Dear celebrities: Robin Williams’s suicide is not about you.
Posted on August 12th, 2014
Yes, the world is struggling to understand the suicide of Robin Williams. It’s sad. It’s sudden. He never seemed depressed, did he? He did what the rest of the depressive world does and put on a brave face.
Yes, we should take mental health more seriously. Because everyone else writing a personal piece feels a need to assert their credentials: I’m a depressive. All of my immediate family are depressives. My father once told me which rafter he’d picked to hang himself from. My husband is depressed. I have spent many mornings of the last two years wondering if it would be the day I would become a widow. I have a panic disorder now, too. (Go figure.)
But no, we do not need every goddamned celebrity opining about Mr. Williams’s suicide and using it as their personal platform, writing pieces or tweeting pablum that’s really just about them. Not from the recovering addict celebrities, the current addict celebrities, the non-addict celebrities, the celebrities who have suffered from depression or the celebrities who knew someone’s brother’s cousin’s aunt who killed herself.
Because it’s not about you. Mourn. Sure, please mourn. It’s sad, and mourning is healthy. The great stories about how he helped you? Those are wonderful. Share them. But don’t try to turn it into something else.
If you want to do good, urge your followers and fans to donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
And since I’m already ranting:
Dear media: we do not need to know how he killed himself. What the fuck is wrong with you? (Tomorrow are you going to report on which brand of belt he used?) Just say it’s a suicide. Respect the man’s family. Leave the rest alone. Look up “trauma trigger.” Better yet, spend your minutes or your column inches or blog pages reporting on police brutality, veterans’ issues, Iraq, Afghanistan, sex trafficking. Anything else. If you really want to report on suicide, look into the rate of suicides among returning veterans.