Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 4 comments

THE PAIN Behind the Funny

The pain behind the funny| Yes, We Rise (Robin Williams death)

On Monday, August 11, 2014 I was in my kitchen, washing dishes, preparing to cook dinner for me and my fiance. I was listening to my Glee Pandora station and I see a text come across my phone… "Robin Williams is dead”. 

My instant reply was, quit playing on my phone. My heart sank as I talked to my fiance and found out it was true, Robin Williams had died. I felt like my childhood once again took a big hit as it did when Michael Jackson died. He was one of my ALL time favorite comics and actors.
The EXTREMELY funny man who appealed to so many, who could be funny and who could be so serious. He was amazing, it was a gift. I am not really a news watcher, it’s rather depressing but on Tuesday, I heard that the cause of Williams’ death was, hanging.
WAIT, WHAT?! OMG, NO, Robin, NO. You never know what people are going through even those who seem to have it all.

You never know what people are going through, what their story is, what the pain behind their smile is. 

In 2011 I was laid off from my job. I was cool with it, I had planned on looking for a new job. I saw this as a new opportunity, a new adventure. But as I looked for work, I was getting no call backs, nothing. Being unemployed plays with your self-esteem and self-worth.
In 2012 we learned while I was still unemployed that my father had cancer and he died less than two months later, my unemployment ran out and I had a job I hated; working retail. I felt I had reached rock bottom. I didn’t know how much more I could take.
Many a night I would lay there thinking how I could end it quickly. But would then feel bad that my brother would have to find my body and being beyond broke left no money to bury me.
Nobody, not even my mother knows this. It's something I kept from everyone. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my pain and suffering. Would pretend to be happy, but it was a big, fat lie. I had happy moments, but it was a dark period in my life. That’s the quick and dirty of what happen to me while being unemployed for 3 out of the past 4 years.
While I cannot say I completely understand and know what is I like to be depressed and want to end it all, I do have a small glimpse into it. One of the things that has been on my heart is to go back to school to get my masters and PhD in psychology, so I can help people and research mental illness and the lack of those seeking help, especially among the African American Community.

As I started to hear and read more, I found out he was depressed. I knew he was an addict and had checked back into rehab a few months ago. But I did not realize he suffered from mental illness. My heart weeps for his family and friends. I am rather hurt and disappointed a lot of the negative comments about mental illness that have been sweeping social media. 

Mental Illness is a real medical condition and people need to get treated for it. 

It is more common that many people think. I have had several friends and even family members who suffer from mental illness. And while you cannot see the sickness outwardly does not mean it does not exist. It seems that many of those we find so funny and entertaining are dying inside. Dealing with pain and demons we know not. Many OD and we just write it off as another junkie who could not take the pressure of fame. But is that what it really is? Or is what makes them so funny is also what is slowing killing them on the inside if they do not seek help? We readily laugh at their pain, Richard Pryor was amazing at making us laugh at his pain, and love them for their humor and their honesty, but clearly it goes deeper than that. And it is not just those who are famous who are battling mental illness. Many of those men and women who fight for our freedom are retuning back suffering from PTSD.


It is sad that mental illness is really only talked about when something tragic like this happens. Whether it is the tragic and untimely death of a celeb or someone(s) who cannot take it anymore and decide not only to kill themselves but want to take others with them, i.e. school shootings, work place killings, etc. As we have so much support for those who have physical illnesses we need to do the same for those who suffer from mental illness. Check up on them, see how they are doing.
You never know when a kind word, a smile, or something small can bring a person back from a dark place. Now that is not to say it’s that easy and will go away. Just with anything else in life, it did not happen overnight so the fix will not come over night.

And my fellow African American, Black folks, my brown beauties, I ask, I beg, I plead with you, do not just “pray” for it to go away. SEEK HELP! There is nothing wrong with asking for help, professional help. Nothing against going to your Pastor and talking to him or her, but there is no harm or shame in seeking out a professional, with papers to back it up, to help see you through. As I call it a little time on the couch. If you are prescribed medication, TAKE IT!!! If it is not working discuss it with your Dr.


My heart and prayers are with the Williams family and friends. I, along with millions of his fans, will mourn him and continue to love him in our hearts. And maybe, just maybe his death can help someone else out of the darkness.

And to Robin… may you be back on Ork, chill’n with Orson….. NANU NANU…..

Be Healthy My Divas…

‘Til Next Time
Love, Peace, and all things Pretty
~The Diva V~


  1. Very well written. You've touched on some points here that I think many need to see. There is someone close to me that has a history of "bad stuff" in her past, and has had a very rough upbringing. All of this is manifested into distrust for others, and other issues. This past summer she finally had some "time on the couch" that she feels has benefitted her, and I'm hopeful that she overcomes her issues.

  2. I watched this show on Monday. I too was at a loss as to why Iyanla was in Ferguson attempting to lead boys and turn them into men. It disturbed me, then I realized that she was expanding on what an overwhelming number of women have been doing for years - taking the responsibility for raising boys in single parent households in the absence of a man...

  3. These are each so useful. I always try to put things in perspective and view them from others' perspective.

  4. Yes, you CAN !!!! Great read and motivational piece. These same principals can easily be applied to an endless number of ventures. There's a lot of money out in these streets..and not only the big labels should be capitalizing off of it..