he is back with you now, a sad loss to us all and our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.
Hollywood actor Robin Williams has died of a suspected suicide at the age of 63. Robin Williams at a BBC talk (sergey brin cropped out)) Robin Williams jumps up on stage for an impromptu riff during technical difficulties in the BBC filming. Photo by Steve Jurvetson, licensed under CC 2.0 The star, whose distinctive …
"Sad news. When will we take mental health seriously?"
Good point. Depression is a terrible thing. When you think that a man with his success and wealth could get to a point where death is actually the better option, it really makes you think.
There are no quick fixes, but a wider acceptance and understanding of mental health issues would certainly help.
couldn't agree with you more, I still find it odd how family members that I have great relations with talk about [their words] "your problem", as opposed to the depression that I am dealing with (and winning now at last)
Many thanks for your insightful narrative.
Fight the good fight, my friend. I think depression is about as rough a ticket as they can hand you. No one can see the pain, so no one helps or respects you for it. But when you have won through, as I hope you will, then the victory will be the sweeter for being self-won.
"Sad news. When will we take mental health seriously?"
Where shall we begin? Help begins with family, friends and professional counsellors who are trained how to help people get out of their mental ruts / holes / whatever... the sufferer is the only one that can stop the depression but they often need the help of others and may often be unwilling to ask for help or even to accept the problem, particularly men. Except in rather rare cases, prescribing drugs for depression is not the way forward, however it is the way that far too many (substandard) GPs treat it. Along with antibiotics for colds.
The really sad part is the statement "Williams' publicist Mara Buxbaum said the actor had battled severe depression in recent months". Where was the help?
"The really sad part is the statement "Williams' publicist Mara Buxbaum said the actor had battled severe depression in recent months". Where was the help?"
He was in one of the most expensive rehab clinics in the world since July 1st...
But I wonder how much "mental health" issues (especially in this case) are related to alcoholism, strong cocaine use, etc. Stuff that kills brain cells probably is bad.
Probably a chicken and egg issue. Mental health issues lend themselves to these destructive behaviors, the behaviors in turn make it more difficult to deal with the mental health issues. Wherever you find addictions you are also likely dealing with obsessive compulsive behavior. Since people are normally only in treatment after something destructive has happened, by the time doctors see it there are usually multiple entangled issues already present. OCB can also manifest itself in other destructive behaviors like gambling, sex, or even excessive online gaming.
The use of drugs alcohol sex etc. to dull the pain are what is known in the profession as "co-morbid behaviors" . Frequently, these are symptoms, not the true cause.
Most people are very poorly informed about the how devastating bipolar and depressive conditions can be for both the afflicted and their loved ones. I agree that society needs better understanding and tolerance. On many levels, mental illness has much in common with physical illnesses, such as cancer or diabetes. Both cause pain and suffering, can require hospitalization, and can lead to death (suicides). Drug treatments are often very effective when the condition is linked to chemical imbalances in the brain. These drugs don't cure the bipolar or depressive condition but can ameliorate its worst effects.
People suggesting that depressed people just need to "snap out of it" are very misinformed. They also contribute further to the social stigmatization associated with mental illness.
"Sad news. When will we take mental health seriously?"
Where shall we begin?
General awareness on the social media we use most days is something we can all do - watching what we say, share and like (people who shared the image of the "Monk" box set covers, I'm looking at you for starters, OCD is no laughing matter).
Since he had sought treatment I think he was taking it seriously.
Thanks for the trite answer, but when I wrote "When will WE take mental health seriously?" I was thinking more of the families, friends, workmates etc of people suffering from depression. A lot of people walk around with their eyes closed, choosing not to see what's going on with the people in their lives.
I've spoken quite a bit to a couple of relatives who are professors of mental health at a university. They both say that bipolar disorders and depressions are impossible to treat without drugs. The chemical inbalances are insurmountable by any amount of support and motivation for the sufferer. This will be the 10% of cases you're talking about.
The bottom line is that society really needs to remove the stigma attached to mental health disorders.
"They both say that bipolar disorders and depressions are impossible to treat without drugs...."
bipolar, perhaps, but "depressions", bollocks.
Wife has been living with depression for several years now and bar FAR the biggest "fix" is lifestyle changes. Exercise, mindfulness (very good for a lot of people), diet, yoga etc have done way more to help her than pills. Luckily her doctor was well up on mental health and prescribed those things as well as pills and as the lifestyle changes took hold, dropped the dosage step by step and now it's manageable.
I saw the headline of his death and assumed a heart attack or something. I read the article, which said suicide, and immediately thought "oh, so there was nothing wrong with him". Only then did I consciously correct myself.
