Response to Robin William’s Death

Matt Walsh, a Christian speaker, wrote an article about Robin Williams and depression.  I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t respond with my own blog post refuting it.

Here’s his:

In his blog, Matt said “The death of Robin Williams is significant not because he was famous, but because he was human, and not just because he left this world, but particularly because he apparently chose to leave it.  Suicide.”

Dear Matt, guess what you completely forgot to mention in your blog post: Robin Williams had bipolar.

Now I don’t care if he had bipolar depression or just regular depression, he did not CHOOSE to have a mental illness. Just like you did not CHOOSE to not have bipolar.  Let me just say that these points alone make your entire blog post invalid, but I will elaborate..

“I’ve seen it on the news and read about it in books, but I can’t comprehend it. The complete, total, absolute rejection of life. The final refusal to see the worth in anything, or the beauty, or the reason, or the point, or the hope.”

Of course you cannot comprehend it, you’ve never had a severe mental illness.  “Refusal” to see.  What horrible people these people must be, what a horrible attitude Robin Williams must have had for “refusing.”  How about “inability” to see.  An “inability” just as a person with ADD has an “inability” to concentrate at some times, not a “refusal” to concentrate.

Dear Matt, let me tell you what feeling suicidal actually feels like.  Have you ever run a long race and given it your all, and literally run until you cannot anymore?  What if you finally slowed down and came to a stop after running 10 miles for the first time.  Wouldn’t that be a “freeing” and “relieving” feeling?  What if I told you it is not “freeing” to do that, that is selfish, you must keep running.

There have been times where I have felt suicidal. The only way I can describe it is that you have no energy left to go on.  Just like the runner.  Except that it is emotional energy.  The thought of having to live the rest of your life is exhausting, let alone live tomorrow.

Many people who struggle with deep depression get to the point where they have been running for 10 miles, and they just want to end the run.  They can’t stand the pain, it’s too excruciating to bear.  On top of that, no matter what they do, how hard they try, they can’t get rid of the negative thoughts and sense of hopelessness constantly filling their minds.  (Which DOES come from a chemical imbalance in the brain, that’s why antidepressants work). Duh.

“But I don’t understand how theists, who acknowledge the existence of the soul, think they can draw some clear line of distinction between the body and the soul, and declare unequivocally that depression is rooted in one but not the other.”

So if I can just get myself totally right with God, my broken arm will not hurt at all.  If it still hurts, this is my fault and I’m not where I need to be with God?  I will agree with you that suicide is a choice.  Just like stopping in the middle of the race track is a choice.

“In suicide you obliterate yourself and shackle your loved ones with guilt and grief. There is no freedom in it.”

There is a lot of freedom in it.  You don’t have to feel that pain anymore.  It is the desire to stopping hurting that drives people to commit suicide.

Now please do not get me wrong, I am NOT advocating for people to commit suicide.  But if someone does commit it, it’s because they felt they could not take the pain anymore, not because they are selfish or unspiritual.

I believe that just like leukemia kills some people, others are killed by bipolar, depression, etc.

No, having bipolar/depression does not make your heart stop beating directly.  It does however, make your brain so ill that your brain tells your body to make your heart stop beating. 

Suicide is not a choice that a healthy person makes, they have an ILLNESS.

Suicide does shackle your loved ones in guilt.  It has been found that suicide majorly alters the lives of at least 6 people who were close to you.  It can completely ruin their lives.

There is hope, no matter how awful it feels.  Until you have tried every medication and every counselor in the world, there is still hope. 

“No depressed person in the history of the world has ever been in the depths of despair and at the heights of joy at the same time.”

In the Bible, David was called “a man after God’s own heart.”  He talks about his depressed feelings more than almost anyone else in the Bible.

Psalm 6:6: “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.”   Yet he was simultaneously committed to the Lord and following the Lord wholeheartedly:  1“O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.”  17“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.” Psalm 7:1,17

You can definitely still have the joy of the Lord and of knowing Him, and be deeply depressed.  There is a difference between happiness and joy.  Happiness is circumstantial, when everything is ok in your earthly surroundings.  Joy is having peace that the Lord is with you and that you will spend eternity with Him, even in the midst of excruciating physical or emotional pain.

We are all meant for love. We are all meant for life.

You are right about this one Matt, and don’t think for a second that someone who is depressed or has a mental illness simply doesn’t want these.


One thought on “Response to Robin William’s Death

  1. Theresa

    As always, well-said and thought-provoking Meredith. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope it helps others to realize they are not alone.



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