Robin Williams, depression and when the noise is just too much.

Robin Williams took his own life today. Like so many who’ve gone before, the noise got the best of him.

A celebrity, a beloved entertainer, a loving father, a wildly accomplished individual in every respect — he had everything everyone wants. Everything we’re taught to strive for and cling to — everything we’re led to believe constitutes happiness.

But in the words of Jim Carrey (Tweeted the last time a celebrated actor left this world by his own hand — Phillip Seymour Hoffman), “For the most sensitive among us the noise can be too much.”

The noise. Let’s talk about the noise.

The noise, for those who don’t hear it, is a brutal, cacophonous din. It’s screaming, it’s shouting, it’s shaming; it’s nastiness and cruelty, bigotry and rejection. It’s a shriek, a cackle constantly reminding us that we’re JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It’s the world’s ugliest bits.

That’s what the noise is all about. Leading us to believe we’re worthless and inferior and alone. That life is dark and cold and empty and it’s all just totally pointless.

We believe the noise, because why wouldn’t we? Why wouldn’t we believe what the world’s been beating into us since we arrived?

But it lies. Oh how it lies.

It’s hard to question the noise, when it seems so sure of itself. It’s EVERYWHERE and it’s so very loud. It’s easier to believe in it. Robin Williams believed in it so fervently he made the choice to leave this world ahead of schedule.

“He has been battling severe depression of late,” his representative said.

It’s not easy to be a sensitive soul. The world clamors and heaves and stumbles and you feel every bit of it. Your heart hurts all the time. Sometimes it’s like trudging through mud or digging your way out of quicksand. During the dark times, it can feel impossible to force yourself forward.

Not everyone makes it. Robin Williams didn’t make it.

For the rest of us, all I can say is, it gets better. There is hope. There is help. There are lights in the darkest of places. But you have to look for the littlest glimmer. You have to want to see it. Give up, and the lights go out forever.

The good news, the bright and shiny news amidst all the pain and loss, is that the gift of sensitivity means the capacity for joy is exponentially greater. It means the goodness can make your heart swell and puff and nearly burst. It means joy and exultation and the purest of happiness can be yours.

If you can keep going. Always keep going.

I’m sad Mr. Williams couldn’t keep going. But he’s home now. For him, there’s no more noise.

For the rest of us, we have to keep on keeping on with that little spark of madness intact — looking tirelessly towards that bright light up ahead.

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3 Responses

  1. Jean Ryan says:

    I like this post very much, especially your point that highly sensitive people are capable of a joy that others will never know. There must be compensation, right? Bits of glory there for the taking. It hurts to be alive, so the world, by way of apology, is drenched in beauty and wonder.

    • Hannah says:

      Thank you Jean. So eloquently put. <3 YES. I was recently reading that (science says) the feeling of awe adds to happiness -- and there's so much to inspire awe! That's a gift from the universe, just for us. 🙂

  2. Dana Lent says:

    I have read and re-read this. I can only pray that Mr. Williams feels peace and that his family will, too. Finding the “light”, the silver lining, isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it. Rest in Peace, Robin Williams and may others find hope in their darkest hours. Keep the spark and the light alive. It is our gift from this great universe.

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