The loss of Robin Williams to suicide has brought a kaleidoscope of awful and beautiful things to the surface in the past day. His death, after years in recovery, is a raw, gaping wound. Everyone can feel the pain from it, especially people who struggle with the same issues or work with people with those issues. That pain is about hurt and fear. We are a community in recovery—working in it or living it. A loss is a loss to everyone.
Therapists feel the loss of a person they might have helped. People in long-term recovery have that sense of helplessness: ‘If he couldn’t do it, how can I?’ And our most vulnerable, the patients just learning those baby steps of sobriety perhaps feel it most of all. It is just one more piece of the bewilderment they have to try to fit together in a new life. Whatever your problem is—addiction, alcoholism, depression, bipolar, anything—you have probably thought ‘No one can help me. I tried but it does not work. There’s nothing I can do.’
There is. Why? Because there are people willing to help. Amazing people here and elsewhere throughout the industry. Thinking about that made me remember that quote from Mr. Rogers:
“There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: ‘Always look for the helpers,’ she’d tell me. ‘There’s always someone who is trying to help.’ I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.”
We are the helpers. Everyone is a helper. No one wants you or anyone to struggle, to despair, to give up. Ask for help. Take a deep breath and ask or call or type. Someone wants to help.
There are so many beautiful things I am reading today. People are writing their hearts out to say: It hurts. It’s hard. I know. Don’t do it. Find help. It is a beautiful, messy world. Stay a part of it. Tell one person that you can’t deal with it and you don’t know what to do.
If you or someone you love is struggling or considering suicide, call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255. If your struggle is with drugs or alcohol, call us at Lakeview at 866.704.7692 . Or call someone else. We are all helpers.
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