Henry Rollins to Robin Williams: 'How the Hell Could You Do That to Your Children?!"

"F--k suicide," the vocalist shouts in lengthy post.

Ultimate Guitar

In the latest edition of his LA Weekly column, Henry Rollins addressed the suicide of actor Robin Williams, saying that despite all the possible circumstances, he simply cannot understand it.

"Days after Robin Williams died, I kept seeing his face on the Internet. His death seemed to have a momentum of its own. It went from a sad death of a famous person to 'a nation mourns' pitch, which I didn't quite understand," the vocalist kicked off, further explaining how he understands "why people feel Williams' loss so intensely."

Remembering some of the actor's finest performances, Rollins noted that "as far as I was concerned, he was a good man."

"But it's here where I step off the train," he continued. "I am sure some will strongly disagree with what I'm about to say. And I also understand that his personal struggles were quite real. I can't argue with that.

"But I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves.

"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.

"I know some people will disagree. And I get that you can’t understand anyone else's torment. All that 'I feel your pain' stuff is bullsh--t 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.

"Everyone handles their emotional vicissitudes in their own ways. I am no doctor, but I think the brain is always looking for a sense of balance and normal function so the body can operate efficiently. Some people medicate accordingly, in an attempt to stay somewhat even. That pursuit can lead one down some dark paths. Someone who is an addict might not be an 'addict' in the pejorative sense but merely trying to medicate and balance themselves."

The vocalist further added, "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 distain. 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.

Sharing a personal experience, Henry noted, "A few years ago, a guy I'd known for many years hanged himself in a basement. Weeks later, I went to the spot and picked up bits of plastic coating from the cord he used, which were on the floor after he was cut down. I liked the guy, but all I could think of then is all I can think of now - the drawings his kids had made that were pasted up on the walls of his kitchen.

"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.

"F--k suicide," Rollins concluded. "Life isn't anything but what you make it. For all the people who walked from the grocery store back to their house, only to be met by a robber who shot them in the head for nothing — you gotta hang in there.

"I have life by the neck and drag it along. Rarely does it move fast enough. Raw Power forever."

