Suicide: Cowardly or Courageous?
With the heartbreaking news of Robin Williams’ death on Monday 11th August, everyone has climbed onto their social-soapboxes to offer an opinion on the nature of his passing. Suicide is often described as a ‘cowards way out’ and that has never sat right with me. To even contemplate taking your own life is a dark and dangerous thought that rarely enters the heads of most people, and if it does is quickly pushed away with horror. To make a decision that, that is your only solution to whatever problems and issues you may be facing in life, to plan it out, to carry it out, knowing the devastating impact it will have on your friends and loved ones and still believing it is your only option, must come from a place that I feel so lucky never to have visited.
So when confronted with the opinions of Facebook friends that Robin Williams was a ‘coward’ or ‘selfish’ because he had three children and a wife, I just think even more so how desperate he must have been. And where is the compassion, the support and the pity for someone who was battling with all-consuming depression? For people out there contemplating suicide as their only escape from whatever demons they are facing? Robin Williams’ family have attributed nothing but kind and supportive words about their father/husband, why are we (the public) so quick to label him contemptuously? Would we be so quick if it was our own loved one who was suffering?
Yes, he was a parent and with that comes responsibility. But with responsibility comes guilt, every parent knows that. And if you couldn’t provide for your children, whether it is emotionally or financially, for a sufferer of depression that guilt can quickly manifest into extreme behaviour.
Robin Williams’ suicide was a result of depression. Depression is an illness, and being ill in any form requires support, love and most of all courage.
Rest In Peace.