R.I.P. Robin Williams

My heart is broken.  Robin Williams is gone.  R.I.P gentle soul!

1

This follows shortly on another suicide who was a friend of mine.  She too was an immensely versatile actress, with the difference that I’d known her from school days…

Idk.  I don’t understand it anymore.   Is life on this planet that terrible?  When that darkest hour hits, don’t you people run through lists in your mind of people who will really genuinely miss you?  What is that thing that makes someone respond to that little voice that objects, “but […] (fill in blank) is going to go to pieces if I do this”, with a cold “I don’t care”?

I don’t have words for my school friend, except that I really really hope her next spin on this planet (or whichever planet she is sent to) will be better.  But Robin Williams:

Don’t you remember?  You were Chris Neilson, in “What Dreams May Come”, who went all the way to Hell to find and rescue his wife who had committed suicide, and bring her back.

 

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13 thoughts on “R.I.P. Robin Williams

  1. One wonders if there isn’t something in the artificiality of the acting profession – and the deadly seriousness of producing good comedy – which makes one particularly vulnerable to depressive lows. RW certainly seems to have departed this plane far too soon.

    • As someone who suffers from severe depressions and who knows about such things as the urge to destroy oneself, I almost wish that people would not wring their hearts wondering why some of us actually do it. I guess it shows you care, but…

      Beyond the cases where the cause is obvious (say, a child whose life is made intolerable by bullying at school) there is seldom an observable cause for suicide. Depression is a state of mind, of being, where rationality is lost. It is impossible to ask a person the grip of it to count his or her blessings, to think of the number of people who love him or her. A depression involves a profound loss of self-worth, in the face of which these things have no meaning. Suicide, under such circumstances, is often the act of a moment – we know this from the small number of depressive-suicidal survivors, and from those who have somehow stepped back from the brink, and who have been able to talk about it. It is seldom planned meticulously. Primo Levi suddenly threw himself down a stairwell one day, and he was one of the sanest men on the planet. This is something I live with, have coping strategies for, and when I feel myself coming out of a dip I am relieved and often moved to tears to find I am still here – often I shudder at the memory of how close I might have been to oblivion such a brief time beforehand. It does not necessarily have anything to do with comedy or artistic creativity, it’s just that those of us who are funny or creative tend to stand out amongst the thousands of people with this condition whom you might otherwise not notice.

      … I don’t mean for you to feel bad about having tossed such questions between you. It’s only natural. I hope, however, that I have been able to provide you with a little something to add to your toolbox if – God forbid! – you find yourselves contemplating the similar loss of anyone you know or admire. I hope I have helped.

    • Of course those suffering from depression are spread across a wide spectrum. However, while there is controversy on the subject, a number of researchers maintain that there is a correlation between intelligence or ‘giftedness’ and mental health – particularly relating to bipolar disorder. It is a valid area for speculation. It makes sense to me that a bovine individual would be less susceptible than a hyperactive sheepdog type.

    • That’s right. In fact if people have this condition early in life and find a way of dealing with it somehow (be it diet, biochemistry, circumstances, consistently following a plan, going into emergency mode and taking action the second they note an attack coming on, even though that might be a challenge as such a low can suddenly hit in half a second), they are unlikely to bother consulting professionals about it later on, and even if they do, they might not on a regular basis, therefore falling outside of the research group.

      But specifically, it’s people who go untreated for the longest time (because they don’t believe it’s a problem) who might end up pulling the trigger on themselves because they are unprepared.

      Also in today’s hyped-up false-positive world of magical thinking it’s uncool to be “negative”. I know I have a few acquaintances who, the second I mention my car’s in for repairs or I’ve lost a student, will say things like, “get over yourself” or “get off your pity-potty”. Even just mentioning that a negative event took place is “giving it space in your life” and augmenting it (totally disregarding that perhaps I need a lift or must figure out why that student left before the situation can improve). So I for one will rather die before I tell those people that I’m feeling down. I can understand why people who are depressed, will stay quiet about it in today’s hippy-happy culture rather than ask for help. Nobody needs to be ridiculed on top of being depressed.

      Shucks, this is such a big topic it’s actually begging for a blog post!

    • He was my favourite actor, even above Johnny Depp. His movies always had a deep aspect to them too, very sociocritical. He was in a way a social freedom fighter, a rebel against the established (artificial) norm. I’m thinking of Mrs Doubtfire and Patch Adams, for instance.

    • And it doesn’t help that my firstborn, though she is a girl, is his namesake. I gave her the German “Robin” rather than the more common English “Robyn” because a robin is a little bird (and doesn’t she sing!), and a harbinger of spring, and a free spirit, whereas in Afrikaans a “robyn” is a ruby – a precious stone.

  2. Very sad indeed. And thank you for this tribute. “Le clown est triste” as we say in french. The clown is (alas, so often) sad.
    A lovely name for your daughter though! 🙂
    Have a good week-end.

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