Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Silent Battles


When I got home from work last night, I was stunned to read the news about Robin Williams, comedian and actor, dead at age 63 from an apparent suicide.

He was the funniest actor I've ever seen in my entire life. The day after watching Mrs. Doubtfire for the first time, my abdomen was sore just from laughing so much the night before. He was that talented and that funny. 

His publicist said in a statement that he had been suffering from severe depression for the last few months.

When I was reading the story last night, there were several people in the comments section referring to Mr. Williams' suicide as a selfish act. I personally think that's a terrible thing to say. Imagine the depths of despair someone must be going through in order to take their own life. I have lost family members to suicide, and believe me they were not selfish people.

This is just another example of how the crippling stigma of mental illnesses is so pervasive and prevalent in our culture. This is also why so many people who suffer from depression are reluctant to seek help; because of the stigmatization that occurs as a result.

Depression does not discriminate based on wealth, fame, race, class, religion, gender, or any other demographic variable.

This is a time we should all lean on one another. We never know when someone is fighting a private battle. Here's hoping that they never have to fight it alone.

172 comments:

  1. This was such a great post again! Depression is indeed a silent battle many times, and when people admit they have problems it requires lot of patience from friends and family to love them in the right way, to help without being too pushy and treat them as equals and not someone who is problematic or less valuable.

    People should also learn to give up on trying to fix things which do not work for too long. Many people get depressed and mentally exhausted, because they do not know when to give up endless battles and get a new job/relationship/dream for themselves what makes them truly happy and content.

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  2. We see depression as an adjective ..not as an illness...and that is exactly the problem.
    The stigma is too high!

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  3. He was a talented and tortured soul. I understand the moments of pure despair, hopelessness, the desire to end it all just to never feel again... My heart goes out to him, may he Rest In Peace now.

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  4. I suspect that the people who believe suicide is selfish are looking at it from the perspective of the survivors. The lonely bereaved.
    On my darkest days when I have contemplated suicide it has seemed to me that not only would my pain be stopped, but that the people I loved would also be better for my absence.
    Depression is a soul sucking beast - and NOT a rational thinker.

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  5. Keith, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Robin... when I told Valentina, she said who? I then told her played Mrs Doubtfire... she was like oh, not him... I love all his voices. Even an 11 year old was touched by his passing. He crossed all age boundaries, unfortunately he didn't know or feel the love or he wouldn't have ended it that way.

    I am truly saddened by people thinking he was selfish when I can imagine all the emotional pain he was in. I've been where he was, thankfully I held on to the knowledge that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It seemed far away at times but it showed up...

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  6. I caught the news right after it was announced and was just shocked. He was an icon of my youth.
    I have a friend who is bipolar and suffers from severe depression. Another reason they don't get help is they simply withdraw. They can fake it around others when they have to and then withdraw.

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  7. lotta truth in this man...gosh, it was heart breaking last night...a friend texted me and i didnt believe him...def like alex he was big from my youth...mork...and beyond...and mental health is so important...and its sad that we make it so hard for people to get the help that they need as well...i used to work in mental health...and the regulation on it now is ridiculous.

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  8. I never found him my, but I appreciated his talent
    Many comic actors have this depressed side don't they?

    Out of all this roles, his mad cap routines and his stand up... I rather liked his restrained and moving piece in GOOD WILL HUNTING
    perhaps that was the real,Williams?

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    1. I agree, John. I liked his more serious work. His non-stop comic routines always made me feel really anxious after the first five minutes.
      Robin Williams made so many people laugh.....that is his legacy. It must have given him some joy to know this.

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  9. The words funny should have appeared in the first sentence

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  10. I read this when I came home yesterday and turned on my computer. I was shocked and it tore at my heart. Mental illness is just that an illness that needs to be taken seriously. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming and you are right depression does not care if you are wealthy, poor or famous and when it strikes it hits hard. May his soul rest now in a place where there is true peace.

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  11. I think the only people who truly understand depression are those who go through it. The day the average person realizes depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that the person can't help is the day people will start to understand that it is a disease...just like any other physical ailment. One other assumption people are making is that he wasn't under treatment for it...we can't know that for sure. The medication and counseling don't work for everyone, unfortunately. He could have tried every medication under the sun. I have a feeling his wife wouldn't have let him slip away without trying to do something (just an assumption, though!).

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  12. It is sad news and I will refrain from reading the commenters on news blogs in the next few days. I fear even the news reports will eventually change tone, in the quest for readership. But for now I am glad the world is remembering an extraordinary person.

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  13. He will be missed there is not one generation he has not made laughter for while he was himself crying inside.. Depression is a silent killer and not selfish, it is a heartbreaking disease that needs to be more understood. He was not selfish he gave everything he had till he could not anymore. B

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  14. I saw it first on line and my jaw just dropped...raced out to tell the hubs and we both just stood there trying to get our heads around it. Poor soul...how he must have suffered.

