This week, we as a nation, said farewell to the brilliant, frenetic genius that was Robin Williams-a man that befriended gorillas and entertained us for decades with his quirky sense of humor.
Beginning in television as the alien in Mork and Mindy, Williams established a successful career in the movies in an era when moving from the little screen to the big screen was highly unusual and few made that jump.
However, eyes are the window to the soul, according to Shakespeare. Williams’ sad eyes that reflected his dark side. He was a man who suffered from depression throughout his life and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. Born to a well-to-do family, his wealth and success did not tame those demons. He had three wives and entered treatment more than once for his addiction to alcohol, and in his younger years, cocaine.
“My only companions, my only friends as a child were my imagination,” the actor once said.
We all know that he committed suicide.
That monster of the mind, depression, harms and steals and deceives so many, not just the fancy, famous people. Sadly, nationwide, suicide has increasingly become a way out when things aren’t going right in a world that seems to take more than it gives.
Barton County in the past few years has been rocked by the suicides, including those of young, healthy individuals with so much potential.
For this reason, the Barton County Suicide Prevention Task Force was formed. They brought in an expert, Dr. Jason Deselms, to speak to residents about suicide prevention.
His advice was to break the silence. “Always ask, always act,” he said. “Suicide is the attempt to deal with unrelenting emotional/physical pain. The suicide mindset is in this life it is not difficult to die. It is more difficult to live.”
The warning signs of a potential suicide are:
•A fixation with death or violence; violent mood swings; difficulty adjusting to gender identity; and signs of depression such as worsening of school, work performance, withdrawal from friends, expression of sadness or rage, sudden unexplained decline in energy, overreaction to criticism, indecision, low self-esteem, increased agitation, changes in sleeping or eating, unprovoked episodes of crying, neglect of personal hygiene, alcohol or drug use, and being tired.
The signs demanding immediate action are:
•Announcing that person has made a suicide plan, talking about suicide, saying “I wish I were dead,” staying by themselves, saying that life is meaningless, giving away prized possessions, neglecting appearance, or obtaining a weapon.
Watch for warning signs in combination with any of the following:
•A recent suicide of friend, a recent breakup, purchasing or searching for firearms, impulsiveness or risk taking, lack of connection to friends and a previous suicide attempt.
•Depression signs and ongoing mental health issue such as bipolar disease.
Remember to always ask and always act and to look into the eyes of the walking dead.
You may save a life.
Karen La Pierre