Robin Williams and mental illness
I know that I am late to the blogosphere in addressing the death of Robin Williams, but I did want to write immediately when the tragic event occurred a few weeks ago. However, I am learning that just because I want to do something immediately doesn't always mean I should do it right away. That mode of operation, in my experiences, has gotten me in trouble more than not, especially when it pertains to me "giving my infinite wisdom on a specific issue." Nonetheless, a few weeks later, here we go...
It's wild that so many people grieved the loss of a stranger, Robin Williams. However, I think that the response from everyone shows the kind of impact he had on this culture and the joy he brought to so many. Personally, I love Robin Williams as an actor. My favorite movie of all time is Good Will Hunting. I watched Hook the other week and got a little misty-eyed while watching it.
It makes my heart hurt when I see mental illness literally take life away from someone. Mental illness makes me sad altogether, having experienced it on a personal level. In fact, a daunting number of people will experience some type of mental illness during their time here on earth.
After Robin William's death, a well-known pastor tweeted a picture of the word, 'hope,' and added that everyone needed Jesus as their hope, and implied the notion that everyone that has Jesus as their hope will not commit suicide. I do believe and wish that everyone knew and had a relationship with Jesus because I know the deep hope that only Jesus can infuse into someone's life. However, what has to stop is the notion that mental illness is solely a spiritual problem. I would argue that a clinical, depressive disorder is actually more of a physical problem. Can someone experience depressive symptoms due to spiritual attacks? Yes! I most certainly believe in evil forces that exist to destroy us. However, in my truly humble opinion, I believe that clinical depression and a lot of other mental illnesses are not spiritual problems, but are physical problems that effect us spiritually.
You might ask me, "Zach, is it really a big deal to think one way or the other? Isn't this just a matter of semantics?" In my opinion, it is a big deal. And it's more than semantics. Guilt, shame, insecurity, continually feeling stuck in life, and a complete, unhealthy view of God's love is on the line.