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  15. Stunned as well . . . brilliant comic, there is no Doubt . . .

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  16. Shocked beyond belief! To think he sweated and slogged and gave us laughs for decades. Sadly he had to be alone suffering and depressed for such a long time. Going to miss him. Good write Keith!

    Hank

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  17. Very true Keith! It’s impossible to find someone suffers enough, but we realize it only it’s too late.

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  18. people kill themselves everyday over and over till all they are to be and hope for is freedom from the thoughts they feel like a orphan child gone of hope. free from demons and such echos of such darkness. i used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone its not the worst is to be with people that make you feel all alone. do you understand it. and do you feel you could sit with a person and tell them your story and they would understand such subconscious pain. just as if some1 was to lay down beside you to hear of spirits so far away of the distant cries of those passed and the nearer silent sounds of a shattered self.

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  19. I didn't believe it in the beginning, I thought someone had made a mistake. Then when I realized it was true, I felt so sad... Robin Williams is connected with happy childhood memories in my mind. It is so sad that he felt so desperate.

    I rewatched Dead Poets Society last night and his character, Mr. keating will always be such a huge inspiration.

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  20. I can imagine an actor such as Robin must have a very sensitive nature and depression must have been so debilitating to him. This sad event should be a reason for us all to reach out to someone we haven't seen or called in a while and let them know we care for them, because, as you say, you never know what battles others may be silently fighting.

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  21. i found your blog thrue other bloggers..i will be visitng more...nice blog

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  22. So sad ... such a sad sad sad loss ..... my heart is broken ....

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  23. I can't imagine how his family is dealing. I was very sorry to hear the news.

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  24. People are so cruel. No one will ever know exactly why he wanted to die, especially the public at large who no more knew him than Adam.
    I, too, have lost a family member to suicide, and I know the angst well. Prayers for his family. He was a gifted actor, and one of my favorite comedians.

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  25. Very well written, Keith. I was so saddened to hear he killed himself after battling depression and relapsing. I lost a friend to suicide. He left behind his wife and two small children. He was bi-polar and embarrassed to suffer from the illness. So very sad.

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  26. Not everyone who laughs is happy, not everyone who makes you laugh is happy. Even Jesters Cry.

    Stewart M

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  27. I was saddened and shocked to hear of Robin Williams' suicide. What a talented man he was. Depression and addiction are insidious diseases so prevalent in our society today and together they take some of our best and brightest. RIP ~ Robin Williams. You will be missed.

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  28. Beautifully said, Keith. You are so right about the stigmatization of mental illness. We, as a society, have so much work to do when it comes to treating people equally.

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  29. As I posted my blog this morning, I stated I too was in shock of the news. He always came across [when interviewed by so many] as a contented happy man full of love and life...

    I console my thoughts by trying to remember his smile, and feel in my heart he no longer suffers a silent battle of his own.

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  30. I suffer from depression and anxiety. It's a terrible disease and a hard battle. Society has put such a stigma on being depressed or having a "mental illness" that it's deterring people from wanting to openly talk about it or seek help. Depression is truly a struggle.

    RIP Robin Williams - you will be truly missed.

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  31. So true the words you expressed here. It is also hard sometimes to get into the "system" so to speak even if you want to get help for a mental illness. When we lived in Montana there were few psychiatrists in the city where we lived. It literally took several months to get an appointment with one. The family practitioners were doing the best they could to dispense medicine but knew they were out of their league in doing so.

    So true too that mental illness does not discriminate; it effects all no matter of race, economics, talents, etc.

    Robin Williams will be missed by all, especially his family.

    betty

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  32. Wise words, Keith. We will miss our Robin :(

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  33. yes, wise words......when I told my kids that Mrs. Doubtfire passed away they almost cried, yes, his talent, but more than that, his family, I pray for them at this time.

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  34. hear hear. My son lost a dear friend this way, just this year.

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  35. I have no doubt that depression is a real and true disease. And yes, our country is failing miserably in the treatment of mental illness -- all kinds of mental illness.

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  36. oh Keith i agree with you completely, he had a way to make you laugh until you hurt, i can't imagine the pain he must have been in to kill himself. It must have been horrible...I suffer from Agoraphobia and social phobia and until \i took pills i came so close to ending it...so now i take the pills and it supplements my nervous system and makes it work properly, Ihave been stigmatized, \i have been disrespected, and I feel for him I don't know what he went through but I know that suffering to a point of agony is reason enough not to be able to live anymore so I pray for him, I pray that he is where i know he is, and that only love surrounds him and he'll heal

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  37. a funny man who left us in a very sobering way.

