“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality” — Andrew Solomon
It’s ironic that a man who made us feel so alive with his work was in such pain on the inside.
On the day of his death, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, known to most as “The Academy,” tweeted this:
DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK BEFORE YOU POSTED THIS?
Or was it a quick tweet thrown up to hop on the “OMG Robin Williams is Dead Train” with the bonus that your underpaid social media intern was absolutely fucking brilliant enough to work an Aladdin quote into what is an upsetting and inconsiderate tweet?
The Genie isn’t free. He’s dead. He’s dead because he suffered from a lifelong, awful disease and killed himself. That’s what happened. That’s the truth.
I’ve suffered from depression. With that in mind, the message I get from this tweet is:
It’s okay to kill yourself. You’ll be free.
And if that’s how I take it now, years later, how is someone who is really depressed, as in, on the brink of killing himself, going to react?
The Academy rationalized Robin’s death and made his suicide okay. His death is sad, awful, and a loss to his family and many others, but it’s far from okay.
Suicide is not okay.
When I was much younger and severely depressed I thought about killing myself. I wasn’t incredibly serious, as in, I never devised a plan, as many do. But I thought about it enough that I was uncomfortable around knives in the kitchen. I worried that I’d make a spur of the moment decision and end my life on a whim with no time to talk sense into myself.
But you know what? If Twitter existed in 1999 and nine year old, film-obsessed me had seen that tweet (let’s be real, I would have definitely followed the Academy), I might have really thought about it.
Shame on you, Academy.
Depression is serious. It’s not a joke. It’s not a cute meme to throw up online.
Next time you open up your social media face-hole, take a second and think about what you’re saying.
Rest in peace, Robin.