131 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Sometimes suicidal people just need someone to talk to
    Suicidal people ALWAYS need someone to talk to. Sadly, suicidal people also have only one thing on their minds, and it isn't finding someone to talk to.
    Umm he had a wife who was apparently his best friend too?
    Christ you're ignorant...
    I'm alone all day every day. I would love to have a wife. He gets everything and still moans. I would gladly swap situations with him any day.
    By that logic, you have no right to be upset about your situation because there's someone with a worse situation somewhere.
    And by the same string of logic, he shouldn't be happy because there's always someone out there who has it better than you
    What you may not realize is that, while you would be happy with Robin's life, he wasn't. Not everyone is happy with their own situation, and being rich or successful or attractive or smart or funny or talented, none of these things mean anything to someone who doesn't want them. Someone who is rich might just want to be talented, someone who is talented might just want to be rich, etc. So the problem is, no matter how many blessings you have, some people can't cope with the thing that they need most that they do not, or even can not have. I myself have to deal with this problem. I won't go into details but I have had many blessings and I am often happy for them but there's a problem in the back of my mind that prevents me from being truly happy, that there is no solution to. It's sad but I'll live with it, because I also agree with Henry Rollins that you just don't give up on life.
    And most people get to that point because they don't have anyone to talk to, or have been abandoned by their friends/family.
    Many times ,suicidal people fell greatly misunderstood as well.Its not something easily perceived actualy.Take for instance every individual case of it,it varies and is not the same with every person.Theres something in life that they arent receiving and it could be simple or complex or neither.I think its a certain lack of balance within the individual,sometimes its on a more innate level and is the hardest to overcome,which makes it almost totaly misunderstood by everyone altogether.
    That's the main problem, in my opinion. Most suicidal people don't advertise it (and don't get me started on people who whine constantly. I honestly don't care if I end up being wrong about one or two, but people who bitch and moan out loud and often cause me to "not take them seriously, anymore"), or even talk to anyone. You honestly have to get close to the person and catch them with their guard down--that's how you distinguish the truly depressed people in your life. You have to be observant and you have to understand which of these people have support systems and which don't. You can't help everyone, but you can figure out who doesn't have enough help. Intense depression can come from so many different places, and I don't think Rollins realizes that.
    You have any idea how hard it is to say: Hey, I want to die. Let alone explain to people why you want to die. Most people don't understand and end up only making it worse saying stuff like rollins. When you have a problem you need to talk to people who had the same issues or an expert.
    Plus, you know it will bring in all kinds of attention, which is something depressed people absolutely do not want (at least in my experience).
    That statement is absolute bullshit. My best friend before he was on mood stabilizers had depression, and he felt most isolated and around when he was surrounded by people who cared about him.
    Okay, he needs to shut his stupid mouth. Or fingers, whatever. No one who doesn't suffer from intense depression has any right to judge someone who does. (I don't, but my wife does, and we knew two people who took their own lives due to intense untreated depression, each leaving kids behind) The first thing you have to realize is that they are not rational, and they are not themselves when they do something awful like this. This is not a decision they made logically. It's a struggle you can't possibly fathom. You don't understand it? Then why don't you get informed or ask someone what it's like instead of putting more grief on those grieving.
    I suffered from intense depression for a six month period and that was one of the worst feelings I've ever felt. But despite how miserable I felt just being alive, I never once considered suicide cause I knew it'd just be making everyone who cared about me feel the same misery. In that sense, I don't dismiss everything that Rollins says here. Depression may be overwhelming but it doesn't strip people entirely of their free will. Robin Williams simply chose the path to end his suffering, compared to others who chose to hang on
    "Depression may be overwhelming but it doesn't strip people entirely of their free will." I may just be playing devil's advocate, but what if there are instances where it does? Though it may not have affected you to the point of suicide, I don't doubt that it could affect other people in that way, especially if they've been dealing with it for years. The severity of a disease can vary from case to case. "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." That's why I find this comment of Rollins' rather contradictory. If he admits that depression cannot be understood, then how can he pass judgment on the result of someone's depression?
    Well I don't know how bad other people have it. Mine was horrible enough that I was losing parts of my sanity and imagining inanimate objects being alive and having feelings. Couldn't even walk on grass out of the delusion I was hurting it by doing so. I didn't have control over my mind entirely but I always had that enough to stop me ending my own life cause I knew it didn't just belong to me, it belonged to everyone around me too
    Uhhhhh...that's not depression dude, that's more like insanity
    I was already diagnosed with depression before that. Could've been a result of it, coulda been happening at the same time. Either way, it only made it worse. Plus you didn't suffer it so I don't need you telling me what I did and didn't have
    Peoples experiences with depression vary greatly... Lets not forget, you dealt with it for six months. Robin Williams had been bearing that cross for a much longer period of time.
    Depression isn't something that you just get over. Depression is something you deal with your whole life. I'm pretty sure you just had a case of the blues. In most cases of severe depression, it does strip you of your free will. You cannot control yourself. You want to feel better and you want to do things but you can't. The illness takes control of your life and, sometimes, ends up taking your life.
