The pursuit of happiness

News of Robin Williams’ suicide was shocking, heartbreaking and incredibly sad. You mourn for his tortured soul, which hopefully is now at peace. But on a personal level, his self-inflicted death was also terrifying.

When you think “depression,” Robin Williams does not come to mind. He was a multi-millionaire with a beautiful wife, three normal, well-behaved kids (no small feat growing up Hollywood), and a sprawling estate in beautiful Northern California. Yet Robin Williams was consumed by depression, and the disease ultimately killed him.

If he couldn’t handle the pressure, what chance do I have? Can you see why I’m terrified?

Everybody struggles with mental health on some level. We crave love, attention and intimacy, whether physical, emotional or both. We crave happiness. But such things are not always easily achievable.

You come to a point sometimes where you wonder if all the pain, stress and struggles of life are “worth it.” When you’re deep in the throes of depression, suicide seems like a logical decision. Not an easy or light-hearted decision, but logical. When life stops delivering joy, it’s logical to want to end it.

The pursuit of happiness can be exhausting, especially when you don’t know exactly what it is you’re looking for. What I’ve learned, however, is that at a certain point you need to stop the pursuit. Instead of chasing happiness, you need to stop and embrace it.

Don’t postpone happiness. Life will not magically get better if “only you got that raise,” or if “only you had a new car.” Happiness comes from within, and you can discover it now.

Life is a gift and a privilege, but some of us need the occasional reminder.