Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.
When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.
The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…
But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide, it’s usually just implied). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focussing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.
You were born in the wake of Vikings.
"Norse women," your mother whispered into your hair, tugging the fine, white strands between her nails. "Are children of the sea. Brutes. Explorers. You and I, we don’t need the protection of men. We have the sea to guide us."
You never had a heart. You, the thin, shivering child in your mother’s spindle-thin arms, had a case. A casket, held open for the compass you hid in your ribcage pointing North, towards the sea. Your mother always hated your surname. Larsson. You were no daughter of his. You were born from your mother’s womb, leaving a slash across her belly, but still she made sure you carried the sea with you. She planted salt in your kisses, plucked the darkest, sharpest stones and slipped them into your smile. She bathed your hair in sea-water, and washed your skin with sand. She raised you from from the depths of an ocean too cold to nurture.
You had a heart of darkness, eyes stained black with squid ink and skin ice-cold to the touch.
You never needed your father to guide you. It was you and your mother from the beginning, two stick figures cut from caves of glaciers. (You liked to think the two of you were born feral, creatures of the wild and the ancient.) You will always remember your mother as she stood back then, knee deep in the blackened depths of water, refusing to shiver. Square shoulders. Sharp jaw. Untamed hair, whipping across her cheeks. Even as she aged, you still saw the ice in her eyes, and heard the Norse winds in her laughter. The two of you were owners of the sea.
She played noughts and crosses with you in the sand. Three strikes, and you were out. No tolerance. No second chances. You win, or you lose. You learnt to play her games with a careful defiance, with your nose in the air and brows slashed towards the ground. She taught you self-discipline as unforgiving as the walks she forced you on. She wanted you to be a force. She wanted you to be everything she hadn’t.
You collected shells and kept them in cardboard boxes, lifting them to your ears and listening to the way the waves crashed.
(The shells were always empty. The storm was inside of you.)
You grew up in the shape of your mother’s silhouette, bending your spine so it stood taller, stretching your fingers so they reached further. (Talons, she called them.) Tides crawled to your feet. You invited darkness with your cold, sharp charm, calculating the hours it would take till the sky fell at your feet. You manipulated the earth until it yielded around what you wanted.
You were a sea monster from the womb.
So that’s it, huh? I remember the drill. One slayer dies, the next one’s called. I wonder who she is. Will you train her? Or will they send someone else? Buffy, I… - Does it say how he’s gonna kill me? Do you think it’ll hurt? Don’t touch me! Were you even gonna tell me? I was hoping I wouldn’t have to, that there was some way around it. I… - I’ve got a way around it. I quit. It’s not that simple. I’m making it that simple. I quit! I resign! I-I’m fired! You can find someone else to stop The Master from taking over. I’m not sure that anyone else can. […] Giles, I’m sixteen years old. I don’t wanna die.
Maybe we should all be running from Beacon Hills… running for our lives.
west coast // james vincent mcmorrow [lana del rey cover]
You were sitting in a bathtub at the hospital and you were crying.
You said it hurt.
I mean the buildings that were not the hospital.
I shouldn’t have mentioned the hospital.
I don’t think I can take this much longer.
- Richard Siken