    The thing about depression is that when it's actually clinical and not just some teenager going through typical teenager-y mood swings it is by it's very definition a "mental illness". It is something that takes away all of your reason and replaces it with sadness. While it doesn't seem rational to us to leave your family and the world grieving because of of personal hardships, we don't understand those hardships. With depression, there is no talking sense into yourself or reasoning with yourself. There's only the crippling sadness.
    It's really bad how you see teenagers just going through the motions self diagnosing themselves with clinical depression, I understand that sometimes they are but 99% of the time it's someone glamourising it like if you actually had it you wouldn't put it in your twitter bio. Sorry not really related to your comment.
    "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." Jesus Christ what an ignorant statement, One of my close friends had depression, he had a pretty good life, nice home, nice father, nice car, money, good school. but had depression, he ended up killing himself because of his inability to feel any sort of joy, or happiness which went on for years and years Was that his fault? was that just him "blowing it?", not everyone can just "choose" to be happy. That's now how it ****ing works. Lost a LOT of respect for this man just now.
    I don't think Rollins has a grasp of what depression can do to a person...
    well he's an over arrogant jackass, what do you expect, go look up his 80s interviews, total jackass.
    Rollins fan here, gotta disagree with him big time on this one. I think you really have to have walked in a depressed person's shoes to understand what it can do to you. This word "selfish" should never be used with suicide. People don't want to die, they feel like they have no other choice. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Robin Williams felt that down to his bones he had become a burden on his wife and children and would so further with his disease. Suicidal people often feel like the world will be better off without them and while that may sound like a whiny teenage mentality to some, just try that thought out for a while and see how you feel...it isn't nice.
    He is absolutely right. His family needed him. When life drags you down, YOU FIGHT YOUR WAY THROUGH.
    We all have our opinions, but we can't judge or understand those people who have taken their own lives, cause each of those lost battles have been extremely difficult and vastly different. We can resent, love, miss or hate those people. Sometimes we can feel all of those feelings at the same time. But we should always remember, that their battles are finally over and it's time to let them finally find their peace.
    I have depression and I agree with Rollins. When you have kids, their well-being should become more important than your own.
    No, no and f*cking NO! Robin Williams did not "choose" to kill himself, depression killed Robin Williams. If you haven't suffered from depression, you will not understand what it's like no matter how hard you try and don't you dare try to rationalise a depressed man's suicide. I've seen it all over the internet; "Why would he kill himself? He was rich, had a family, others have it worse", blah blah blah. Depression is an illness with no rhyme nor reason, NEVER say "others have it worse", do you know how sh*tty that feels? Between Gene Simmons and Henry Rollins, f*ck the both of you.
    Fuck you. He decided to kill himself. No two ways about it.
    When I say "If you don't understand depression, don't comment on it", I f*cking mean it. The suicidally depressed aren't exactly capable of rational thought when it comes to taking their own lives, it shocks me that I even need to explain that much.
    Doesn't change the fact that it was selfish to ditch his kids. If he wanted real pain he should try going to a concentration camp.
    Such a stupid statement to make. Gene Simmons used this excuse and failed horribly. Robin Williams suffered from depression for years. You can't possibly understand how horrible of a disease it is unless you've suffered from it yourself. I don't see how anyone can sit on their high horse and make the same claim you and Mr. Simmons made.
    I've suffered from depression for 5 years and still do its horrible but i dont think ending your life is the answer
    The Spoon
    And yet, every case of depression is unique because every mind is unique...mentally and biologically. I'm glad you don't feel the need to consider suicide, that's really great, but someone else may feel differently because it's all individual. Many things are at play here.
    I have suffered from depression and I'm tired of reading this bullshit everywhere. He DID choose to kill himself. Depression is not an uncontrollable demon that makes choices for you, I have depression. I actively make the choice not to kill myself on a regular basis, because I care about the people who love me. "Insightful" crap like this just gives everyone an excuse to just go ahead and do it. Everyone I know who defends this argument doesn't battle depression and just agree's with stupid articles that are being "empathetic" to those of us with it. Give someone an excuse and they'll abuse it, so plead with someone that what they're doing when they attempt suicide as though it isn't wrong they're just going to kill themselves. Letting someone know you care, and them removing themselves is wasteful, and selfish is not wrong because they know you care and it greatly upsets you.
    "But I simply cannot understand how any parent could kill themselves." Ahh, humans... Looks like it's the old "I cannot understand it and therefore it makes me mad."
    I am bi-polar. I often think of suicide during my dark months of the year. But what keeps me going is my family. I know that no matter what I think of myself, my family loves me and wants me to be ok. Their love gives me the courage to see tomorrow. I could never inflict on them that kind of pain. I agree with what Rollins said.
    Gene Simmons was an a-----e with his comment. This dude however has a point.
    Thank you Henry Rollins, know-it-all of everything, including clinical psychology. How the f*ck did the world ever get by without you around to dispense such wise anecdotes and knowledge about everything?
