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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Regarding Robin Williams...

It was a grim irony that last night, when Dad told me that the news had just broke that Robin Williams was dead, I was working on my book and the chapter on suicide.

I haven't blogged very much lately.  It's because I've been devoting myself to writing my book about bipolar.  I'm going to take time to post some more fun stuff soon (we do have the return of Doctor Who coming up after all).  But this is something that put a lot on my heart and I was feeling led to get it out of me and into a blog post this morning.

Robin Williams was a huge part of my childhood and adolescence years and then on through early adulthood.  He may have had the widest spectrum of acting talent of our generation.  Good Morning Vietnam comes especially to mind: an amazing display of Williams' repertoire with comedy and drama.  Dead Poets Society and Awakenings solidified his dramatic presence.  Later on in his career he pulled off some astoundingly dark work, in such films as One Hour Photo and Insomnia.  But it was always his comedic work that will be remembered most.  Just as an aside, when our local theatre guild was mounting its production of Peter Pan earlier this summer, I had Steven Spielberg's Hook playing in the background often as I worked on my book and other projects.  If Peter Pan was going to be portrayed as a grown-up, there was virtually nobody else who could have pulled that off than Robin Williams.

The man was an engine of innovation and creativity.  And now it looks like the price to pay for that was only too high.

Depression is something that unless you have it, you can't understand it. And I have not met anyone with it who has wished depression on anybody else, for however brief a time, just so they can "get" what this is like.  I have also never met anyone with depression who seriously wanted to die.  I don't think Robin Williams wanted to die either.  He was just trying not to feel the absence of feeling.  I know that doesn't make sense to some, but those with depression will understand all too well.

1 out of 5 people - at least - with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide and too many will succeed.  I am one of those who has tried, though I didn't realize it at the time that it's what I meant to do.  I was just wanting there to be an end to the pain.  What caused me to fail in that attempt?  That's something I'm writing about in my book right now.  It's something that I'm still exploring, actually.  In a very horrible way I was trying to feel something, as opposed to wanting to escape life completely.

Winston Churchill had depression: he called it his "black dog". I have a name for my own depression: "the dark fountain". It erupts when I am manic. It erupts worse when I'm depressed.  It smothers and suffocates and leaves you desperate for the tiniest breath of hope.  And when there is no hope you become desperate to escape, and more often than not it's without any real understanding of what it is that you are doing.

I know.  I've been there.

This is something that can't be "switched off" and medication often BARELY keeps it in check.

With someone as creative and passionate as Robin Williams, I can only imagine the intensity of his depression.

Just some thoughts that I'm having this morning.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family.


Anonymous said...

Well said Chris. I definitely was curious as to your view of this sad incident.

As a happier aside, have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet?

Chris Knight said...

Guardians of the Galaxy is the best movie I've seen all summer! It was just a big fun ride from start to finish. And it had an abundawonderful soundtrack!! :-)

Anonymous said...


Chris Knight said...

Methinks "I am Groot!" is going to be the "I am Spartacus!" of the new millennium :-D