uberreiniger: (Wayfarer)
[personal profile] uberreiniger
Robin Williams died yesterday. He committed suicide at the age of 63 following a lifelong battle with depression. The world is stunned. Many don't understand how a man so beloved and with such a revered body of work could make such a choice.

It made me think of the Doctor Who episode "Vincent And The Doctor"
In this episode the Doctor and his companion Amy Pond team up with Vincent Van Gogh to stop an invisible monster. Over the course of the episode they see just how cruel Van Gogh's struggle with depression is, so they take him into the present day where a retrospective of his work is being shown at a museum. Van Gogh is overjoyed to discover that he is among the most revered painters who has ever lived and returns to his own time with renewed confidence. Amy thinks this will avert his suicide and that she will return to a future filled with previously unknown Van Gogh paintings from his newly-extended life. She is shocked, however, to discover that Vincent Van Gogh still took his own life exactly the same as he did before they met him. The Doctor is not surprised at all, knowing not only how time works, but it is implied that he understood Van Gogh's condition all too well and that no amount of edification was going to fix him.

I think the parallels between Robin William's death and the last few minutes of that episode are striking, and I think the sum up just how cruel, how vicious depression really is. Because it takes every beautiful truth about yourself and turns it into a lie. It does not merely rob you of joy and happy feelings, it robs you of your reality. You could move mountains, change thousands - perhaps millions of lives - just as a Van Gogh or a Robin Williams did, yet you still think you're nothing. That it's not worth it. That YOU'RE not worth it. That sooner or later everyone will stop pretending to like you and that they'd be better off if you just disappeared and spared them the trouble.

Depression hurts. It is nothing but lies; lies that seem implacably true because they come from that place inside you that you have no choice but to believe because it is YOU: the core of your conscience and your ideas. And if you can't trust that, then what can you trust?

If you love someone who deals with this, as I do and as I have, you know you can't stop edifying them. You HAVE to be like the Doctor: you have to keep taking them to a future that they themselves can't see even if you know it will only make things better for a little while, not forever. You do it because it's the only defiance and the best defiance those lies from within are ever going to get.

I wanted to say more, but it's just too personal and just too hard. I hope RW is at peace now. I hope his family and loved ones someday will be. I hope yours will be too, and under better circumstances.
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