    This guy obviously knows nothing of clinical depression. Having been diagnosed with this, I can tell you that you are not in your right mind when you have suicidal thoughts. In fact, when I had the thoughts I thought so little of myself that I actually believed that taking my own life would be the best thing that could happen to those around me. Yes, they would be sad, but they would be better for it. Obviously, that's ridiculous. But when you get that low in your life, whether by circumstance or clinical depression, your mind does not work the same way a normal persons brain works. This guy is obviously an uneducated tw**. Any respect I had for him is lost.
    He is absolutely right. His family needed him. When life drags you down, YOU FIGHT YOUR WAY THROUGH.
    oh yeah because it's just that easy when you're suffering from depression so much that the only viable option to you is to end your own life. why are you so ignorant?!
    I know plenty of people with depression who stayed for their kids.
    every case is different...You don't know how everyone's mind works. Just because you have seen people who have fought through it for some reason, it doesn't mean everyone can. He's been fighting it for years as well. I've seen depression take lives, and I've seen people who have managed to get through. Actually I've seen a fair share of people who have suffered from depression. The thing is though, they all had different reactions to the illness. Not one was exactly the same
    HE HAD FUCKING PARKINSONS! His children would have just watched their father suffer and waste away even more on top of his depression and his issues with addiction. I wouldn't wish that on my parents nor would I fault them for taking their life in that situation.
    What Rollins is missing is that Robin Williams was not acting rationally. He was at the stage of depression where there's no logical thought. It wasn't Robin Williams - the sane, caring, sensible one - who killed himself. You can't impose moral reasoning on someone who wasn't thinking straight; who literally couldn't think straight at that time.
    'DC fan
    I think people need to really understand depression before making these kinda comments, it's not like you can just wake up and be cured
    Whilst I would usually side with and defend Henry Rollins (mostly because his interviews are taken out of context), I've gotta say that I disagree with him on this one. Unless you're clinically depressed, you can't really make a proper judgement. I'm sure Robin would've taken his family into consideration before making his move, but his depression was so bad that he felt that this was the only way he could end his own suffering.
    He didn't "do it" to anyone. He was sick, and irrational. There is no rational intention in that state.
    Hey y'all, truth of it all is that despite the amount of butthurt flowing from you, and despite the extreme sympathy I feel toward Robin Williams, Rollins has a point, and if you can't understand it, you're jackasses. You can disagree, but you must make room for the fact that some people feel like suicide is a weakness. Not disregarding the pain of people suffering with depression, but many people who suffered with it feel that life is always better than death, if not for them at least for their families.
    Once all of you have children you will understand. When you make the decision to take your own life you are giving in. Not going to say to what but you are giving in. Stop this bullshit of feeling sorry for people when they tap out. They people you hurt are FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOURSELF. Once you die its done.....but others will live their entire existence thinking they could have helped you. In other words your pain is only temporary, theirs will last a life time. SELFISH
    You said it yourself Henry. You can't understand another persons depression. I personally wanted to die every day for years when I was depressed but I didn't because I knew it was selfish of me...but there's a breaking point...sometimes you just can't take it anymore. Sometimes people have to let go before they go insane but regardless, rest in peace Robin...you were a great man and I wish you were still here
    I fully agree with what Henry says and everyone who hates him for it needs to either read the article or get over themselves.
    Since when did this no-talent @ss clown become the Poet Laureate of punk? Black Flag was OK, but his solo stuff was far beyond awful. He thinks everything he says is so important, but all I remember is "Liar" and what a gawdawful mess it was. EAD.
    Sleaze Disease
    I see nothing wrong with what Henry is saying; as usual, he hits the nail right on the head.
    You don't know what depression's like, do you? At least your name seems apt.
    I no longer take this person seriously
    I think he's right in a way. Suicide is never the answer and if u don't want to live for yourself. Live for your kids.
    I've had this thought before. I think parents committing suicide is a selfish and unfair act.
    Selfish? Go ahead and act like you don't have a breaking point, tough guy. It's selfish to want someone to suffer so you can benefit from their existence.
    I think both your viewpoint and Rollins' are a little insufficient (not that Rollins failed to make his case - I think I get his stance). The whole concept of 'living for somebody else' is not something that everybody can do. I don't have kids, I don't want kids, and I've based some of the bigger decisions in my life on avoiding putting myself in a position where there was even the slightest risk I might wind up with kids. I really view having children as 'living for somebody else'. I'm not stating that as fact, just as my perspective. And it's not an uncommon perspective. It's a pretty awesome thing that for most people, merely being a part of their childrens' lives is enough. But it's not the case for everybody, and it's likely less the case for people who are in their sixties, battling depression, have a history of substance abuse, whose children are all independent adults, and have recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease. You're not a dick for taking the stance you take. You're just blessedly ignorant, and for your sake I hope you remain ignorant.
    that guy is a dick. a little respect for the dead please. if you want to debate depression, don't do it dancing on somebody's grave.
    He isn't "dancing on somebody's grave" he is stating an opinion that he has on a very serious subject. What happened in this country that we cannot state an opinion, well researched on not, and leave it at that. He has respect for the dead, just not in the way they entered that realm. Did you even read it?