So I'm thoroughly of the opinion that mental health needs to be taken seriously but apparently still catch even myself not doing so. It's deeply sad that Robin Williams was sick and that his sickness killed him; I hope regressive instincts similar to mine didn't contribute and can be overcome more widely.
I think mental illness is taken very seriously by health pros these days. The general public is a lot better than most people think.
> I've spoken quite a bit to a couple of relatives who are professors of mental health at a university. They both say that bipolar disorders and depressions are impossible to treat without drugs.
I don't believe this is true of depression. I know about depression, it's something that has devastated (and I use that word deliberately) a very large part of my life.
Depression has multiple causes and may need multiple treatments, drugs certainly being one of them. Without prozac I'd most likely be dead, and honestly, death is preferable to that feeling of having your guts twisted into a hard black knot that hurts so much. Such a revelation when I realised that other people didn't have that black knot in them, their strangely different (in other words, happy) behaviour suddenly made sense. And what a hideous revelation it was, to discover so much of your life could have been, literally, unimaginably better.
With some people talking therapy works. A lot of depression is an habitual thought, a habit of seeing the world as an hostile place, and oh my, isn't the world willing to oblige that viewpoint, and the poisonous snake eats a little more of its own poisonous tail and sickens some more. Talking can help there - for some people.
In other case, a bad or abusive childhood can kick things off nicely. Not much can undo that, sadly.
I've previously posted about this as AC, not because I give a shite who knows, everyone who knows me quickly susses there's something weird here, but because I don't want my other posts interpreted in the light of my mental illness (cos that's what it is).
Anyway, for me the bad stuff is over now. If anyone else recognises that kind of extreme psychological pain in themselves, get thee to the doc, it responds quite well to the right treatment[*]. It can be difficult to recognise if that's all you've ever known, and it can be easy to discount your own suffering because you're so familar with it that you convince yourself others must have it so much worse, but often they are no worse than you. If you regularly find the idea of a quiet death attractive, yes, it's an option but leave it 'till last; please see the docs first, they're pretty good.
Sorry for the ramble but been there, done that & got that black, black t-shirt.
I hope you've found your peace, Robin, I really do. Very nearly got that t-shirt as well.
[*] if you're prescribed antidepressants, they're likely to make things worse for a few weeks before making them better. Don't stop taking them at this point!
Me. Because I can't find the napoleon icon --------------------------------------->
It's also the stigma attached to being average. To "succeed" in today's world, especially to succeed on a large scale (and Robin Williams certainly succeeded), you have to be more than a little bit crazy. I also suspect that he was bipolar, but if the "appropriate" chemical treatment would have threatened his success, even his ability to earn a living, then I can't blame him for wanting to succeed. I think we should blame ourselves for so badly wanting him to succeed in spite of the personal costs...
My own take is that everyone is a little crazy. In joke form, "Everyone's crazy save thee and I, and sometimes I wonder about thee/me/us." On the scale of humor as defined by Robin Williams, the joke doesn't move the needle.
"society really needs to remove the stigma attached to mental health disorders"
Exactly this. Society at lareg treats mentally ill people as lepers. We're still in the middle ages acting as if mentally ill people are possessed by the devil. It requires a lot more understanding. Where are the large-scale educational campaigns such as the HIV ones in the 90s?
Nothing trite about it. Until you deal with the reality I just described you won't be able to help anyone. Quite honestly, I took a fair bit of comfort in those around me with their eyes closed to it. Enough people knew and were trying to help me where they could. If I would have had even more people trying to help me, I like would have gone deeper into depression.
I don't think his depression was recent, all the interviews I have ever seen him give I don't think I ever saw the 'real' Robin Williams.
It's fairly well known that comedians are often depressives, there are lots of psychological reasons why they become comedians.
Anyway, it's a loss - he made some great entertainment.
> Probably about the same time we finally realize that suicide is a perfectly normal
> impulse/thought/wish to have and a sacred human right to carry out if one wishes to.
And the depression, is normal too? Perhaps we shouldn't do anything to upset the "normal" course of events by helping people out of such a state.
Anytime someone argues that the degrading and destruction of human life is a normal (implying "ok") thing, I get more than annoyed. What about the crushing misery he has left in his wake for his wife and children? I'm reasonably sure his family do not think that his death is either ok or normal. Death is not ok, it is an unwelcome intrusion into life. Depression is an unwelcome burden on life. The turning of a human being into something non-human is to be fought against. To portray suicide as acceptable is to devalue that human's life.
Accepting suicide also has practical ethical issues. It places an unacceptable burden on the those who cannot carry their own weight in society.
> And the depression, is normal too?
