Through Robin Williams’ Life, We Laughed. Through Robin Williams’ Death, We Learn.

Robin Williams2I don’t normally follow celebrities’ lives. Really, I don’t.

Yep. No keeping up with the Kardashians for me, thank you very much.

But something about Robin Williams’ death this past week deeply saddened me.

What a loss…

As an actor and comedian, oh how he made us laugh. (And sometimes cry…)

As a person, by all accounts, he was enormously generous and giving…doing many things quietly to help others.

Really, the stories I’ve read paint the picture of an incredibly compassionate and humble soul.

Powerful lessons Robin Williams’ death teaches us like nothing else can…

I imagine that you were just as shocked as I was to learn Robin Williams had committed suicide. How could someone who looked like he had everything going for him take his own life?

In that very question lies a couple of powerful reminders Robin Williams’ death offers us.

Reminders like this…

: | Keep fighting stigma – and save lives.

Did you know that nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year? And that many who attempt it never seek professional care?*

While Robin Williams did and was open about his struggles with depression, many others are not.

And, most likely, it’s because of the stigma that still exists around depression and other mental health conditions.

I wrote about fighting stigma in an earlier post, but Robin Williams’ suicide made me think it was time to issue another invitation to join me in being a stigma warrior.

How does a stigma warrior fight stigma?

Start by educating yourself on mental illness. The more you know, the less you fear those who experience one.

Here are two brilliant videos to help you get started.

1) One is from Bring Change 2 Mind, the wonderful organization actress Glenn Close co-founded to help end stigma. Talk about using your platform of fame for good.

And talk about seeing people who look just like you and me talk about mental health in the most open, honest and authentic of ways.

Take four minutes to watch this. Everyone’s got four minutes to open their minds.

2) The other video comes from Having never experienced clinical depression, I was having a hard time (like I’m sure you’ve had) understanding the depth of sadness one must feel to take his or her own life.

In fact, clinical depression is more than just sadness. But, instead of me explaining it, watch this explanation of depression from a guy who has “been there, done that”.

Upworthy calls it the most powerful description of depression it’s ever heard, and I agree. It is.

You want to know what I think, though, is one of the most powerful tools for fighting stigma?

Empathy. Imagine it was you.

If you were suffering from a mental health condition, would you want others thinking of you as ‘less than’ because of it? I didn’t think so. So, don’t think this about others.

Tweet this –> Be a stigma warrior! End stigma now, because no one should suffer in silence because they feel too ashamed to get help.

: | Be kind – and smile.

It sounds so obvious to say “Be kind”, doesn’t it? Or maybe a little bit corny to say, ‘Smile’.

But these two simple things can make such a tremendous difference in someone’s life.

The late Christopher Reeve spoke about how Robin Williams’ kindness and humor made him want to live after his horrific accident. Through laughter, Reeve realized life could be OK again.

Laughter is powerful. And so are kindness and a smile. This image says it best…

Be Kind_opt
Don’t let a bad day or busyness get the better of you. No matter how you feel inside, you can always choose to be kind and to put a smile on your face.

Do it. It could make someone’s day. Or, change someone’s life.

And that’s no laughing matter.

:: ::

Truth be told, there are many other reminders Robin Williams’ death provides us, but if I were to highlight them all, this post would get longer than it already is.

But I hope you’ll take the above ones to heart and put them into action right away.

So that maybe someone who’s experiencing what Robin Williams was makes a different choice.

Know someone who could benefit from the reminders above? Please share this post with them by using one of the share buttons at the top or bottom of this post, or emailing them this URL:

To Robin Williams, whose laughter and spirit will be missed…



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