Speak Up For Robin

No joke, on Monday morning, before Robin Williams suicide was announced, I was watering the plants on my patio and thinking about the movie Good Will Hunting #Seriously. I was remembering this line in the movie when Robin Williams character, Sean, tells the character Will about his wife, 

“Those are the things I miss the most Will- the little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about, that’s what made her my wife. She had the goods on me too, she knew all of my little peccadillo’s. People call these things imperfections- they’re not, they’re the good stuff… Your’e not perfect sport and let me save you the suspense, this girl you met, she’s not perfect either. “ 

True that, right?

Oddly enough, suicidal thoughts are the Mac Daddy “idiosyncrasies”, “peccadillos” and “imperfections” that we do not share with anyone. Our culture doesn’t make it easy either when our co-worker makes a joke about needing therapy and when pop-stars poke fun about bipolar disorder. Personally, when I hear someone laugh about mental health, it just sounds like projection. Remember, one in four Americans struggle with depression #JustSayin #ISeeYou.

In my own struggle with depression and an eating disorder, I have learned to share my story and to "get comfortable making people uncomfortable.” Despite the fear of being exposed, I know the end goal of someones life being saved far exceeds my discomfort for a few moments. I try to candidly share my own battles in order to remove the tabooness of it. In the beginning it wasn’t easy, and since I do it on such a public level in the Rewrite Beautiful school programs, it’s really hard to turn off the dialogue. Yet, I keep sharing. Why? Because I know that unless more people start sharing their struggles and stories of survival the people in the thick of that depression are not going to know that there TRULY IS a light at the end of that very dark tunnel. 

The tragedy of suicidal thoughts is that the thought that runs rampant over and over in the person says, “This pain…this struggle…it’s ALWAYS going to be this way. NOTHING can change this.” … And when you’re in it, you believe it. I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it. 

While I went through that very dark time I held on to the stories of those who made it through - I held on for dear LIFE. This is why I tell my story, so that the Adam Lanza’s, the boy who took a gun through the streets of Santa Barbra, the young woman in my young professionals networking circle and the Robin Williams among us stop taking their lives and the lives of others. So that they have some hope to hold on to. 

They say, “No amount of darkness can diminish the smallest amount of light.” The story of how another person got through the pain of depression is the light at the end of that dark tunnel for a person struggling. If you have thrown punches with depression, an eating disorder or any other mental battle, please speak up for Robin and all the other people trapped in pain - PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY. Don’t shy away from that dark chapter. Someone else needs to know that their own dark chapter isn’t the end of the book. You wouldn't be ashamed of surviving cancer. Equally don't be ashamed of surviving a mental illness. I think we can all agree that they are both equal to rockstar status. 

When you feel the whisper to share, BE STRONG - bring it up in conversations, tell your friends what it was like and the resources you used to get through it. You have no idea who might be struggling. For me, It seems that the moment to share arises more often than not. The last three times I shared was on the beach, at a dinner party and in a yoga studio- that was just in the past two weeks. And you know what, none of the people I told asked to switch their seats. In fact, you’d be shocked how many people scooted closer to me and said, 

"Me too." 

"For real?! I like you even more now!”

“Really? Girlfriend, you’re a survivor! Can I hug you?!”

#KeepItReal #SaveLives

Ya know what else? Sharing our stories WORKS. There are people who I have spoken to through Rewrite Beautiful school programs who recognized that their struggle was lethal and then sought help because of it. When I met these people they were depressed, sick and dying. They are now thriving and pursuing their dreams. Your story too can save a life. 

If you loved Robin Williams art, if you're saddened by the loss of him, if depression, mental illness or eating disorders are apart of your own story, use that story to turn a light on at the end of the tunnel for someone. Those idiosyncrasies, those peccadillos, your imperfections those are the things that make you relatable, bring you deeper connection and prove that you're a strong human being. PLEASE SPEAK UP FOR ROBIN. When you do, you will turn on a LIGHT for countless other people. 

You’re Beautiful, 


Irvina Kanarek is the Founder and Rewriter-In-Chief of Rewrite Beautiful, a non-profit organization that creatively changes how girls see beauty in themselves, for eating disorder prevention through education. Irvina is also the author of How To: Rewrite Beautiful- You Can Be A Hot Mess Today And A World Changer Tomorrow. She is a writer on mental health and addiction for CRC Health Care where she previously worked as a support staff counselor in a women’s rehab. You can find Irvina making up hashtag's on Instagram @IrvinaKanarek


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