Of course it is! It's normal and necessary as mild depression gives feedback on the individual's state, just as pain does. But it is also normal for it to get out of control. Our immune systems can get out of control too and can cause havoc. All of this is normal, but like TB or malaria is normal, that doesn't make TB or malaria or an overactive immune system is *desirable*, so we try to treat it.
For some people, depression can't be treated, or controlled. For whatever reason.
> Anytime someone argues that the degrading and destruction of human life is a normal (implying "ok") thing, I get more than annoyed.
You've not been there so you can give simplified and frankly cruel rulings from your high throne of ignorance. It's more complex than that:
* You can't comprehend how bad things can get. You just don't know. You're doubtless more sympathetic to physical pain because it's something you've experienced directly. Well, I can tell you, having over a decade of bad physical pain and disability, and the expectation that I'd have to live with that for rest of my life (turns out I won't, luckily), I'd rather have that than clinical depression.
* You're talking about using emotional blackmail to force someone to stay alive. If they're so bad that they genuinely wish to cease their existence, do you not see how evil that can be?
* How do you think a spouse would feel about living with someone in that condition? Badly physically disabled people have requested death and their spouses will in some cases support them because they can see the suffering (would you?). A spouse might be just as understanding in mental illness cases (young children are another matter). Why do you thiink mental suffering is so much better just because it doesn't involve tubes and a wheelchair?
* Here's one I'm sure you've never realised: the option of suicide was for me a huge comfort. Knowing I could pull the plug at any time kept me going. I really didn't have anything else worth going on for at those points. If someonehad tried to take that away... I don't know what I would have done or how I would have coped. I would certainly have been made even worse. Complex, isn't it?
> The turning of a human being into something non-human is to be fought against.
Up to a point. Try and be a little more understanding, please.
While both of your comments have some validity, on the whole I'd side with P. Lee. And yes, I have been there.*
There are far too many people in society who are willing to move your thoughtful comments on edge cases away from the edge and into normal for their own selfish purposes. So I believe we must insist the instinct is to always protect life and only deviate from that for the gravest of reasons which have been fully challenged at each step. It may not have been intended, but in the comment to which P. Lee was responding, I read a bit too much of the unrepentant Ebeneezer Scrooge: if they want to kill themselves they'd best get on with it; too much surplus population anyway.
*Still fight it daily in my own way because the neither the drugs nor the talking help beyond what recovery I have made. Not debilitating the way it once was, I'm functional in society and pay my own way. Sometimes I even enjoy myself. I just never forget where the abyss lies and do my best to avoid even fleeting contact with it.
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
"If you read the biographies of some of the greatest comic talents time and again there does seem to be a common factor of personal tragedy or 'demons'."
If you read the biographies of some of the greatest DRUG USERS time and again there does seem to be a common factor of personal tragedy or 'demons'.
See Cobain, Ledger, etc.
Because no-ones ever used drugs to try to manage their manic highs (tranqs, other downers) and their crippling lows (coke, booze, speed etc) that they already had before they came across easy access to the drugs in the entertainment industry.
Carrie Fisher, Stephen Fry, Richard Dreyfuss, etc. And that's just a quick pick from one documentary on the subject.
Dozens of other examples are available if you actually open your fucking eyes.
@ Sir Runcible Spoon
Ever heard of the girl in the pub who had some tablet put in her glass x years ago and has not come down since? I know one.
One of my band mates thought it would be a great idea to go on a special trip to Amsterdam, he came back with a severe mental condition, could barely play the guitar anymore. A cousin did the same in Africa ... now, that is three close relatives of mine. The band mate and cousin eventually took their lives ... yes, they realized they had fucked up their lives .... all for a week of fun with special stuff ... most of the time, you do not know what you are taking ...
That reminds of one my schoolmates, we would smoke grass in front of school back in the day during lunch break ... maths on Friday afternoon with your head on the moon was something, I tell ya. Anyway, this guy got hooked pretty soon on the shit ... he never managed a-levels and eventually took his life. He used to be a bright guy, 5 years of grass later and he was the shadow of that. Slow thinker, kept forgetting stuff, useless pile of flesh. I must say, his parents were smoking the shit at home as well ... so was he, with them.
I am against bans on drugs, black market drugs are really bad, and it is unbelievable that you are not allowed to grow your own stuff.
@ Hans 1
I re-read what I wrote and can't see why you are objecting so much.
All of the examples you give indicate either an adverse medical reaction to the drug or that the taking of the drugs triggered an underlying condition in the victim. Neither scenario describes how the drug use caused depression.
I'm not being unsympathetic, I've had my own share of experience in these matters not to judge lightly.