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  38. You speak from experience meaning you have known people who suffer from depression and have committed suicide. I have known 3 people who also have committed suicide. I actually dislike the term "mental" illness. It is a brain illness that is chronic just like arthritis or heart disease. Unfortunately, due to centuries of people being stigmatized as mental or nuts, we place these individuals in a box from which they find it hard to escape from. Is it a selfish moment? In some ways it is from the way the people left behind are having to cope with the loss. Are the people who commit suicide thinking they are selfish...not on your life! I think many people with severe depression give part of their soul to others constantly. They are hiding their pain to not upset others or be judged by others and they are in a constant war with their thoughts. It will be interesting to find out if people close to Robin Williams who were around him a few days before his death, if they found that he seemed more calm, more content. It is strange to say this but from what I have witnessed when people suffering from such unbelievable pain have made that final decision they feel somewhat content with that choice and they honestly believe others will benefit and they will be able to finally be released from the pain of this disease of the brain. I am very saddened by his passing but I hope something may come from this loss that people will wake up and have more understanding about this disease of the brain. I have told my clients who are depressed to seek a Dr who will listen because if we have a problem with our heart, liver or kidneys, we see a Dr to have it looked at so why not the brain? The brain is an organ but so unique and many Dr's still have little understanding of the brain and its functioning. I go on and on but his death has greatly saddened me. I am glad you wrote this post as it speaks of more than just Robin Williams but of compassion for people suffering from depression and bi-polar disorder

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  39. Walking through the airport last night, I got a text from my husband saying how sad about Robin Williams. My first thought was "crap, not Robin Williams" Immediately, I googled to see what happened. Shock and disbelief.

    Imagine...a man who makes millions laugh for a living should battle such private demons that this was his answer. No, not selfish, just sad.

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  40. It is definitely not a selfish thing to do. What a crap. It's so tragic. There are so many people who suffer from depression these days but it seems like society does not see it as an illness. It's really sad.
    PS: I loved his guest appearance in Friends, so funny!

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  41. suicide is always a shock and one of the saddest things that ever could be. I loved him!

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  42. I have a dear friend that has battled depression her whole life.
    Many years ago she called me as she was thinking of jumping of a bridge, I went right to her house and talked to her all day and night.
    Thank God she is okay today but still goes for help.

    Robin Williams was truly gifted, may he RIP
    I will so miss him.

    I am glad you shared this piece, thank you...

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  43. I was shocked when read it too. You just never know what one is going through. They say there is some imbalance in them, which would make it an illness for sure. People don't think rationally when depressed. But another factor is they are good at faking it so anyone that can help won't because they think they are fine.

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  44. Well said. You just never know...

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  45. Shock and sadness. I am so sorry he must have suffered terribly.

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  46. In my experience when there's a death there's seldom anything worse than passing a bunch of judgements. This one hit me hard, sad to say annoying responses are likely however some posts like your own I truly appreciate.

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  47. Despite his unearthly comedic skill, he always had mournful eyes.

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  48. I'm still stunned by the news. It's so sad that he couldn't see another way out.

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  49. Given how much joy and humor he gave to the world, along with such deep and meaningful roles (as in The Dead Poets Society), I was shocked that he took his life. I agree: We never know what others are going through, which is why we should always greet others with kindness. And I also feel that the catch-all "mental illness" term helps to distance us from those who are living those lives of "quiet desperation," setting them apart as not quite normal, instead of just normal people with heavy loads to bear. RIP, Robin Williams.

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  50. He certainly will be missed by so many. He gave so much joy and laughter to others. Mental illness is such a misunderstood disease. I have always had a theory: We don't expect a paraplegic to walk to their wheelchair, but we expect someone struggling with a mental illness to be able to get and take their medicine without any support system. It is a problem for so many people in this world. Thank you for sharing this Keith. Robin Williams was an amazing man in so many ways.

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  51. I was not a fan, but may he rest in eternal peace.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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  52. You have clear eyes and can see what others cannot, OE. Invisible diseases including mental suffering is something many discredit, mainly because they are ill-informed. People judge too quickly based on their own assumptions and beliefs. Depression eats away at its victims, who often try to keep it hidden.

    Not everyone can handle the harsh reality of life's upsets. Understanding is more appropriate than criticism. RIP, Robin Williams. Now we are minus George Carlin and Robin Williams. The world is becoming less funny.

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  53. I too was surprised to hear about Mr. Williams' death. Definitely our loss. I believe that many suffer from depression without recognising how serious a challenge they face.

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  54. Great post. I was stunned by this news. It reminds me once again how debilitating mental illnesses are, and how little people understand them. And, sadly, the stigmatization is alive and well. Because people cannot see the pain or feel it, they cannot understand it, or sometimes even believe it. And even expect people to 'snap out of it'. I lost a loved one to suicide and I can assure you that he was the most selfless person I knew. Suicide is not a selfish act. It is a desperate act. And if the stigmatization does not end, and people are not ashamed to step forward and seek help like they would for any other illness, nothing will change. We need to educate the public. Do better for people suffering from these illnesses. Thank you for this post.

