Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

The Only Weapon I Have

robinR. is the nephew of one of my dearest friends (and by strange coincidence, close childhood buddy of Bryan) – by all accounts a creative genius, caring friend, loving person.

Today at age 28, his life ended. At his own hand.

I don’t know many particulars about R. I didn’t know him personally. I do know that he suffered from a physiological disease called depression that those afflicted will do anything – ANYTHING – to escape.

This morning, before I heard the news, I watched Robin William’s appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio. He was brilliant, as always. Funny. Occasionally quiet and thoughtful. I’ve had a schoolgirl crush on him since the Mork & Mindy days, and as I watched, I wept to think of him forever removed from my world. Perhaps, I thought, it was time for me to talk openly about my experience as a suicide survivor (the phrase commonly used to describe those who have lost a loved one to self-death.) Maybe I might dissuade someone who was contemplating permanent relief from their relentless agony.

I’m not wondering anymore. Hearing the news about R, I know it’s time to speak and write openly, because depression is a killer that leaves desolation in its wake. I choose to engage this foe with the only weapon I have – my story. Perhaps the telling will dissuade others from seeing suicide as an analgesic. Perhaps it will stir research into depression and other illnesses. If nothing else, I hope it will cause people – perhaps you, dear reader – to donate to such research.

I have writing to do. And praying. Please pray for R’s family. Thank you.

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A World With Less

robinRobin Williams died today, apparently at his own hand. I am reminded of the worst day of my life, the day my husband did the same. I am more than reminded. I find myself thrown into deep grief, because both were men who brightened and lightened the lives of others, yet were unable to do so for themselves.

It’s been almost twelve years, but I still recall the moments and the reaction.

The reaction was universal shock. Lee was well-known and well-loved in our hometown. He made his friends – and everyone was his friend – feel valuable, safe, protected. He brought levity and love to any situation. The shock waves over his death expanded outward and outward and outward. Even years later, people express disbelief and sorrow.

I try not to dwell on the specific moments, but they are there, always hovering just below the surface, ready to rise. I neither encourage nor prevent, but let them be what they are. Often they emerge as one large surge, which crashes and quickly dissipates upon the shore. Other times, they roll and roll, and I concentrate on being a boat – bobbing but not tipping. Today, though, I am swamped by continuous waves that swell and storm around me. Today, Xanax is my friend.

Did his wife suspect that Robin was capable of such an action, or was she, like me, shocked to find him so desperate? Did she also try to dissuade him from that last, terrible deed?

Am I sobbing over her tragedy, or over mine? Or is there really any difference? A beloved man has lost his way, and the result is a world with less joy, less love, less Robin, less Lee – a world with less.

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