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Henry Rollins Blasts Robin Williams for What He Did to His Children

Posted by on Aug. 23, 2014 at 8:29 AM
  • 17 Replies

Henry Rollins Blasts Robin Williams for What He Did to His Children

by Michele Zipp

henry rollinsLast week Gene Simmons of KISS apologized after making some harsh statements about depression and suicide -- two weeks before Robin Williams' death. They were insensitive, essentially saying to those suffering from depression that the world is harsh and to deal with it or just kill yourself. After Williams' passing, Simmons apologized for what he said, hopefully realizing that those facing depression need support to get help and do not deserve to be harshly criticized. Sadly, another celebrity rock star has made some new comments on depression, this time directly attacking Robin Williams.

Henry Rollins slammed Williams for what he did to his children when he ended his life. He also added that he no longer takes anything Williams did seriously.

Rollins' post titled "Fuck Suicide" is the latest installment in his column for LA Weekly. I agree with the title -- fuck suicide, indeed. And cancer. And war. And all the terrible things that happen in this world. Fuck it all. I wish it didn't exist. I also appreciate all of what Rollins writes at the start of his article. He praises Williams' work, calls him a good man. And then he says what so many are thinking, the unpopular critique. In true Rollins style. He writes that he "cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves."

As a parent, I (somewhat) understand what he's trying to say -- we need to be there for our children. But Rollins is forgetting the complexities of depression. He wrote:

How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well adjusted your kid might be — choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself. 

Don't kill yourself. I wish it was that simple for those suffering. But it's not that simple. Williams' children are suffering, no doubt, but they don't need this pain on top of it. Rollins continues:

And I get that you can’t understand anyone else’s torment. All that “I feel your pain” stuff is bullshit and disrespectful. You can appreciate it, listen and support someone as best you can, but you can’t understand it. Depression is so personal and so unique to each of us that when you’re in its teeth, you think you invented it. You can understand your own, but that’s it. When you are severely depressed, it can be more isolating than anything else you have ever experienced. In trying to make someone understand, you can only speak in approximation. You are truly on your own.

So he gets it, somewhat. He understands, I think. He talks of a friend's suicide next and then comes down hard:

I get it, but then again, maybe I don’t. When someone negates their existence, they cancel themselves out in my mind. I have many records, books and films featuring people who have taken their own lives, and I regard them all with a bit of disdain. When someone commits this act, he or she is out of my analog world. I know they existed, yet they have nullified their existence because they willfully removed themselves from life. They were real but now they are not.  I no longer take this person seriously. I may be able to appreciate what he or she did artistically but it’s impossible to feel bad for them. Their life wasn’t cut short — it was purposely abandoned. It’s hard to feel bad when the person did what they wanted to. It sucks they are gone, of course, but it’s the decision they made. I have to respect it and move on. 

I can't help but think that sounds so heartless. Is he trying some kind of bully tactic to talk people out of suicide? Yes, we have to move on. But I'm not sure it's as simple as saying that a person who committed suicide abandoned their life. Depression is a a griping mental health issue -- many who suffer feel abandonment, they don't want to abandon their life, they feel their life abandoned them. It's complex and as Rollins said, unique to every individual who suffers. He seems angry -- he tends to often. And death does bring out anger, but he also sounds cold. Rollins ends his post by writing: "Almost 40,000 people a year kill themselves in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In my opinion, that is 40,000 people who blew it." I disagree. Our healthcare system blew it. Our lack of compassion blew it. That is 40,000 people who needed help, the kind of help they didn't get. The kind of help we all need to offer those in need. The kind of help that those who suffer shouldn't be afraid to ask for. But they are. Because of how we don't recognize the illness. By callously saying you don't understand those whose commit suicide, that they blew it, is dismissing the illness. Saying you don't take anything the person who died did seriously and how you don't know how they did that to their children is perpetuating the problem. I just can't agree with Rollins' remarks in this case.

What do you think of what Rollins said?

Do you think suicide is selfish?

Please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in case you are worried about yourself, or someone else.

by on Aug. 23, 2014 at 8:29 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Bleacheddecay
by Gold Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM
1 mom liked this

I do think suicide is very selfish and very harmful to your kids.

That being said, I think there are times when we should be able to let go of life without hurting others. I wish this was something you could do. If I had a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer's I'd want to take myself out before I lost the mind to do it rather than suffer and have everyone that care about me suffer for YEARS. I think that's logical.

And I don't know Williams situation but I promise you he hurt his kids over and over again with his disease. He didn't want to probably but knowing that disease he most likely did. If he suffered for 20 years or 63 years I can see letting go even though it makes me angry and it makes it more likely some of his loved ones might also commit suicide.

I have a child and a mother who is depressed. It's hard living each day in fear of what they might do. How they might actively or passively hurt themselves or others. I am absolutely committed to living a joyful life regardless somehow.

Maddie24
by Gold Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM
3 moms liked this

 I know that depression is a liar, depression tells you that you cannot go on, it tells you no one else cares, it can tell you that suicide is your only option.  Depression - the illness - can cause a person to believe these lies.  That being said - is suicide selfish?  Of course it is selfish to hurt people that you love and to leave such a void in the lives of your children, spouse and those that love you.  I believe it is unnecessary and cruel to criticize others for an illness in which they have no control.  What do we really know about the path Robin walked?  What do we really know about the impact of the illness on his choices?  How are such critical statements impacting the mourning family left behind?  I believe Unless a person is without blemish - then they best not cast stones.  I am sure the family did not need Rollins commentary.  I would not dare judge what happened.  There is enough pain in the world without adding to it.  I hope Robin is at rest and his family can find a place of peace to move forward with their lives.