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  55. I was shocked hearing the news yesterday and it reminds me on how funny and good actor he is. Depression is a serious thing and im so sad that ut ended that way for Mr. William's. Great post, Keith

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  56. Thank you for this post and your timely thought of the day Keith. One of my best friends committed suicide when I was very young. I still have so many questions and I don't think I will ever not feel sad about it. To me, judgment is the opposite of love and I respond with love. May the light be shining and the laughter and love flowing for Robin Williams!!

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  57. very compassionate post Keith. I agree that we all need to support one another, it's important that silent battles get their voice. We need to listen whenever we can.

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  58. I was stunned, too. I'm still stunned! And now hearing the details...it's just terrible. Last night when I first heard the news, I said, "The world just got a whole lot darker without him." The impact of his passing was that quick. I could literally feel it. He will be missed by all.

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  59. Wise words, Keith. I was shocked as well. I have long admired Robin Williams as a person and an actor. My favorite movie of his is "Dead Poets Society." It does go to show you that you can never judge what is going on inside a person by his/her exterior. He was fighting many battles,it seems. All the money and fame cannot help sometimes. So very sad.

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  60. I despise when people say that suicide is a selfish act, also. It just goes to show that we are incapable of understanding the battle that others are fighting.
    What a great tribute to an extremely talented man.

    A inspiring quote by him: "You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."

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  61. beautifully expressed.
    sometimes people simply want the pain to end.
    he has been a gem in our world.

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  62. I was sorry and sad to hear of Robin Williams death too.

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  63. Just tragic!
    Genie, you are now forever free. RIP.
    Cheri

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  64. Well-said. Those who have never suffered a deep depression too often think those who do should simply "snap out of it." If only it were that easy.

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  65. Very sad and a shock too - it does make you think what was going through his mind at the time to do something so drastic.

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  66. This is certainly a sad loss. I knew he had been having troubles with depression on and off throughout his life. I hope somehow he knows what joy he brought with his humor and that he will be missed greatly!

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  67. I was floored when I heard about his suicide. I suffered severe clinical depression for a couple of years in 95-97. Still today I will have bouts of depression--for no (big) reason. It's debilitating. And I might be going through one those times right now. ;)

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  68. Thank you!
    People are so very quick to pass judgement. And some are just plain old stupid and mean when they say he should have thought of others first. Give me a break. Actually, I am sure he did think of others and suicide was his only answer.

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  69. The world has lost a treasure. So very sad. Suicide has affected my family more than once, and I know the pain it causes. We all need to be more aware of, and sensitive, to what others may be going through. We also need to reach out and love more.

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  70. People who think suicide stems from selfishness are superficial idiots who know nothing of the depths of despair. They should thank their lucky stars and keep their judgmental traps shut.

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  71. excellent post Keith,this is so sad that he thought suicide was the only answer.
    I have seen several different interviews by him in the past and he had fought depression and addiction for many many years. He was getting help for it several years ago, so this was not a recent illness.
    I would not consider this a selfish act either, this was a sickness that he just couldn't overcome

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  72. Well said. He made me laugh so many times. It's hard to believe that he's no longer with us. His talent was amazing.

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  73. I agree with you on all you said about the stigma of mental illness. And Robin Williams will be sorely missed...

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  74. He was truly one of the most talented actors to have adorned Hollywood ... may his soul rest in peace.

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  75. Depression is awful and suicide is so hard on the survivors. You've said it beautifully as always Keith. Poor man and poor family.

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  76. Heard it on the news this morning. So sad. I agree with everything you've said Keith. He was such a talented actor and will be sorely missed.

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  77. Nothing we say makes it easier for those who loved him in all aspects of his life... made us laugh, cry and sometimes raise our fist. Talking and sharing stories somehow helps cope with this sadness... I only hope that he finds his peace and we remember him for being the great Robin Williams...

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  78. I, too, have lost a family member to suicide. He most definitely was not selfish. I have been at that point too and no one really knows..

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  79. We have many excellent suicide prevention programmes and mental illness programs over here Keith with little stigma attached to either I'm very pleased to say. I was driving when I heard the news and I was stunned and so sad I was surprised. He still had so much to give! So young! Our local TV station ran Mrs Doubtfire as a tribute last night, and instead of getting the usual sore tummy from laughing, I practically cried throughout the whole movie.

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  80. My heartbreaks for Robin Williams and his family. One never knows what's really going on in the mind of another - so sad...

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  81. You are so right Keith. When I heard how open he was about his addictions but could not talk about his depression, That says a lot about how society still doesn't recognize depression as an illness that can be helped. There is a dreadful stigma still there. I hope this opens the dialogue about mental illness. Someday those who suffer will not have to bear the illness alone.

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  82. Well said. You hit the two biggies: the loss and seriousness of mental illness.

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  83. We thought he was so funny! It's very sad that he's gone and especially like this.