For example, people I've known react differently on mushrooms based on their attitude to life, which is usually based on their experiences, which in turn is usually based on how they deal with internal problems.
For example, if someone who internalizes all their problems and just buries them took hallucinogenics I would bet my left testicle that they would not cope anywhere near as well as someone who faces their problems and tries to create a positive outcome from the experience.
People also get so carried away with the feelings the drugs bring that they do not notice their slide into becoming a low functioning human, often reacting to events with a heightened emotional response due to the drugs, which can create situations that become increasingly challenging to deal with (including their inability to correct their own behavior).
Drug abuse amplifies personality traits and can trigger psychotic breaks, but they are not typically the root cause. There may well be exceptions, there usually are, so feel free to correct my understanding if you feel it is incorrect (backed up with a few facts would be more helpful than 'shut up' though, just a thought!)
on a related note, I very much share your reasoning on what drugs can do, knowing my brain very well as I do, and the fact that it is quite different to the norm - the whole Autism thing, I came to the conclusion long ago that any drug more 'lively' than alcohol would be a very not good idea.
Several aeons ago I asked my Shrunk du jour what the effect on my overall mental health was likely to be of test-driving some commonly available stimulants/drugs, in short his answer was "I REALLY wouldn't do that if I were you".
Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, have one on me!!
Are you assuming that mental illness is a result of drug use? How much drug use is an attempt to self-medicate? How much artistic genius is driven by mental illness or drugs and what would be lost without those drivers?
I'm going to make an assumption you don't take drugs, or suffer mental illness. I'm also assuming you're not a world renowned comedian, musician, author or artist. That's not to denigrate whatever it is you do, or suggest you're not good at it. Like me, I suspect you do a job that's necessary, but probably won't cause the world to mourn our eventual passing. But I celebrate the fact there have been geniuses like Williams or Cobain because they add colour and meaning to the human condition, regardless of what gave them their inspiration.
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I discovered drugs (amphetamines and alcohol) at age 18.
I discovered depression at age 14, maybe earlier.
The docs eventually put me on phenobarb to treat my astounding tension-caused migraine headaches, caused by my depression at that age. I used to come home from school and curl up in a ball on the couch with a pillow over my head, and not be able to take light or noise due to the incredible pounding in my head, several times a week. No medical cause every found, just the stress of my vast childhood depression.
You are confusing cause and effect, and trying to sound high and mighty about other's suffering while doing it.
FUCK YOU. VERY MUCH.
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You see Ork is a planet. You follow the Big Dipper til it comes to a dead end then you hang an up.
*and anyone that wants an IT angle, then just check twitter, I like to think that Robin would me smiling at the fact that the numbtards have mixed him up with Stokes Robbie #Angel
It's just a shame that all this outpouring of love and grief for this man comes *after* his death.
How many lives could have been saved if people who suffered from depression could have known how many people really care for them?
We need better support for these people.
RIP Robin Williams.
here (mid-Devon, south-west England) there are some truly awesome services, namely:
and on a national basis: http://www.rethink.org/
If it were not for the above, my five year old son would have lost his dad early December last year.
I was shocked to hear that one of my favourite childhood/adulthood actors has gone. I can only imagine that there is more depression out there amongst national treasures and entertainers than meets the eye.
Only could I appreciate depression after meeting my girlfriend last year. She's had a couple of challenges in that time where it made her tumble into a huge anxiety frenzy. Almost to the point where I misjudged her condition and allowed her to make a journey on her own to do some remote work. Only to find that night, she called me for help and had to get the police/health services involved as I would never have got to her in time.
She's on the mend now, but there's definitely a problem world-wide where people with mental health conditions feel they have to hide it. Being subject to unfair scrutiny. Even myself being Autistic (diagnosed with Aspeger's Syndrome), I know what that feels like and have tackled it face to face with people.
thanks for sharing that, one has the challenges of Aspergers too, and the usual accompaniments...
It makes a huge difference when those of us that have/are suffering/beating mental illness can tell the rest of the world how lonely/terrifying our world can be.
For me the challenging Aspergers/Depression thing is that I can hear the words that people see, see the expressions that they hold, but don't always know what they MEAN.
Hope things turn out great for you and your girlfriend, by the sounds of it she is very fortunate to have you, best of luck to you both.
"I can only imagine that there is more depression out there amongst national treasures and entertainers than meets the eye."
After having suffered myself, along with others I've known to varying degrees, I now think depression is actually a natural part of the human condition, something many of us will experience to a lesser or worse degree at some point(s) in our lives.
It's important that the stigma and ignorance associated with mental health issues are confronted, and if anything good comes of this sad event then at least the subject will get more discussion, more airtime, and hopefully more compassion.
