Where would we be without the deep thinkers of the world? You know, the people who pushed cultural barriers through literature, the arts or political revolution. The ones who took a new direction and invited us to follow – and changed the course of our lives, and ultimately, the course of our world.
Where would we be without them?
Woolf, Plath, Hemingway, … Hendrix, Joplin, Cobain, … and more recently the devastating blows of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams..
Why is this group of people, the deep thinkers, the face of depression and suicide?
I consider Robin Williams as one of the greatest “thinkers” of our time.
Someone with that much magnetism and artistic genius is born out of thinking deeply, and when he passed away there was an undeniable void in the world. How could someone with so much joy, so much fun and excitement, with so much LOVE, leave us behind? It’s a question that may forever go unanswered, but that isn’t what’s important here. What’s important is that we have a conversation about suicide and depression, even if an answer never comes.
I sort of had this “aha!” moment (as Oprah would say)a couple weeks after I heard about Robin’s suicide. At first I felt very depressed about his death, mainly because I myself am a deep thinker and couldn’t help but make the connection to all the times I had thought about taking my own life.
Even though I never had the intention to die, I’ve crumbled before under the pressures of life, finding myself hungrily searching for a way to end the swirling emotional pain, only seeing one plausible way out: To end it all.
I’m not saying this to evoke sympathy, I’m saying this because I know many of you, if not all of you, have experienced this in some way.
Life is hard. It’s painful and scary, but it’s also beautiful, complex, and surreal, like a dream. So, when the mind of a deep thinker is caught in the net of their own complex/beautiful/dark/painful thoughts, it is easy to feel trapped, like there is no way out. Perhaps this is why Robin Williams took his own life, he too got caught in the net.
What I want is to honor the life of the deep thinker, not to tell someone that the dark corners of their mind should never be touched, but instead to shine a light on the dark corners, venture there together, and begin a new conversation.
We need the deep thinkers, without them how could we change and impact the world? How could we, as a society, become better without people pushing the limitations of the mind? The conversation needs to open up beyond mental illness, beyond substance abuse, because those things in itself create stigma and disconnect. The conversation we’re having about suicide and depression has a giant gap in it, and I’m hoping to fill this gap.
I could’ve been Robin Williams… many times, but I had people who were willing to have an unrestricted conversation. I’ve been blessed with people who not only encouraged me, but came with me to explore the dark corners of my own mind, allowing me to walk out my life stigma-free.
I feel it is my purpose to fill in the gap about depression, deep thinkers and identity, but I am only one person and I need your help:
So, let’s begin the conversation…
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts please visit AFSP.org
By Isabelle Champagne
Listen to the Sister Radio show “Deep Thinkers and Depression” HERE