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  84. I've got to say that if anyone starts talking about the "selfishness" of suicide, we're going to have words. WTF???

    I shall leave you with a quote from the great man himself.
    'I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.'

    RIP Robin Williams.

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  85. I heard of his death early in the morning, and I felt guttered all day. So very sad. Depression is a silent, invisible illness...unseen from others in most cases. It's a dark demon that refuses to let go. May he now find peace.

    As our TV channels cover the sad loss of Robin Williams...it's amazing the vast portfolio of brilliant - absolutely brilliant work he has left in his wake. Robin Williams shared with us so much of his unique talent. His sad, unexpected passing reminds us of the massive contribution he made to the entertainment world. I wish we'd been reminded another way.

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  86. Depression is most of the time an actual physical thing, often brain chemistry. I don't understand why he could not be helped with medications...Phil takes Prozac and it changed his life. I cannot imagine the pain he must have been in to take his life this way. So ironic that a comic genius died of sorrow.

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  87. He was such a funny guy all the time, it's shocking that he was going through so much depression.

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  88. It was very sad news to hear. Why are the very talented so often mentally frail?

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  89. This is certainly a very sad loss - he was a really funny and a kind man.
    He did a show down here in Christchurch and the proceeds went to the people who were effected by the earthquake, so very generous also.
    And yes, Mrs Doubtfire was such a funny movie.
    Carolyn

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  90. So very, very true Keith, this is a time to reach out to one another, and to try to remove the stigma from mental illness.
    One must be sensitive and intelligent to do comedy well; and to be able to do comedy and drama as well? I think his heart was sensitive and this world, as well as his feelings of being alone, simply became too much for him to bear. This is not selfish; it is sad.

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  91. I found your words to be profound! I wonder if Robin Williams did seek help but current treatment is still a hit and miss affair. He would have had to luck out to find a great psychologist and the right treatment (drug or other therapy). Anything less could have caused more harm than good. My heart goes out to all who mourn his loss.

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    1. I beg to differ ... I work on a busy psych unit, and I know, no matter how hard you try to help ... if the patient has a plan, he/ she will follow up on it, once they are discharged some our safe environment ... believe it or not.

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  92. Very wise words. We will all miss those goofy voices he did!

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  93. Depression is so debilitating. I think "invisible" diseases are the worst. When my migraines were at their worst I was horribly depressed. I would recommend that anyone who feels depressed... get your D3 levels checked. A lack of vitamin D will contribute to this state and taking it (if you are low) will actually make you feel better and more optimistic.

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  94. I wish that he could talk to at least one person about his fears.

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  95. I was shocked to read this myself ~ But mental illness is faceless & powerful disease ~ Sometimes we are not aware that we need help unless it is too late ~ I am not one to judge him, selfish or not as he had his own cross to bear ~

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  96. I still feel so sad that he felt like he had no other choice but to end his own life. I know what that feels like and I know it's not a good place. When I was 18 years old I tried to kill myself and almost succeeded, I was gone for 4 minutes while they worked to bring me back and was in a coma for 4 days. I still have really bad days but not as bad as the day I tried to end my life. You just never know what demons are behind those smiles that people give to you.

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  97. Your compassion shines through your words, Keith, as always. I have been so sad about Robin Williams. I hate to think of the pain he must have had behind the laughs.

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  98. Depression is a terrible thing and should never be underestimated. It's never a matter of just snapping out of it. It's a debilitating illness that can kill. I mourn the loss of Robin Williams.

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  99. So sad, I loved Robin ... I understood each and every movie ... and saw right through him, no matter how funny ... and ... now I feel left behind somehow ... oh, omg ...

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  100. ... by the way, I picked the exact pic of google images yesterday ...

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  101. I, too, was terribly saddened to hear this news, Keith. :( This really goes to show that we need to talk more about mental health and encourage those who are depressed to talk about it and seek out the help they need. RIP, Robin, you will be missed.

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  102. I go way back and watched Robin in the "Mork and Mindy" shows. Have you heard of that? It made me sad when I heard of his passing. He was loved by many. You picked such a good picture of him.

    ~Sheri

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  103. Many comedians put on a show to cover up how they feel inside. Sometimes the person is is the "life of the party" is hiding darkness inside. I always felt that Robins Williams eyes had a sadness in them.
    Often those who suffer from depression do not want to burden others and try to hide it inside, and it eats away at them.
    As for those left behind who love them, it is very difficult. You think "how could he/she do this to us? How could he/she cause us such pain and sorrow?" They are left with pain, sorrow, anger and "why".
    Both sides I understand and see.

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  104. He was one of my favorites. From Mrs. Doubtfire to Aladdin, I loved his family friendly movies. My husband watches Good Will Hunting all the time, and he even shone in those non comedic roles. The world really lost a good one yesterday.

