Listen: unlike my usual method & mode of writing, I will keep this brief out of mourning & respect for one of my heroes, Robin Williams. I didn’t want to speak on this subject now, but, this seems the very best time of all to speak out on what I usually find so hard to say (I’m not reading these words as I write them, and I know already that I won’t feel like reading them later, either) and I don’t even like discussing with my family: five years ago, in one of the darkest periods of my life, during the summer before my junior year of college at the University of Oregon, I tried to kill myself. Twice. I wanted to succeed and I failed, and it was through years of writing, calm meditation, therapy, and years of speaking with family & friends — slowly, but surely, healing all the time — that I’m still alive today.
Why discuss this now?
Because I held off on seeking help & it was only later that discovered through a doctor (glad I did that) that I suffer from clinical depression. Because we have a terrible stigma placed on mental illness and those who suffer under the dark, ever-watchful eyes of depression. Because my entire life I’ve slipped into periods of darkness, and I was afraid of sharing this simple truth because of what I thought others would think and feel about me (I learned my lesson here too). Because tonight we lost a good man, a funny man, a man who brought joy into our lives & only asked that we forget our troubles and escape. Because it was what he knew and loved and, as someone smarter than I said on Twitter tonight, he was funny because he “helped keep the darkness at bay.” I like that. I write because I hope that someone like me will read my words & know they are not alone.
I am alive today because I discovered I was not alone. And, if you are suffering from depression to, seek solidarity, seek help, seek your friends & family. Seek a new world of your own choosing. I was able to do this, and I consider myself a weak man. You can do better than me, because you know you can.
Keep fighting. Apologies for my lack of eloquence, but I needed to speak.
Thank you, and RIP Mr. Williams. You will be missed every day.
And I will keep fighting if you all do too.
— Jackson Williams.