It is 2 am. This is the time when you are most introspective and free. This is when you have the darkest thoughts, but also the most profound, the ones with the most clarity. This is the time you feel the courage to click the send on an overdue love letter/email. It is the time you can hear your thoughts without bias or judgement. It is when all of the noise finally quietens.
Robin Williams and his choice to end his life has gone completely viral since it happened. It became the most blogged, tweeted about topic of the week and became every online blog’s wet dream. Countless repeated conversations combined with personal anectodes of fans who grew up watching his work. I was near a Starbucks when I saw it on Facebook, talking to my parents. I read the sentence out loud before realizing who it was. “Robin Williams dead, alleged suicide.”
In the day time, even despite the shock, I didn’t really process. My dad said, “This is going to upset a lot of people. This isn’t… good, the suicide part.”
Even then, I could predict the issue being viral gold. I got lost in the noise. It bothered me — the way it happened, I wanted answers. The detail about his belt, Zelda William’s tweet followed by her desicion to go offline during mourning, the “you’re free” from Aladdin; all just emotional porn which I obsessively consumed on all online medium channels.
My mother didn’t understand depression and I had to explain that it was a chemical imbalance that was as serious as any other disease. I compared it to anemia and other popular diseases which people have no control over. She argued that he had everything — fame, fortune, wealth, success, family. How could anybody be sad? I tried to explain, desperately needing her to understand. I explained how depression is a void of emptiness which must have been dark enough for him to have ended his life, despite his percieved perfect life. I explained that it was all physiological and molecular, people didn’t choose to be depressed. It isn’t a choice people make because they were bored or restless. It isn’t a choice people make because they want attention. It isn’t a choice people make because it seems glamorous or popular. It is misunderstood, isolating, lonely and victim-blaming.
I wondered if she remembered her best friend, also with everything one could want in life, being diagnosed with depression. I wondered if she remembered that in 8th grade, my guidance counsellor had explained how I may have mild clinical depression. My counsellor had tried to get me help but I, since then, adopted my parent’s attitude of denial. After all, I had been mourning a friend’s passing then — mourning basically has all the same physical symptoms.
It worked. Like a placebo effect, you truly believe there’s nothing wrong with you. Sometimes, you’ll catch yourself saying out loud, “I don’t want to do this anymore” when reffering to life. Sometimes, you’ll think it and go on, without a second thought. A good friend will stop and make you realize what you just said so nonchalantly. Deep down, you know there is an emptiness that will never be cured — but you call it human existence and move on. You try to understand this demon of yours, but like your shadow, it is engrained within you that you can’t imagine it not being there — but you claim that everyone has defining moments that shape their entire life. You are certain that everybody feels a genre of this.
You wonder why there is no depth or complexity in some of the conversations, some of the people you encounter. You argue that you prefer this, the bleakness gives your personality, allows you to enjoy humour, makes you empathetic — your life is richer. You pity those who can’t view life in the same grey shades of you.
And besides, you’re so functional. You wake up and do things and have goals and socialize and you have such a huge support system. There’s no way you could be this functional if you truly had a problem. You remember the things that make up your identity — student of ___, volunteers at ___, works at ____. All of these names and organizations and centers to legitimize your existence and make you appear functional.
You’re also so funny — or you think so, anyway. You have such a positive attitude towards like, anything — you don’t think so, but have been told numerous times. For god’s sake, you actively promote self-care and attempt it yourself every now and then. You’ve fooled everyone you know, but still have to tackle the art of fooling yourself.
Ignorance works; you dissolve in the noise of life until that next time it’s 2 am.