It sent me into a depression that lasted a few weeks. I wanted to sit in front of the television and immerse myself in every detail and moment of mourning that was taking place all over the world. The thing was, I wasn't the only person who felt such a deep sense of loss for a person who I had never met. The world had made her into this larger than life being, this fairytale princess come to life.
Fast forward 17 years and I have come to understand that fairytales aren't real. As a child I idolized Princess Diana. I created scrapbook upon scrapbook, carefully cutting and pasting pictures of Diana in her latest ball gown or holding a cute little baby prince. I would often imagine what her life must be like, how lovely it must be. Oddly enough, even at such a young age, I believed that her marriage was not a love match. But surely the wealth and privilege must make her so very happy, right? Wrong.
As we now know she was riddled with insecurities. She experienced depression, anxiety and eating disorders. She lived many unhappy days and nights. Her life was certainly not a fairlytale. And this brings me to the late great Robin Williams. If you made the mistake of reading comments on social media you would have seen things like this: "But how could he have killed himself? He had so much - fame, fortune, and love. Such a waste."
And here is something else that I understand and recognize now as the truth: unhappiness, discontent, and insecurities are universal. Mental illness knows no boundaries and it does not discriminate. Are you a princess? A famous Hollywood star? So what. The black dog of depression can lay itself at your feet just as easily as it does at mine.
When I think about Princess Diana today I think about all the good that she did in the world and how she was able to persevere through her difficult times. She left us while still far too young but she also left a legacy to be proud of. She inspired many in this world.
Sadly, Robin Williams seemed unable to win his battle against his illness. I do not consider suicide a weakness or a slefish act as so many others do. I consider it an act taken by a human being who was in such devestating pain that he felt that was his only option. As someone who has experienced deep, dark pain I understand how that might feel and I am certainly not one to judge him - we cannot know exactly what he was feeling.