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  105. When my University roommate committed suicide 25 years ago, I was devastated AND angry. At that time, I felt the act was incredibly selfish but I understand so much more now. Humour is such a wonderful truth-revealer yet also such a proficient mask. Thanks for writing this.

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  106. Great post---and glad you said that about Suicide. It is truly a SICKNESS... IF the person who commits suicide had his right mind, he would never do that to his family and loved ones. BUT--since he was not in his right mind, he definitely cannot be called selfish.

    I have a good Blog Friend who lost a daughter to suicide a few years ago and that mother and family still grieve constantly. It's VERY hard for the family. BUT--that girl (like Robin) was SICK. The sickness won the battle and at least, we can say that he is now out of pain... God Bless Robin --and God Bless his family and loved ones....

    I loved several of his movies: Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, Dead Poets Society, and of course Mrs. Doubtfire.... What a huge talent!!! He will be missed.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  107. I truly loved Robin Williams like we all did. I also suffer from depression, the bipolar kind. I'm and artist. I have creative spurts where I see the world differently from normal people. I didn't know what it was as I was born that way. The depression side slammed me in the face when my mother died. I literally couldn't get out of bed nor pul myself up by my bootstraps. Luckily my doctor recognized what I had. I took antidepressants which brought me out of the low. Twenty years later another psychiatrist realized my depression was bi-polar and put me on another medicine for it. I don't know how they work. For me to be "normal"I have to take both. But when I do I also lose some of my creative spirit. That's okay as I would rather feel normal. I'm not on recreational drugs nor have ever been. I can't drink alcohol without it throwing my chemistry off. Stress can bring on bouts of depression. I don't have nearly the stress Williams must have had with his exhuberant creativinty. That takes lots of energy. The flip side of the high of creativity is the depression. Only a doctor could help me. I grieve for Robin Williams and all the others who suffer from this mental illness that Vincent van Gogh and other artists have had. Get help if you have this, it is no longer a stigma. Robin is at peace finally. We will miss him.

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  108. you are so right my friend.Depression is hard to fight. Cinema lost a great talent and a great man.

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  109. I think that when people are in such horrible depression, they just don't think about the devastation they will be leaving behind for their families. They're just not able to cope anymore. I was surprised to learn that more people die from suicides in America than homicides! That's amazing!

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  110. He was a great actor, Mrs. Doubtfire was one of my favorite movies .
    It is really very sad news .

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  111. Hi Keith, it was verysad to hear about Robin Williams death.. I hope he is at peace now, he will be missed.

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  112. This really hits a nerve with me. I just can't believe all the people talking about the "choice" he made. Depression is a real illness and it does real things to your brain chemistry. I don't think we even understand the capabilities of the brain, it's not black and white. No one will ever know why his illness made him think this was the only way out, but apparently, it did. I think everyone needs to leave their judgement behind, because they never walked in his shoes. And if they have never been clinically depressed or an addict, they have no right to pass judgement or hate because they don't understand. I'm personally choosing to leave the judgement behind, and instead to mourn one of the greatest entertainers who sounded like he was a wonderful and caring man. So sad.

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  113. So sad. The funniest people are often the ones fighting the most terrible demons.
    The tears of a clown - when there's no one around.

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  114. I love some of his smaller roles. Awakenings...Hook... Such a terrible loss!

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  115. I was stunned to hear the news. My heart goes out to his family.

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  116. Well said. He brought so much to the world.

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  117. Your words of conviction and passion bring tears to my eyes.
    It's heartbreaking to know so many suffer in this way. Even people close to us, that we may overlook it, not see what's really going on.
    Robin made us laugh, but for him, he was suffering. He wasn't laughing.

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  118. Truly a sad news .... have always loved his movies, his enactments .... however, the illness you're talking about, seriously need some patience, treatment and a lot of care ... May he be happy wherever he has gone ...

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  119. "We never know when someone is fighting a private battle"
    Absolutely right, Keith.
    It seems people are still unaware of the features of mental illnesses like depression. Extend help, in whatever way possible. Support...
    I like all his movies.
    May his soul rest in peace !

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  120. Yes...so sad, and such a shock.
    No-one, unless they are a sufferer themselves will ever fully understand just how much pain a depressive has to live with.

    Your tribute is truly moving...your understanding, incredibly touching.
    Thank you, Keith...on behalf of all sufferers of depressive illnesses...

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  121. Hello Keith!:) Sorry I'm late, only got my new glasses today. It's a tragedy that someone so well loved should have felt as tortured as he did. I am as shocked as everyone, and had no clue that he suffered from depression.
    He was a wonderful actor, and I enjoyed his serious roles as much as his funny ones. May he rest in peace.

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  122. A moving post Keith. So many struggle with mental health and your call to support is what everyone needs to hear. Every time I hear of someone who commits suicide I have a huge sinking feeling and wonder could anything have been done. Sadly, Robin Williams seemed to have access to support networks and it wasn't enough. I read today that he was a true hero for struggling with depression for so long and choosing to make us laugh instead of giving in. I agree with that view.

