Yesterday brought the tragic news of the loss of Robin Williams. Having not known him personally, the most difficult part for me (as I imagine so many others) is coming to terms with the loss not only of person he was, but the person I'd created him to be from the patchwork of characters he'd invented. I just kept thinking- "No, John Keating from Dead Poets Society doesn't kill himself, Will Hunting's therapist doesn't kill himself, the Genie doesn't kill himself!" and then I'm faced with the truth, which is that the hero we create is often quite a distance from the spirit that inhabits their bodies. Depression can be like an addiction in that, in the thick of it, it's difficult to know just how to crawl out of the ever deepening pit, but like addiction it's important to create mental weapons for yourself with which to battle with. It's also vital to have people to reach out to that can bring you down, give you perspective and help pull you out of the pit. I recently created a slogan that says "despair is a thief that shall steal our days no longer", never forget that it's also a liar- trying to convince us that the fight's not worth it. But it is. We lost a brilliant, kind, generous person who gave the world so many different people to love and cherish and learn from- I only wish he knew he was one of them. Maybe he did. Only he and his close loved ones will ever be able to answer the questions filling all of our minds with any degree of certainty. For us though, the ones left picking up the pieces of a childhood dream of who this man was and how he made us feel- strong, safe- as though we could fly like Peter Pan, we're only left with that strange hollow feeling that something is missing now. Sometimes the heroes, the ones we count on, they need help too. It's in those moments that we receive their greatest gift, the realization that we have the strength to rescue them back. That all along, we had the power to be knights in shining armor ourselves. And in the times we fail to, we must know that there are still ways to be of service- I've worked with some wonderful organizations that help to prevent suicide. ImAlive.org and HFTD.org are both great. You can also visit Suicidepreventionlifeline.org to see how to help as well. One thing seems certain though, we may have lost the man who created them, we haven't lost what he created. The roles that gave so many joy and hope and endless laughs- they're still with us, still part of us, still rescuing us. And they always will be. "O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won."