.Holly.
by Gold Member on Aug. 23, 2014 at 11:53 PM
1 mom liked this
Beautifully said, I couldn't have said it better myself. I agree 100%!

Quoting Maddie24:

 I know that depression is a liar, depression tells you that you cannot go on, it tells you no one else cares, it can tell you that suicide is your only option.  Depression - the illness - can cause a person to believe these lies.  That being said - is suicide selfish?  Of course it is selfish to hurt people that you love and to leave such a void in the lives of your children, spouse and those that love you.  I believe it is unnecessary and cruel to criticize others for an illness in which they have no control.  What do we really know about the path Robin walked?  What do we really know about the impact of the illness on his choices?  How are such critical statements impacting the mourning family left behind?  I believe Unless a person is without blemish - then they best not cast stones.  I am sure the family did not need Rollins commentary.  I would not dare judge what happened.  There is enough pain in the world without adding to it.  I hope Robin is at rest and his family can find a place of peace to move forward with their lives.

.Holly.
by Gold Member on Aug. 24, 2014 at 1:15 AM
1 mom liked this

Just read this:


An Apology

08-22-14

August 22 2014

2016 PST

For the last 9+ hours, I have been answering letters from people from all over the world. The anger is off the scale and in my opinion, well placed.

The article I wrote in the LA Weekly about suicide caused a lot of hurt. This is perhaps one of the bigger understatements of all time. I read all the letters. Some of them were very long and the disappointment, resentment and ringing clarity was jarring.

That I hurt anyone by what I said, and I did hurt many, disgusts me. It was not at all my intent but it most certainly was the result.

I have had a life of depression. Some days are excruciating. Knowing what I know and having been through what I have, I should have known better but I obviously did not. I get so mad when I hear that someone has died this way. Not mad at them, mad at whatever got them there and that no one magically appeared to somehow save them.

I am not asking for a break from the caning, take me to the woodshed as much as you see fit. If what I said has caused you to be done with me, I get it.

I wrote something for the LA Weekly that they will post on Monday.

I wanted to get this out at this moment.

I am deeply sorry. Down to my marrow. I can’t think that means anything to you, but I am. Completely sorry. It is not of my interest to hurt anyone but I know I did. Thank you for reading this. Henry

skrbelly
by Member on Aug. 24, 2014 at 2:39 AM
1 mom liked this
Oh, and I love HR. But I love Robin Williams more. You can't judge another person's pain.
LadySaphira
by Lisa on Aug. 24, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I have mixed feeling on it.

I have never been so down the depths of despair that I have thought about killing myself so I cannot judge what depression does to a person personally. Maybe to the depressed person, they are being altruistic by freeing those they love from the burden of having them around. Maybe the depression skews their way of thinking so deeply that at that point in time, they are unable to think about the consequences their actions will have on others. If it is like that, no, I do not think it is selfish. I think it is tragic for all involved.

If it is someone kills themselves to avoid going to prison for a crime they committed or because they got caught doing something that would lower their "status" in the eyes of their peers, it is selfish.


louannwilkins
by Louann on Aug. 24, 2014 at 7:35 PM
1 mom liked this

Very well said!!  :)

Quoting Maddie24:

 I know that depression is a liar, depression tells you that you cannot go on, it tells you no one else cares, it can tell you that suicide is your only option.  Depression - the illness - can cause a person to believe these lies.  That being said - is suicide selfish?  Of course it is selfish to hurt people that you love and to leave such a void in the lives of your children, spouse and those that love you.  I believe it is unnecessary and cruel to criticize others for an illness in which they have no control.  What do we really know about the path Robin walked?  What do we really know about the impact of the illness on his choices?  How are such critical statements impacting the mourning family left behind?  I believe Unless a person is without blemish - then they best not cast stones.  I am sure the family did not need Rollins commentary.  I would not dare judge what happened.  There is enough pain in the world without adding to it.  I hope Robin is at rest and his family can find a place of peace to move forward with their lives.


rosebud727
by Rose on Aug. 24, 2014 at 9:40 PM

We just don't know what troubles people have and what motivates them to end their lives.

It has been said many times that our greatest talents, be it a painter, writer or brilliant comedian often times have a dark side that you and I just cannot comprehend.

I don't believe it's selfish because at that moment in time that person has lost all hope and grasp on life and what matters.

Its terribly sad, and yes those left behind are the ones who will suffer.

caro100
by Carol on Aug. 25, 2014 at 12:41 AM

i do think suicide is selfish.  I do think what Rollins has said has a harsh truth to it.  We want to be politically correct which is to be sympathetic to the person, but he is right when he says when you have children you give up that choice.  It's like when you have kids you give up the right to sleeping till noon. it is just the way it is.  Still I almost feel like I have lost a friend and I am angry with him.  How dare he do this,  he was one of the bright stars of the movie world and of the whole world, he set a great example of living life and giving back, but now what?  He kind of sanctions suicide.  People will say well Rob Williams did, so it must be okay.

momofthree0429
by Member on Aug. 25, 2014 at 6:32 AM
First Let Me Say That I Come From THE Direction Of Having A Mother Who Attempted Suicide Too Many Times For Me To Count. And my, at the time 16 year old daughter has been in in patient treatment for suicidal tendency and an attempt.

That being said, it is selfish. Usually the person thinKS the world is better off without them. Not understanding that while they have taken the easy way out, we are left to pick the pieces up, to deal with the guilt and the feeling of not being a big enough reason for them to live.

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