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  123. It's definitely true. You never know who is suffering. In fact, I spoke with a religious leader recently who said the biggest thing he'd learned was that everyone had problems. I suppose what it comes down to is being more compassionate, less focused on ourselves, and fighting the prevalent isolation that comes with this modern world of technology. The relationships in our lives really are the things that keep us going.

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  124. Hello and thank you for these words that truly reflect both the stigma our culture has imposed on depression and suicide and the sorrow and deep pain of both. To commit suicide is, I think, to say that anything, even the unknown, is better than this life. That this life is simply not worth living. And that kind of pain pierces so deep that one has to end it. Peace.

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  125. I was brought to look for the good in everyone. But honestly, it's getting harder and harder. Our culture is saturated with judgement calls. Everyone has an opinion on what someone else is going through. When we lost our eldest son, I suddenly understood what deep depression was. It's terrifying to be that crippled by despair. When we lost another son several years later, I remember thinking this hopeless feeling would never go away. Robin Williams was a genius who saw no other way than to take his own life. My heart aches for his family, especially for those who do not fully understand the depth of Robin's despair. Thanks for this, Keith.

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  126. SO glad you wrote this, Keith. It hurts my heart to think how much pain Robin must have been in to take his own life. I would never consider that selfish. It is truly heartbreaking.

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  127. I agree whole heartedly with you. I have been so saddened by some of the comments made. Very, very sad news

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  128. I'm so glad you said this. The stigma associated with depression is terrible. For those who have not suffered from it, it may be difficult to understand. However, you are correct, people commit suicide quite frequently who were anything but selfish. I'll never forget when a man was standing on a bridge in San Diego contemplating jumping and people who were frustrated with the traffic were "yelling just do it already." Again, it may be hard to understand - but people contemplating suicide are in depths of despair that a great deal of people are lucky enough to have never felt. Instead of judging, reach out.

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  129. What more can I say Keith: Im really really sad I will miss him I know.
    I really enjyed his movies : He made me laugh. He made me cry.
    Hope he is with God now!

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  130. Another excellent post Keith. Well considered and said from the heart.

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  131. So true, Keith! I have friends who have a family member who committed suicide and they posted this article on facebook because they identified with it: http://www.blogher.com/what-suicide-isn-t-rip-robin-williams. I thought this was a great article because it does touch on all of the different emotions people might feel, while still trying to get rid of the misconceptions that people might have.

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  133. Such true words. Instead of hiding mental illness in the background, it needs to be brought to the forefront, talked about, shown light and love and not discriminated against.

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  134. Oops your comments keep on timing out on me...so sad he just lived across the bay from us, so tortured

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  135. Yes mental illness needs to be out in the open like a broken leg

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  136. sorry about the truncated comments, I saw some friends of mine on facebook saying the same about selfish acts!!! I cannot believe this comment. people who commit suicide are so low you cannot accuse them of this sort of emotion.

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  137. I see Robin Williams is on everyone's mind. He touched so many of our lives with his playfulness, his humour, his sensitivity... He's now shown us (those of us that don't have this disease) how little we know about the pain he was in and how hopeless he felt :(

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  138. Well said OP. So sad to see someone who seemed to have everything be so sad and feel alone. Perhaps the silver lining is now this disease is being talked about openly. I do think this has changed the perspective for many.

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  139. There is a stigma with even just going to talk to a therapist! Which is just wrong. We all need help. No one has all the answers all the time.

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  140. Thank you for your messages, Keith. I've also lost family members to suicide. I'm chairing our local Out of the Darkness for suicide prevention, and speaking on the radio tomorrow about it and possibly Williams. I'm encouraged that at least at the moment, people are speaking up about their struggles and suicide losses.

    Robin Williams was such a gentle soul. He had a way of touching us all.

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  141. My brother suffers from sever depression and I know what it is like to see someone suffer to the point where they see that as the only option or they are so lost they dont know anywhere else to go to. Thank you for your thoughts on the matter. I am glad there are those who understand the struggle that people like Robin Williams go through.

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  142. If you get a chance, pls read the response to his death by his friend, Peter Coyote...he sheds more light on depression than most others ;) Indeed, selfish has nothing to do with it.

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  143. Depression is not something you want to shout from the rooftops (even if you could at the time you are sitting in that black hole).
    What (we) depressives do is crawl into a mental space where nobody can find out about you.

    I am sorry RW found no other way out.

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  144. I remember a conversation I had with my brother a few years back. He was stunned when I told him that I didn't care that Michael Jackson was dead (stay with me-I have a point). Rather than being callous, I told him it had no impact on my life. I wasn't sad and I sure as hell wasn't happy. It just...was.
    But, when I found out that Robin Williams had died, I WAS sad. I don't know why that is. It just is.