It also gives you negative recall bias so you'll have difficulty remembering anything positive and your usual confirmation bias, combined with a depressed mood, will make you focus on anything negative and disregard positive things. It's not always as simple hearing nice things about yourself.
You can have everything and still not have your health, including your mental health.
"It also gives you negative recall bias so you'll have difficulty remembering anything positive and your usual confirmation bias, combined with a depressed mood, will make you focus on anything negative and disregard positive things. It's not always as simple hearing nice things about yourself."
This is an excellent point.
I moved from John O Groats to the London area for work, and with little education in IT, just experience, I contracted my way from local govt to national government in a series of specialist projects, each one gaining local recognition for it's good work, working with everyone from cleaners to the CEOs and senior civil service and the odd MP, on occasion. I then had a breakdown, moved to North Yorkshire, and eventually got a job in a local IT outfit where the pay is not fantastic, but the work is quite satisfying and the people are fun to work with.
My counsellor suggested, knowing my history, that the fact that I managed all that while being near constantly suicidal was a gobsmacking acheivement, and one that given my history, she's surprised that I survived all that upheaval (as well as some other stuff that I won't go into here, but suffice to say my life's been pretty tough) and maintained a professional appearance in a skilled industry on top of it. One hell of an achievement and a testament to my fortitude, etc. IE generally a very good thing.
All I can think of is that I'm single, live in a bedsit and earn fuck all, and as such, I'm a woeful cunt* of a failure and deserve nothing good to happen to me. I'm not suicidal so much these days, but I'm not exactly the happiest little IT guy on earth, although as ever, I hide it pretty well - depression makes you an excellent actor. I'm not normally that bad, but I'm having a bad patch at the moment, which I'm quite pleased I've recognised (it's making me cut back on the booze and comfort spending of money I haven't got on toys I don't need, something I was bad for before)
*(apologies for the language, but it's not for hyperboles sake - that's my quite literal self identity most of the time, without exaggeration - I'm sure other sufferers will recognise it)
I'm in a place where I can recognise that the above is happening, but knowing it, and getting past it, are two very, very different things.
I do like these threads as while it's sad that we have lost the esteemed Mr Williams, it's reassuring to know that there are some people around here who get it.
Mental illness is a reet twat of a thing, eh?
Cheers chaps and chappettes
Possibly not as many as you think. Mental illnesses are tricky things. It is possible in the depths of depression for the outpouring of which you speak to make the person feel even more depressed.
I've been there once or twice. Only reason I'm still here is that somewhere deep inside was a will to survive that overrode the impulse to go jump out the window. No, I can't tell you how I finally managed to mostly break its hold. Neither can the doctors. It's not like the physical diseases we've cured where you can measure and test and have established facts when you are done. It's still more art than science no matter how much we'd rather it were science.
As a former sufferer of depression I can relate to the thoughts of suicide.
Its very difficult, many people have no idea how to deal with depression and fail to relate to you.
Your own family can get annoyed with the situation and dismiss your problem.
You can end up doing most of the journey alone.
The Black Dog is a bastard!
@AC just now
Absolutely right. It's just such a shame that even the families of those who suffer depression are so unaware and ill-prepared to help them cope. It's not, and never will be, something that you can "just buck up and smile" to get out of, but requires a huge amount of help and true understanding to battle. It's a battle than can be won, sometimes taking years, but as we see yet again today, it's a battle that can also be lost.
Like many sufferers my family also suffered and, in the end, my illness contributed to the break up of my marriage. This was not because my spouse was unsympathetic but because of something called "sympathy fatigue." Even those close to sufferers of long-term illness can, in turn, suffer from this and they themselves need assistance to overcome that. It can be a vicious circle.
AC for obvious reasons.
A black eyed dog he called at my door
The black eyed dog he called for more
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog he knew my name
A black eyed dog
A black eyed dog
I'm growing old and I wanna go home
I'm growing old and I don't wanna know
I'm growing old and I wanna go home.
A black eyed dog he called at my door
A black eyed dog he called for more.
"so incapable...they become so committed to ending their life"
You obviously have absolutely no fucking idea what you are talking about.
If you have never been in that position then you're ignorant and shouldn't comment.
If you have been in that situation and overcome it, then good for you, but to slag someone else off for wanting to end their suffering makes you compassion-less.
Take your pick.
with people spewing praise that couldn't give a crap about Robin Williams yesterday.
The joys of modern age fickles. Will they still be sitting down crying over their Robin Williams box sets when the next big celeb they previously didn't give a crap about, dies....
Sad for his family and all that, but that's where it stops for me.
Hmm. Well, yesterday, and indeed for most of my life, I didn't think about Robin Williams either. It's fairly likely that is also true for most people, even those who quite liked him or his work. I don't think its unreasonable, therefore, when having his death brought to ones attention, people do think about him, and maybe post a message or three. It's not fickle - just that apart from the superfan, people don't go around filling their thoughts with Robin Williams (or whoever) every single bloody day. His death is a nontrivial occasion for those who liked his stuff, so what better day - given in most of the yesterdays there was some other more pressing concern than RW - to make the small effort of a comment?
Of course, perhaps we could all have sent him an appreciative message personally every day, week, or month, about how great he was in this or that, but I'm not entirely sure he would have welcomed the deluge.
For myself, I was not a fan of his in general, although I do remember him in Mork & Mindy; and very much enjoyed Fisher King, which by itself (IMO) easily compensates for him being a bit too overthetop in all that other stuff of his.
I used to like him as a teenager, ( i watched live at the met and GMV etc dozens of times) but kind of drifted away from his films, and now his death has brought attention it has pointed out to me he has done a wide and varied body of work since then , most of which is very good. Oddly the % not seen is quite high compared to a random bag of recent films.
Its like losing a cousin you havent spoken to since you were a kid.
I watched Mork and Mindy avidly as a kid, then lost track of Williams for a while. Caught one of his recorded live shows a few years later as an adult, and spent an hour or so crying and pissing myself laughing, and remains one of a very few comics who have that effect on me.
Comedy Genius, great actor (One hour photo ::shudders::), and from all accounts, a great human being.
"Suicide is the permanent solution to a temporary problem"
The film escapes me at the moment, but this is the very line he said. It's sad to think that he felt that it was the only solution to what was troubling him. It's sadder still to remember that he would go around to see Christopher Reeve when he was paralysied to cheer him up, to bring some laughter to his friend when he never felt like laughing. It's so sad to think that he felt no one was there for him when he needed help.
The first film I saw him in was Mrs.Doubtfire, I was no older than 7 at the time and the family would watch it religiously nearly every Friday/Saturday night. He was incredible in that film. But then again, was he ever really bad in any of the films he was in? I remember "One Hour Photo" being panned, along with "Bicentennial Man". But Mr.Williams was fantastic in both.
As stupid as this sounds, I want to say more about a man I never met or knew but only saw through films, and I've tears in my eyes thinking about how I felt in all the films he was in as I saw them as a child.
Not sure where that line comes from, but here's an analysis of the phrase and a shameless plug for an organisation that can help: http://www.suicide.org/permanent-solution-to-a-temporary-problem.html.
I lost another part of my childhood. I remember watching him for the first time on the tv show Happy Days.
It was a nice article until I got to the point about the “pompous series” of Apple ads. Way to spoil the mood. I usually put up with the lame attempt of humor on Register articles or the constant ribbing of Apple. But in this article? Extra lame.
You couldn’t even come up with something about Android and Robin’s Bicentennial Man film?
I don't remember the Happy Days episode but I loved Mork & Mindy. The first record (vinyl 45rpm) I ever bought was by a British parody band called the Barron Knights who brought out a single in 1978 or 79 called nanu nanu, shazbot which I thought was the funniest thing ever at the time. DISCLAIMER: I was only 11/12 years old at the time :-) but I've still got it somewhere along with every other bit of vinyl I've ever bought.
I too lost a part of my childhood, one that I've kept into my late 50's. Robin Williams will be missed by all. There go I but for the grace of God.
You are the only one so far to mention "Bicentennial Man" today but that and "What Dreams May Come" were two of my favorites. The first because it WAS so slow and sappy, one of the few movies about androids that innocently explore what it takes to be human, why to strive to be human and the journey to get there (and it's Asimov) and the second because it explored the fugue that befuddles the minds of people with depression. Both were likely not so popular because they were NOT funny but were prophetic for Robin after the fact.
Perhaps another author should have covered this for the Register. They need to consider that when literally eulogizing a comedian of Williams stature one should be more respectful
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>It was a nice article until I got to the point about the “pompous series” of Apple ads.
I can't agree more. That line is the current low point in the writing on The Register. It's gratuitous and contemptible, as it appears to be the only reason the article even appears on this otherwise-IT-centric feed at all. An apology from the author and the editor(s) is reasonably expected.
Great man, and like others, surprised at how genuinely upset I was to hear the news.
Solace from so many of comments above talking about their suffering with depression - hopefully someone who needs to see them, reads them, and it helps them find a way through that Robin couldn't.
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"Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says, "But doctor...I am Pagliacci.”
The joke's an old one, and one that's been rehashed and attributed so many different times, but that doesn't change the truth of it. Sometimes our funniest stars are the ones hurting the deepest, darkest depressions. We can only hope that, one day, they'll find something that makes them as happy as they make us.
Unfortunately, it seems that poor Robin never found that something, so we're all left with nothing to do but hope that he at least manages to find some peace now.
RIP Robin Williams, we're poorer without you.
Can I please associate myself with many of the comments here. Mork and Mindy is one of my earliest memories, and much of his work is to be admired. A genuine loss.
I often wonder why it is that the 'genius', larger than life characters in this world seem to suffer most from mental health problems. Perhaps when experiencing the dizzying highs, you also have to suffer the terrifying lows. Those of us who are stuck with just the 'creamy middles' are clearly the lucky ones.
I thought I read somewhere he was concerned about taking medication for depression, because it might impact his comedy. I've heard that about other comics as well. The pain and the success are chained together.
He had a delivery like a rocket. You wondered if he could turn it off, and if he'd explode if he did.
(Depressive/Anxiety Disorder... realized I was close to OCD after getting help. Troubleshooting skills took a bit of a hit, but I don't spin my wheels as much. I'd fall to pieces generally out of view)
It's a sad thing when anyone feels they need to kill themselves to feel better. But one thing I don't understand and just can't get my head around is why celebrities, star athletes, incredibly rich people, etc. are prone to suicide.
If you're a celebrity, making even one blockbuster movie or TV show will set you up financially for several lifetimes. Business owners who sell a successful company or cash out at an IPO never have to worry about working ever again if they don't want to. Given how much of a worry money is to most people, you would think that these people would have absolutely nothing to be depressed about. And even if they did, they would have nearly infinite resources to buy whatever they wanted, travel wherever they wanted, etc. to make up for it. On top of all that, celebrities have millions of people following their every move and hanging on their every word.
It just doesn't make sense to me. If I had the kind of resources that these people have access to, I certainly wouldn't be depressed.
I think it is the expectations, the way everybody is always expecting you to be a certain way, a certain type of person... I guess in this respect Robin Williams was lucky in that he established a body of serious work alongside his Mork-style rapid delivery comedy, and showed he could do both.
Then, then when you make it huge, everybody expects your next role to be greater, better, more impressive. And if you aren't, if the movie isn't good, if you didn't capture the essence of the character in some arbitrary way a critic interprets the character as, you are panned, you are useless, you totally ruined everything, blah blah.
Bugger that for a game of soldiers. The celebrity world isn't even remotely real and there's no amount of money you could pay me to get involved in that.
An earlier poster said he was single, in a bedsit, and pretty much a useless <bleep>. Well, I'm not depressed (I don't think?) but otherwise the story is similar. But you know what? I'm okay with it. Nobody has expectations of me, I don't have expectations of anybody else. I just pass through life quietly in the shadows and enjoy things at my own pace.
The tragedy, I suppose, is that today we are reminiscing about a great talent. Yet, for every famous person in this situation, how many others that we never know?
"An earlier poster said he was single, in a bedsit, and pretty much a useless <bleep>. Well, I'm not depressed (I don't think?) but otherwise the story is similar. But you know what? I'm okay with it. Nobody has expectations of me, I don't have expectations of anybody else. I just pass through life quietly in the shadows and enjoy things at my own pace."
Ey up Heyrick, I'm the cunt ;-)
That's my whole point about expectations and accentuating the negative; from a rational perspective, I have a few quid in my pocket, enough to last me till payday I think, once the car tax is paid, I have a warm, if smallish place with four walls and a roof, objectively, it's fine.
But when I lie in bed late at night with nothing but my own thoughts for company, I scream at myself (with rational stuff I can get my head around now in brackets that never gets that far late at night) for not having a mortgage (irrelevant, most of Europe rents FFS), for not being in a better position (so what, my jobs pretty fun), for not getting into systems management rather than the financial weak-sauce that is systems admin at a local level (hardly the end of the world, I've just about got the bills covered), I've thrown away all the chances I've had (utter bullshit - I've made miracles out of the few chances I have had!), that I'm just an awful person because beyond a surface level, because I don't mix well with people and only have a handful of actual friends (who'd all kill for me without question - some, I suspect literally - and besides, this is probably true of most people), etc.
The whole point is, dear chum, that it's irrational. That's the point. That's why it's a mental illness, and not just a dour attitude ;-)
No offense taken or intended!
The only good thing we can take from RWs death is that it might get a bit more spotlight on mental illness and just how deeply it pervades our society, from top to bottom. I mean, it's not as fun as a telethon, but fuck, it's attention on something that badly needs it.
"The whole point is, dear chum, that it's irrational. That's the point. That's why it's a mental illness, and not just a dour attitude ;-)"
Perfectly said. The saddest, bitterest thing about depression is how much it makes us lie to ourselves. I remember having nightmares (and staying in an abusive marriage) for those very reasons you've said, I'll end up alone in a bedsit, trying to cling onto some sense of value by the "successful image" projected around me and each moment getting more bitter and twisted inside that everything screamed "what a fake you are" and "if only they knew how you really were". Success was the antithesis of happiness, it's what I beat myself with to tell myself how shit I really was.
You know what? The bedsit isn't so bad, the being alone not so terrible. Dark days yes but there is a certain "screw you" you can develop to that black dog when it lies to you and whispers in your ears at night, I've beaten you down before and I can do it again, and when I do it's not all so terrible and all the little good moments can be enjoyed.
The funny thing is, I remember those dark nights and the thoughts going round in circles (and those who say drugs don't fix things, they don't, but they can sure as hell help stop that eternal cycling round and around in a spiral til your head wants to explode so you can try to appreciate things again rather than being exhausted constantly with the fight) and the one thing I remember most would be waking up in the morning and not being able to relate to them or explain them or verbalize them or really be able to comprehend how bad it had felt. It felt like another person, til the next evening or night. In the end I took to writing a blog whilst I had those feelings, incoherent screams as they were and took that to the doctor and let them read it as I was too good at hiding how it felt even from myself, from intellectualizing and making it an interesting topic of conversation but not about me.
I hope you find your place to enjoy those little inconsequential moments soon and the dark nights don't swallow them up for much longer. It's those stupid little things that make you smile in the day that make life.
Snark - Have you been in my head at night? ;-)
I think I might give escitalopram (I think, the improved citalopram variant?) a go to see if it helps with the sleeping and the rather vicious inner monologue at night. I'm just wary of anything that could affect my ability to drive and work with electrics, for the obvious reason that I'm a roving IT tech - I need my wits about me in a variety of manners (I found venlafaxine proper fucked me over in that regard - I was pretty sloppy and dozy all the time, that, and it didn't help my depression one jot).
Curiously, despite having an objectively bad day today - had to work hard (that's what I got into IT to avoid!), got a parking ticket, slipped on some algaed up paving slabs right on my arse, and got soaked in a flash storm.
Internally, though, the hard work paid off - moved an entire office, everything worked afterwards. The parking ticket I literally only got by a couple of minutes (I was about to move the car, but the wardens had found it before I got there - accidental overage, but bang to rights) and had a good laugh with the wardens about sods law and all that - and of course, the parking ticket slip is yellow, my car is yellow, so at least it's colour co-ordinated, eh? And the slipping was brilliant - the staffer told me to watch my step as the pavement looked slippy.
"Nae worries, I have cat like reflexes, I haven't slipped on anything since *YOINK*"- straight on my arse.
I just cracked up on the spot, giggling like a small girl at the hilarity of the situation. I was perfectly OK, but let facilities management know to clean the pavement - so everyone got a laugh (including me) and the problem will get solved.
As for the rain? Meh, I'm scottish, it's nothing new to me...
Not even a fuckwit member of my staff trying to stab me in the back (no chance that'll work - depression breeds cynicism, cynicism breeds preparedness, and I am crazy fucking prepared when it comes to office politics) could dampen my temporary cheer, and I'm still fairly chirpy now.
I don't like it all that much because I know it won't last, but it's like a good bottle of wine - enjoy it while you have it, eh?
Anyway, excuse me, got some algae-upped jeans to wash...
It is a terrible thing. for the person involved and the people around them. Fortunately it can (mostly) be managed and (at least partially) alleviated.
Unfortunately there is a stigma. You'd get help for a broken leg so why not for a broken brain?
If you have depression, please get some help - for yourself and those around you. Just hiding if for "shame" is not worth it.
One of the great things about this thread is that here, on El Reg, various commentards, many long established, are (relatively) publicly revealing the pain they have been through with depression, either with themselves or somebody close to them.
If just one person reads these posts and takes positive action to turn their life around then that's an amazing, positive thing. Even more so on a sarcastic, often blunt, forum on an technical Internet news site.
Not sure what the rules in America are, but over here in U.K. it would probably not be called suicide. It would almost certainly be recognised that Robin Williams taking his own life was a symptom of his mental illness. Regrettably there is still a totally unjustified stigma attached to both mental illness and self termination.
Huge sadness at the passing of a comedic giant, a great actor and a genuinely lovely human being. The world is poorer for his passing.
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