems bleak. Many people are fighting a struggle within themselves every day that we don’t know about or understand anything about. They live in a massive amount of pain, not because of their circumstances but because of their mind.
Many times in the past when I have felt really bad, I have looked around in my life at all the things I have going for me and all the people I have that care for me and it makes me feel worse… because I feel like I have no right to feel bad. But that is forgetting the reality that it’s not about what I have or don’t, who loves me or doesn’t… it’s about what I make that mean. This is where the biggest mistake is made in trying to understand suicide. It’s not about objective reality that we need to be concerning ourselves with. It is the subjective experience a person is going through that is the issue. Your inner world will dictate so much about what goes on in your life.
There are thousands of people dying each week in wars around the planet…. and survivors living in horrible conditions that are doing whatever they can to survive. And there are multi-millionaires, adored by so many people, intelligent and brilliant… that want to die. It makes no sense unless we start to take more seriously the inner world that exists for every person.
Sometimes, we are all guilty of looking at horrible tragedies that take place and washing our hands clean of them. What can we do? We ask ourselves. We walk by homeless people every day. We watch the news on more bombings across the planet. We read about children starving in countries far away. We hear about suicide. And we say what can we do?
The power of social media has been used to get presidents elected, to help overthrow governments and to try and stop genocide. It can help occasionally. I believe that it is time that it is used to fight another serious threat to human life, the terrorist of suicide. I believe that we can do something about it. I believe that we must do something about it. But what? What can we do? How can we face such an enemy when we don’t control what inner world other people have?
It’s simple. By spreading the very word of the idea of an ‘inner world’. For in that idea, lies that the chance to understand that there is a way out. By reaching out and making sure that this death isn’t just another sad story but is as inspiring as Robin’s life was. For his work will never be forgotten and it’s heartbreaking to know he is no longer with us. Even more so, to know why. I’m sure along with a well earned celebration of his life, there will be a discussion around his death and a exploration of his secret life of addiction and depression. But I hope that as well, there are the lessons we must learn from this. Death is so permanent. We must not allow this tragedy happen again. No matter how painful things get… you can get through it.
In Ireland alone, hundreds of people commit suicide every year. They fight an inner war and they lose. We must start to teach people how to make their inner world far better. They must find inner peace. They must find inner happiness. They must learn that whatever seems to be going on may well not be. Our subjective interpretation of the outer world lies to us. And we must understand our inner worlds are just that… lies. They may be lies that help us or lies that harm us. Understanding the inner world and realising this is the huge step that we need to take to survive.
Today, a great man is dead. Many more great people lie dead also. And we don’t know their names. They haven’t made us cry laughing as they dressed up as a Nanny or inspired us as the maverick doctor that transformed peoples lives or made us smile and nod during their brilliant stand up routine. But they were loved too. And they were somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s best friend or partner, father or mother. How many more before we stand up and do whatever we can to end self-slaughter?
Maybe someone out there that is reading this has been contemplating ending their life. If so, you must be reminded that how you feel is just the lies of your inner world. Your thoughts betray you. Things will change. They always have and they always do. I promise you. It’s not going to be easy. And this may well not be the last time you feel this way. But you can turn things around. You do have what it takes. And you are not alone.
I stand with you. So do the many millions of people who have struggled with the agonies of life. You are not alone. We love you not because we know you. Even though we don’t know you, we know your struggle and we love you because of your struggle.
I loved what Robin Williams gave the world. He certainly made it a far better place. My heart goes out to his poor family, friends and loved ones as well as his many millions of fans that are suffering because of his passing. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said by so many in such a touching and loving way. But I hope that knowing that it was the inner world of Robin Williams that caused him to do what he did, it can remind us to work on our own inner world… take charge of our thoughts and minds and do what we can to make other peoples inner worlds better as well.
We can do that sometimes with just a smile. Or a compliment. Or funny story. Or simply by being there for them or with them. Or sending them a nice message or thoughtful note. Or telling them you love them or showing them you care. Let’s love more people. And even if it’s only for a few days, who knows what impact we’ll have. Join me in making a special effort. That’s all I ask of you.
Why should we do this? Well take it from Robin himself in his wonderful portrayal of the amazing Patch Adams:
“What’s wrong with death sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor. Death is not the enemy gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.”
So, whether you know me or don’t, love me or hate me… I send you my love. Person to Person. Life can be shitty. And it can be amazing. So, you gotta hang on for the amazing. And as for Robin Williams. Rest in Peace oh Captain my Captain. Thank you for your genius and your love to the world and the smiles, the oh so many smiles.
And to finish a few wonderful quotes from characters Robin has played in his incredible career:
“A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven. Then we’ll all be together forever.”
ROBIN WILLIAMS AS CHRIS IN WHAT DREAMS MAY COME
“If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
ROBIN WILLIAMS AS JOHN KEATING IN DEAD POETS SOCIETY
“Yeah, I could do it. We both know you wouldn’t stop me. So answer me please. Tell me what you’re doing. Okay, let’s look at the logic. You create man. Man suffers enormous amounts of pain. Man dies. Maybe you should have had just a few more brainstorming sessions prior to creation. You rested on the seventh day. Maybe you should’ve spent that day on compassion.”
ROBIN WILLIAMS AS PATCH ADAMS
Hunter Patch Adams: Death. To die. To expire. To pass on. To perish. To peg out. To push up daisies. To push up posies. To become extinct. Curtains, deceased, Demised, departed And defunct. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a herring. Dead as a mutton. Dead as nits. The last breath. Paying a debt to nature. The big sleep. God’s way of saying, “Slow down.”
Bill Davis: To check out.
Hunter Patch Adams: To shuffle off this mortal coil.
Bill Davis: To head for the happy hunting ground.
Hunter Patch Adams: To blink for an exceptionally long period of time.
Bill Davis: To find oneself without breath.
Hunter Patch Adams: To be the incredible decaying man.
Bill Davis: Worm buffet.
Hunter Patch Adams: Kick the bucket.
Bill Davis: Buy the farm.
Hunter Patch Adams: Take the cab.
Bill Davis: Cash in your chips.