This morning we woke up with heavy hearts thinking about Robin Williams, how we grew up watching his movies, racking our minds once again on how his suicide could’ve been prevented. What was going through his mind in his last moments? Who could’ve been there to stop him? Every time we’re faced with the sad reality of suicide, the same thought creeps up once again about depression: How come society is so in denial about addressing this common issue? The stigma surrounding depression is so taboo for many that they never seek treatment -waging a private war in their own minds. They don’t want to seem “crazy” or “weak” to others so they bottle it up until they can’t take the pain anymore.
There are a few things we want to point out about depression. It often happens to the strongest, smartest people you know. You can have everything you ever wanted and still be depressed. Depression does not discriminate. The most brilliant, successful, kind, beautiful, wealthy and accomplished among us often struggle with depression the most. In fact, some of the greatest geniuses to exist including Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein suffered from depression throughout their lives. Depressed people are not lesser, weaker people. They are, in fact, some of the smartest, greatest contributors to mankind. A report was released by psychologist James Webb that concluded that intelligent people and those with high IQ’s struggle with existential depression more. They perceive the world differently and more realistically than the average person which leads to more depression related to existence and the purpose of life. NY Times also weighed on the correlation of depression and intelligence with their article, “Depression’s Upside.”
But for every “upside” there is a downside and that downside has reared its ugly head once again with the loss of Robin Williams. We hope that Mr. Williams can lie in peace knowing that his passing has opened up a forum (once again) about depression and the stigma surrounding it. So we just want to say this: there is no shame in reaching out for treatment. Anyone can become depressed and if you’re an intelligent, high functioning person you’re even more prone to it. Don’t be afraid to reach out -you’re not alone and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
As Jim Carrey once said: “For the most sensitive among us, the noise can be too much.”
Rest in peace, Robin. You will never be forgotten.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, there are several confidential hotlines you can call to talk with someone immediately. We know treatment can seem like a long, tedious road, but all it takes it one call to start your journey to feeling better: