Not a Laughing Matter-The Death of Robin Williams

robin williamsI, like many of you heard in disbelief the horrible news of the death of Robin Williams. He was truly a national treasure for many decades.  I remember laughing at the sitcom “Mork and Mindy” and years later giggling with my children as we watched “Hook” and “Mrs. Doubtfire.” Robin Williams’ death is no laughing matter.

Depression is a serious illness in this country.

I have been shocked when dear friends of mine have confided in me their dark secret of suffering from Depression. To hear them describe their symptoms is just unbelievably horrid. The dark cloud that can consume at any second and the feeling of no hope is nothing short of a never-ending nightmare.
Depression coupled with self-medication deepens and complicates the journey. I have been in the midst of watching this battle with a dear person in my life and to say the least, it is heart-breaking.
In a 20/20 Interview last evening, the late actor made several comments about his drug and alcohol abuse that should be a lesson to all of us.  If you see someone you love battling this illness, the worse thing to do is nothing.   In Robin Williams’ own words there are two things to say to someone in this condition;  you have an addiction (his words “you are a drunk”) and I love you. These words prompted Williams to get help with this problem after years of trying to do it on his own. Sadly, this past Monday that dark cloud of Depression won the battle.
I have heard this comment made by a recovering alcoholic friend of mine, “Sometimes an alcoholic/drug addict has to die so we can live.”

Robin Williams’ amazing life gave us unforgettable moments but his death may be his most important performance; it reminds us of the seriousness of Depression and the devastating effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

Mostly we all need to confront those we love and pray that our words and actions will help someone else avoid another tragedy.
In my book, “Bury Me with My Pearls”  I included a story from the movie, “Bruce Almighty” in my chapter called, “Dark Pearls.”  Through life we will all have dark moments.

My prayer is that we will use those times for a greater good.

On the DVD outtakes of the movie, Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey is given the power of God who is played by the legendary actor, Morgan Freeman. The scene opens with a young boy being punched in the face by an older larger boy. The younger, smaller child asks God to make him bigger. The next scene shows that his prayer has been answered: the young child has become very large and inflicts the same pain on other small boys.
Freeman’s character scolds Bruce for answering the young boy’s prayer. “I was planning on using this young man’s childhood hurts and gifting him as a writer,” says Freeman’s character. His next line is powerful:

“Many times God uses dark colors to paint beautiful pictures.”

Will you allow God to turn your dark colors into beautiful pictures? Will you celebrate the value of the dark pearl? Will you make your pain some else’s gain?

Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

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