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  145. I'm still speechless and shocked :( It makes me realize that we don't only know little about celebrities (so often we think they can afford everything so they must be happy - so wrong!) but also about the people around us. It's a fact that every single one of us fights a battle, we win and we lose, every day. But how many of us show to others how we really feel - and even more importantly - how many people will let us show how we really feel and be genuinely interested in us, or happy or sad with us? I think our society got to a very unhealthy point. Everybody is bragging on social media how awesome their life is and others believe it when it's not even true. We create a world where we have to always give 150 % and we neglect that it's actually killing us (even literally) to keep pretending we're fine. We all need to stop trying to make others believe how perfect our life is. Because only if we tell the truth we can help one another. That's what Robin Williams has taught me. And I do not think it is selfish or weak what he did, I think it takes a lot of courage to end your life. People usually think everybody else will be better off without them, how sad the surroundings make them feel like that - and then they think it's selfish? Those people's selfish behavior might have helped leading to the suicide..... Just thinking aloud. This topic makes me mad, sad, helpless and wanting to help all at the same time. Great post, honey!

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  146. Very well said, Keith. Depression can be a devastating disease to live with. My mother had it all her life and I knew from an early age that it was robbing her of so many things.
    Also my brother had depression and he took his life when he was 19......life was just too difficult for him to continue.
    Yes, it's time to start talking about this disease....as we do about diabetes and heart disease.

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  147. well said Keith.....depression and suicide is not a selfish act..i wonder how people could say such things..dont they have empathy, dont they have compassion and understanding....i cant imagine how much pain he had gone through all these years...for someone to reach such a point as to take his own life...it is soo sad...
    I have always loved Robin williams...from the day I watched Dead Poets Society....
    O captain, my captain....may his soul rest in peace

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  148. He truly was one of the great ones, and I was sad to see him go. The night before he died, my cousin and I were talking about money and happiness. We were trying to think of wealthy people who were terribly unhappy. I wish I was still struggling to think of someone.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2014/08/facts-about-dangerous-chemical.html

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  149. It was so sudden and so unfortunate. What a shame.

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  150. Amen - such true words. We never know what other people are battling against...

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  151. So true. When I got on my group chat and saw that, it broke my heart. He's just one of those people you never would've suspected needed help. I hope his family heals. People can be cruel about things they know nothing about.

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  152. We live in a judgmental society where sadly, empathy is a rare trait..

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  153. A depressed person, esp. a celebrity, has difficulty expressing in words what he is experiencing with depression. It takes a great psych. and meds, and understanding to help that person. Sometimes that is not enough.

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  154. Robin was a multi-talented person, fighting his own demons. I also have had suicide in my own family, so I share your feelings. RIP, Robin. The demons are slain for you...

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  155. Thanks for this, Keith. My heart is still broken :-(

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  156. I have not seen many of his movies, but always remembered him, great comic Robin Williams. Very sad! Nobody knew what he felt inside and why his decision was so.

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  157. I was saddened when I heard and you provided a good perspective on the destructive role of mental illness. The words of the old song, "Tears of a clown," ring true.

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  158. I agree. We need to start accepting people as people. Fat. Thin. Well spoken. Stuttering. People are who they are on the inside, their outsides are just containers. And I always felt that Robin Williams was a very gifted, very troubled man. I grieve for his wife, too. I can only imagine how sick she must feel, wondering why she didn't go check on him, etc.

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  159. My sentiments exactly. This broke my heart.

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  160. Hear! hear! On your last line. We should all be able to rely on each other.

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  161. This is an excellent post. His death affected everyone so deeply, myself included. We can't presume to understand what he went through, but we can celebrate the laughter he gave us. He was a wonderful actor and there will never be another like him.

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  162. Depression, or any mental health issue, is just like diabetes or being allergic to peanuts. This is a great thing that even in his death, Robin Williams is motivating the world to look at it in a different, better way. Great on your part to bring it up, Keith.

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  163. Robin Williams was an amazing human being...it made me sad to hear about his passing. May he rest in peace. Hopefully in the future, more awareness regarding depression is created and cases of depression are detected and treated on time.

    It is nice to read / hear from you ,Keith.

    Regards,

    ~ Life

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  164. The world has lost another precious soul.
    Robin was indeed one of life’s treasures.

    Life is fragile and I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who battles depression.
    It is not a visible affliction, but it is with the affected person day and night.

    Professional help is available but it is recognising there is a problem and taking the first step that is always the hardest.
    Combined with family/friends support, encouragement and love, many can climb out of the black hole and live a so called 'normal' life.

    Be kind to one another – each and every one of us is battling in one way or another.

    Shane

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  165. He was so wonderful. I loved him even more in serious roles than in the funny ones. My heart goes out to his family and all those suffering with depression. I have a couple of loved ones going through it so I know how life-changing it is.

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