The day after the passing of Robin Williams social media reacted with an out pouring of support, grief and in some cases rude ignorance.
A friend of mine shared his condolences through his Facebook status and while there were those who shared his thoughts there were still many who felt it unfair. One person commented,
“when will we be just as sad for the homeless person who commits suicide because they have lost all hope in a society that kicks you harder when you are down? i am sad for robin and his family, but i am also sad for ALL of those who have taken their own lives because they honestly see no end to the pain they are suffering.”
I responded simply with, “I am.”
When people are going through mental anguish we shouldn’t care how much or how little money they had, if they were famous or homeless. As I said in a past post, people are people. Suicide is suicide. We should mourn every person who has seen no way out of their pain.
It is a fact that suicide is not reported equally. Those with celebrity status will have their suicides or accidental overdoses reported on. Individuals who have experienced bullying and decided to end their lives will also be reported on. Society has deemed these individuals worthy. But what about the individual who jumped in front of the subway during rush hour? Whenever there is a massive subway delay and we’re told that EMS is on scene I watch the news that night and see if it’s talked about (as many major delays are). If the news doesn’t mention the delay then I can usually assume that it was caused by someone who ended their life. Delays caused by sickness, someone being pushed onto the tracks, mechanical issues etc are talked about, suicide is not.
The fact of the matter is suicide is suicide. Whether it be Robin Williams, Amanda Todd or a person living on the street, they should all be mourned. They have all fought a battle that ended when their lives did. No one is immune to the sadness, everyone is missing something. Does Robin’s celebrity status make his pain any less legitimate, any less “honest”? No. Everyone has their own reason for taking their life and we do ourselves no good by further creating small, tight boxes for pain to fit into.
People are people, pain is pain and suicide is suicide. Loss is loss.