As a young man, the Venn diagram that summed up my psychology included (among many others) two large circles–Family Loss and Hero Worship. The resulting intersection of these circles was a deep well, in which inexplicably powerful figures presided over a glittering cosmos of breathtaking possibilities. Robin Williams lived here, for me. He showed me that being different and odd wasn’t a burden. It was fuel. A license to push boundaries, to make people laugh. He showed me the power of comedy.
I have stared into shadows, in others and in myself, and I’m here to tell you that what you see down there doesn’t have to be faced alone. I saw a therapist for a time, and it turned my entire world upside down. In many ways, the battle never ends, but you can take steps to change how it is fought.
If you live elsewhere, I recommend finding a service nearby, a suicide hotline, anything. Find someone to talk to. Believe me, it’s worth it.