Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heartache > RIP Robin Williams

"O Captain, my Captain."

so here are my thoughts...for those looking to understand. This is simply my perspective both as a person suffering from similar mental challenges and a student of Psychology. Read it at will. I'm no expert, but to me, it's tragically simple...

Robin Williams was a comedic genius. He was a force of nature. He was an amazingly kind soul trapped in a body with a mind that never stopped racing.

We all know Robin was bipolar. He's talked about it. His mania is what drove his art. His comedy was exalted by the sheer ravings of a brilliant mind too fast for most "normal" humans to process. He was simply the most manic person I've ever seen or known (and I've known a lot) to still be walking around functional. Most people with mania at his level find themselves hospitalized or worse. It's that mania that gave us the beautiful and glorious and often psychotic-sounding rantings that left us in stitches and in awe for so many decades. It is what drove his art and allowed him to not only excel at it, but impact us on such a profound and memorable level.

But...with any bipolar, the state of mania can only be balanced by an equal or, in my experience, greater level of depression. If the mania is a 90, you can rest assured the crash and depressions will be a -110+. It's a vicious cycle and a battle all bipolars know all too well. Medication is often the only solution to find some semblance of functional balance to the chemical chaos in your body and mind.

In Robin's case, here is the problem. His mania fueled his art. It defined it. Medications would have stifled it. As so many bipolars do, you're torn b/w medications that stifle your mind, creativity, and emotions to function and letting it go and naturally channeling it into something creative or productive. The latter is how he worked. However, no one can maintain that kind of control over a mania that intense (coupled w/a brian so brilliant) 24x7 for an extended period. The crashes, as he has said, are debilitating.

As with many bipolars, especially in the creative arts world, it becomes a dance. Prescription medications to find a functional balance coupled with self-medication to try to control the highs and lows. He needed to be manic to perform, to interview...to be the Robin Williams we all "knew" and loved so deeply. In his off time, he had to be Robin Williams, the man, not the performer. Being able to turn on and off despite the chaos that is happening chemically in your brain.

Add an addictive personality to an extreme bipolar and you are looking at a flame who'll burn far more brightly than most until it finally doesn't have enough fuel left.

My heart aches so deeply for his loss but even more so for his pain. For a man who brought SO much joy, comfort, love, warmth, beauty, and genuine kindness to so many, it hurts my soul to know the depth of the pain and loneliness he faced. We've all heard him talk about his struggles. I wish I could known him and hugged away all his pain. I wish someone had been there to get him through one more night of that dreaded sadness. But mostly, I pray that he is finally at peace and his mind and generous heart and soul are now  calm.

We will miss you, Robin Williams. You were an artist, a philantropist, a healer, and a poet. Thank you. For everything, but mostly for the love of life you shared.

"Genie - you're free now..."


  1. Additional thoughts:
    I felt compelled to get this out of me. Had more to say but decided to curb it. All I can hope is it strikes someone who maybe, before reading it, hadn't thought about it that way and helps lessen some of the ugliness and anger. He struggled so hard for so many years and all "we" saw (or wanted to see) was the happiness. It's too easy to turn a blind eye to the other side when it rears its head.

    People want everything wrapped up and explained in neat little packages and are so full of "suck it up" attitude and condemnation rather than recognizing the intensity of the struggle that no amount of therapy can fix., then point the finger of blame for being "weak" and "selfish". If you've never suffered life-altering depression, you can't understand, no matter how much you claim you do.

    In the mind of a suicidal person, it isn't a case of selfishness. It's a case of believing you are less of a burden gone than you are here, struggling. It's a matter of not being able to bear or carry the pain anymore and feeling there is just no other way to make it stop. It's a question of perception clouded by the chemical chaos in their minds. It hurts and angers me every time someone blames someone not strong enough to find their way out of such crushing depression, on their own or otherwise.

    Sometimes, it is amazing how far the tiniest bit of understanding and compassion can go to helping them find the solid ground they need to make it through the lowest points. (Spoken from pure experience.)

    To his family, friends, loved ones, and fans...let his love, laughter, and passion heal our hearts

  2. Thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful, brilliant piece. I love you.