I’ve chosen to take a more somber approach to this week’s Think Tank post because I want to open the conversation to a very serious topic. While this is a Humor blog, it is also one about Philosophy.
I’ve always encouraged you to share your Deep Thoughts, and made it clear that the Think Tank is a safe place where any thought could be shared without fear of mockery, retribution, or ostracism.
When you join me in our weekly Philosophical Exercise, please keep in mind that this is a very sensitive topic and that I need you to be respectful of others… even if their Deep Thoughts do not mesh with yours.
Thank you. I hope to see you all out there…
This week’s topic: Robin Williams’ suicide has opened up discussions about suicide, depression, coping skills, and the like. I thought we could just open the Think Tank to chats on any of those topics, as well thoughts on Robin Williams, his movies and career. Whatever you want to discuss…
I have always been a huge Robin Williams fan, and still remember his first appearance on “Happy Days” as Mork. The man was a comic genius, as well as an Oscar winning actor. Good Will Hunting and Dead Poet’s Society are definitely my favorites of his flicks, and the “O Captain! My Captain!” and “Sweaty-toothed madman…” lines from Poet’s have a permanent place in my brain, popping up at the oddest moments.
I worked at a psychiatric hospital for five years. While this by no means makes me an expert on depression or suicide, it did open my mind more on those topics, as well as anything involving mental health issues.
Part of my job was taking phone calls from people in crisis, and trying to ensure that they were safe or could use a coping skill until someone could get to them and help them better deal with their crisis.
I have met psychiatric patients at the door of the hospital, done their admission paperwork with them, worked with them up on the units when the hospital was shorthanded, and also responded to codes when patients tried to harm themselves or others.
I’ve done the intake from doctors and crisis workers who wanted to get their patients admitted to the hospital. I have heard the symptoms, listed the medications, recorded previous mental health admissions.
I know that every person has different mental health issues, and that everyone deals with those issues in a completely different manner. So I just find it hard to judge or make a broad statement about any person who chooses to take his life.
I know I am very sad that Robin Williams made this choice, though.
When I worked at the psych hospital, my boss committed suicide. It was nearly impossible for me to wrap my brain around that at the time. She was a licensed mental health professional who helped patients with their mental health issues on a daily basis. She was surrounded by other mental health professionals, and had more access than the average person to mental health services simply by the nature of her job and the people she knew.
And yet, she still chose to take her life.
Even all these years later, I still cannot make sense of it. She was the nicest person, always the first to help someone in need, and in every memory I have of her, she’s smiling.
I so infrequently understand why I do the things I do, so I suppose it’s irrational of me to think I could ever make sense of the choices others make.
Rest in Peace, Robin. I will certainly miss the way you made me laugh and think…