With the recent passing of Robin Williams, many who loved and admired the comic and actor were left wondering, why? Why would a man who seemed to have a great life- family, fame, and fortune be driven to suicide? In the weeks after his passing, we learned that he battled depression for several years.
There are many myths surrounding suicide that have been proven wrong time and again but still seem to be prevalent, one of them being that if a person seems happy, they must be happy. And if they have a seemingly perfect life, then it must be so. But one of the richest, wisest men to ever exist seems to have battled what modern humans would deem as depression. Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, writes about his wisdom, his wealth, worldly endeavors, and things he did to try to make himself happy, “Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (Holy Bible: New American Standard Bible: Eccles. 2.9-11).
Solomon, one of the richest, wisest, most powerful men to ever exist, also said, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart” (Eccles. 7.2). What are we supposed to learn from that? In chapter 9 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon offers some hope, “For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun” (Eccles. 9.4-6). In essence, everyone in this world will have trials and temptations. But as long as we have life, we still have a chance to seize the day:
RIP, Robin Williams. If you would like to learn how you can help others cope with depression or how you can help prevent suicide, the Washington County Suicide Prevention Coalition is hosting a free community event at the Bartlesville Community Center on Monday, September 8th from 6:30-8:30pm. There will be refreshments and door prizes, but seating may be limited so email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat!
Lovelines is a Christian crisis hotline and can be reached by calling 612-379-1199.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-Talk (8255).