Friday, February 16, 2018

I Know Why the Comedian Kills Himself

Everyone is shocked.  They don't understand why.  How can someone who makes people laugh for a living do this?  They are successful.  They are funny.  They have the world by the tail.  How can the famous comedian, actor, singer do this? Was it drugs?  Were they crazy?  Why?  Why?  Why?

Sometimes, yeah.  It's drugs or a disease or way out of what seems like an unfixable mess.  But how often do you hear, so-and-so struggled with depression for years?  And no one gets it.  I get it.  Depression is not just that chemical brain imbalance, it's also pain and anger.  It is anger you cannot express to the world or anger at yourself.  It turns in and eats you from the inside.  And it's sneaky.

The comedian disguises the pain and anger by making you laugh.  If you are laughing you aren't seeing what is going on.  You aren't asking questions that are hard to answer.  Or maybe unanswerable.  Or make you look weak.   You're too busy cheering for the singer and actor who hides so well that sometimes they fool even themself.

I am what would be called a "high functioning" depressive.  I hold a job.  It has some responsibility, authority, and depending on your viewpoint, maybe even prestige.  I go to work and am told by some people, "you are so funny,"  "you always make us laugh,"  "you are nice."  I am anything but those things.  Inside I am angry, scared, sad.  But that's not your business, so Robin Williams makes you laugh.  Curt Cobain sings his pain.  Junior Sea runs the ball.  And then we go home.  We go home and climb into bed, into the bottle, into a needle.  We go weeks on minimal sleep because our brains won't shut up at night.  Or we sleep and only get up when we must.  And, often, we think we're okay.  We think because we are making it to work every day, we're good.  Depression is sneaky.

And then the moment comes when, almost like waking from a dream, you find yourself sitting in front of a computer having found a site on suicide with some real deal advice.   Make sure that after you take all those downers and alcohol, you add in as much Acetaminophen as you can swallow because it destroys your liver.  What?  What the fuck am I doing?  How did I get here?  I'm in trouble.

Or maybe just the right person, at just the right, time looks at you and says, "Dude.  You are NOT okay.  I see you and what I'm seeing worries me."  Or maybe you look at your child and suddenly realize you've been playing Russian Roulette not just with your own life, but with his or hers too.  Because ending your pain leaves them with a life of wondering.  A life of self blame.  A life of shame or anger.  It leaves them a legacy you simply have no right to put on another.

There are those that say suicide is an act of cowardice.  Those are the ones who have no empathy.  No understanding of how far down a rabbit hole of disreason a depressive can fall.  More often than not, that potential suicide is thinking those around will either be better off, or not effected at all because they have no understanding of their own importance.  They only know pain, exhaustion of pretending, anger at themself or the world.  They are trapped in a black hole that is so deep and so dark, sometimes there is no other way out.

Yes, you can get better.  You can.  But I won't lie.  It's exhausting.  Catching yourself before you're in front of that suicide site.   Deciding to let yourself be sad or angry for a time- because you have reasons to be- but knowing you can't let it run your life.  Making sure you remember your pills, your appointments, your food.  But for those who can't- can't not won't, the answer is actually simple:

The comedian kills himself because, in truth, he was never funny.  He was hiding and no one found him.

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