Robin Williams passed away yesterday. May he rest in peace!

When I learned of it this morning, I was shocked- like millions all over the world. I googled frantically for details. What I learned shocked me even more. I found that Mr. Williams’s high energy at times masked a personal struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, and a representative for the actor said Monday that “he has been battling severe depression of late.”

Another lost battle, I said to myself.

I feel deeply sad. It was bad enough to know that Mr Williams passed away at 63, with still so much magic left in him to share with the world. To know that he was severely depressed and lonely enough to want to leave the world voluntarily, makes it sadder still.

A laughing face hid a lonely heart- once again.

I wouldn’t claim to know exactly what made him take this final step. He was struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. That must surely have added a wider, deeper dimension to his depression. I have no clue what he was really going through.

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.

~Elizabeth Gilbert

I am familiar with depression- that which is not addiction related. It has been my faithful companion for many years. I can safely say what my own thought process was when I was in that state.

I wonder if Mr Williams felt as lonely as I did. Something tells that he did. But how could a man like Mr Williams be lonely?

All great and precious things are lonely.

~ John Steinbeck

He had everything. He was rich and famous. He was a resounding success in every possible way. He was deeply admired and looked up to as a professional. He was adored by millions all over the world. He had a wife who lived with him. Everything was replete and wholesome. All the gaps were filled, there were no empty spaces. He was surrounded by stellar company. Where was the room for loneliness?

Depression has a way of cutting you off from people. It burns all the bridges you built over the years, connecting you with others. Your thought process becomes so alien to you that a part of you is repulsed. This revulsion convinces you that others too will find you revolting. With this conviction, your feeling of isolation and segregation are complete. You sentence yourself to the dungeons of the unreclaimable. Mankind has no scourge as terrible as loneliness. It breaks you down and grinds you to dust.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.

~ Mother Teresa

Imagine a loneliness so deep as to make even a stellar life like Mr William’s seem hopeless! A despondency so pervasive as to make you feel that you have no way of overcoming your life’s struggles than to bid a final goodbye to the world. A sense of isolation so profound as to make you feel that no one can ever understand you, nor imagine what you are going through. An alienation so complete as to make you feel abandoned and lost; as if you were unworthy of anyone’s care, concern or love.

If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.

~ Jean-Paul Sartre

To a depressed person, this final goodbye is the only path to freedom; the only way out; the only haven. It is the only way they can set their imprisoned spirit free. They struggle valiantly against such thoughts and mostly, they win. But it is touch and go. Time and again they pull themselves back from the edge of the precipice. Despite their incessant struggle not to succumb to this feeling of abandonment, there comes a day when they lose their precarious balance. In one such moment of absolute conviction that this is the only way out, a tortured spirit sets itself free.

And the world knows of another lost battle.

Altered Google Image
Altered Google Image

Another Lost Battle