    Are you responding to the headline? Or did you read the actual quote? Not that there isn't stuff in there to debate about, but he lays out his stance in a way that is, at very least, thoughtful.
    i got shot in the chest while playing my guitar one day about three years ago and the bullet hit my spine and paralyzed me from my chest down, i will probably be in a chair for the rest of my life and with chronic pain that might never cease and the idiot who shot me got a away with it because his mom works for the county prosecuter and his bro is a lawyer and it happened in a small town.....but i have thought about suicide every day since and want this miserable existence to end but i really do believe that if i killed my self then that really is the ultimate failure and i probably would have to start this whole shitty life over and do it again. i'd say i got it much worse than robin and i will persevere **** death, but i like death the band!
    When it comes to mental illness and suicide, logic and rational thought are pretty much completely absent from the mind of whoever it is who's suffering. This is why Robin's actions will seem like such a mystery to a lot of those who are fortunate enough to have never gone through this kind of disease.
    Dr. Genitals
    Saying he chose to kill himself because he was depressed is like saying people with cancer choose to die because they don't want to be sick any more. Amazing what things people will say when they know nothing about what they're talking about
    chyld fan
    is this guy even relevant anymore????? who cares what he thinks , Maybe he needs to bite the bullet, why are these has-beens even commenting on things, that they have never dealt w/?
    I understand Henry's point completely, because suicide unfortunately leaves people to suffer with the loss, but suicide is never something someone *does* to other people. I'm not comparing having a deadly illness to depression, because one has a definite outcome and one can (possibly) be overcome. A decision for euthanasia is one made with careful consideration and logic, whereas killing yourself as a result of depression is the furthest thing from logical or reasoned. It's flawed, damaged thinking. But in the mind of the person suffering, both can equally seem insurmountable and impossible to live with, and we can only judge the person's decision as the ones who are left behind. Even Robin's family can only gauge their own pain and loss, and that's what people are really dealing with when they come out against suicide. As far as those who would kick a guy after he's down, how funny is it that a guy you're superior to was a more giving, generous, and well loved person that you'll ever be? And that's ignoring fame. How many people suffering from severe depression give their time to help others; how many of you supposedly happy people can be bothered to get off your ass and help anyone who doesn't serve your immediate interests?? Fuck his career, he was a genuinely good dude. Get over yourself. You didn't kill yourself, you don't have severe depression, so how do you manage to still be a waste of space?
    I find it strange that people blame those who commit suicide. I see people that commit suicide more as victims, not as offenders. I'm sure nobody just decides to commit a suicide. People who commit a suicide have usually suffered for a long time. And when living in this world is nothing but pain and they can't take it any more, suicide seems like the only option. Of course I don't want anybody to commit a suicide. But I think some people just don't understand how bad somebody can feel and start blaming him for being "selfish".
    Go to Youtube and look up "The Death of Joe Cole", that will put some context to what Henry is saying here.
    The thing I question is, is it really worth that much to him to make such a public announcement about his thoughts on something entirely not to do with him? Has he changed anything by spouting his view? Really?
    I was really depressed for awhile, but you can get over it. You need people to talk to. When I was at my lowest, having some people to talk with helped tremendously. I started analyzing why I felt this way and what I can do to help. Workout, accomplish things, become a better you and it can help. I can't speak for everybody, but it talked me out of doing something stupid and hope others get the help they need to live positively.
    By being angry, essentially what you are doing is asking the person to continue to suffer because you're so selfish and you don't want to be sad by their death.
    Screw this guy. Just trying to be relevant again by being controversial. Gene Simmons tried and failed miserably.
    I simply cannot understand why stars open their mouths when they know that what they say is going to cause a sh*tstorm
    Rollins has always been a prat. Is he just saying this to maintain his "tough guy" image? ****ing insensitive asshat.
    Well, your life is yours so you decide when to finish it.
    Your life is yours and it isn't. It belongs to the world you live in just like the world around you belongs to you. You are a part that world and it is a part of you. IT needs you to live and to be healthy. Depression is a mental illness. It happens in someone's mind and doesn't reflect the reality of the world. When you are able to see your depressive feelings for what they are, lies created by your illness to banalize your self-esteem, you can control your thoughts. It isn't easy. It never is. But it is worth doing. There is always a tomorrow and it takes courage to see what it will bring.
    look, i get a little bummed when certain celebrities die especially robin williams. he was a huge part of my childhood. growing up i watched mrs doubtfire and such hundreds of times, but i will never understand these people who act like there dad died. i never knew the guy, i don't pretend or act like i did. at the end of the day robin williams was an entertainer. i know him strictly through movies, standup and entertainment. stop acting like you know these people on personal levels. you don't! its ok to be bummed but you have no idea about the details of their personal lives outside of their work. they are just humans like all of us, not gods. they were not your best friend and they don't even know your name or face so get over it!
    Dr Funkenstein
    Henry who? D!ckhead nullified right there.
    Let's all give Mr. Rollins a big round of applause. Why? Because he aptly demonstrated why the mental health community needs to educate the general public more on what depression is and how it can affect people.