When I heard Robin Williams died, I shrugged it off at first; I try not to get too sentimental when a celebrity passes. “What’s so special about them compared to the 150,000 people who die every day somewhere in the world,” I ask myself. “They’re special, too.”
But, as the day wore on, I found myself getting more bummed the more I tried to ignore it. So, I gave myself a moment to sit and think. “Why is this affecting me?” I pondered. “I haven’t watched one of his movies recently and I’ve never met the guy.”
That’s when it hit me. I was sad about Robin Williams because his life represents so much of how I want to live my own. He created art, and he did it in his own unique way that forced you to see everything that’s right—and wrong—with the world through a lens that made life just a little bit better.
I didn’t need to meet Robin for my life to have been better for him being here. He harnessed his talent in a way that helped me from afar. When he appeared on a screen somewhere, my life—however it was at them time—was better, if only for a moment. And that was because of him.
When you lose someone like that, you ought to be sad.
The way Robin Williams lived his life—despite the ups and downs—should be a guide for all of us. We should all be trying to leverage our talents in a way that makes the world a better place. We should all be doing something that can spread joy to those beyond our immediate reach. Every life matters regardless how it’s spent, but we should all be trying to live one that counts.
Robin wasn’t afraid to take risks in his career, explore his creativity, or live adventurously. And it’s what endeared him to the world.
We should all risk, explore, and adventure. We should all work to make the most of every moment of our existence. But, we should all take note: There are diseases out there—like depression—that we still don’t fully understand, and can end a life no matter how well it seems to be going.
If you’ve never experienced depression yourself, you almost certainly have met someone who has. The World Health Organization estimates 121 million people suffer from depression at any given time. It’s a dangerous disease because, when you have it, it’s hard to ask for help. When you don’t, it’s hard to offer it.
I simply don’t know enough about depression to offer useful advice, but this comic strip, oddly enough, is the best resource I’ve found to better understand it.
If you feel depressed—or think you know someone who is—give it read.
If only for a moment, let’s remember how Robin Williams made the world a little better, and try to do that ourselves. And let’s not forget that money, fame, or even what seems like meaning to others can save you when a disease like depression hits. If you have it, or know someone who does, please do something to get help.