It's definitely a sad, sad day. I had the good fortune of meeting him several times, and he was a tremendously generous individual (both with his time and his talent). I had some concerns when he noted he was going into rehab earlier this year, as, the last time I saw him (during the holiday season last year), he looked a little more haggard than normal. Still as friendly as ever, but not as quick with his humor.
For a funny man, he always had a darker side. Not in an evil, unbecoming way, but in a deeper, more nuanced way that suggested that there was much more beneath the facade of a comedic persona. Many of his films ('What Dreams May Come,' 'Good Morning Viet Nam,' 'The Fisher King,' etc.) dealt with a similar theme about how people sometimes try to keep darkness at bay (a theme that seems very apropos to his life).
I sort of don't want to know what led him to apparently take his own life, although I know it will be examined and dissected ad nauseum over the next few days. I'd rather remember him for the genius and the joy he brought to so many through his performances.
Sad indeed. A smile can often be used to mask depression and other problems people are battling.
This is more proof that money and fame are not what life is all about. Robin had it all in the world's eyes but true happiness is not found in those things.
I feel bad that he felt so low that he took this step. I feel so bad for his family too as their grief will be mixed with regrets and even some bitterness at times. I pray they can remember his life fondly and that they find some peace and comfort in time.
i grew up loving him in 'mork and mindy'. but movie-wise his role in good will hunting is IMO maybe his best.
as a young person i was entertained by him in 'mrs. doubtfire' believe it or not. also i really liked 'jack' and that was a cool and underrated story.
obviously 'dead poets society', 'awakenings' and 'good morning vietnam' were pretty heavy roles too. the list goes on and on. he did a lot of silly roles but he also did some serious ones which showed how multi talented he was and sometimes showed some of the pains he has personally experienced.
This is very sad. He grew up in Marin and my wife knew him as a child and they played often with Huey Lewis. Robin was a creative genius. It's so sad that depression has a way of eating away at even the most kind and gentle heart. R.I.P. Robin.
Here's the thing, you don't know what it is truly like until you've lived it, depression, I mean. 2006-2008 were very dark years in my life, I started dialysis and I lost both my mom and dad in a year and a half. That emotional stress, plus the realities of dialysis (kidney failure affects your mind as well as your body) led me to start taking anti-depressents. I have since gotten off of them, but I know there's no such things as recovery in this case, its like being a former alcoholic, one day, with the wrong stimuli, can send you right back down the hole. Robin Williams knew he was loved, and he knew legions of fans adored him. It wasn't that way, in his mind. Depression has a way of skewing the way you look at the world. I still keep the anti-depressents handy, and whenever the medication expires, I always get it refilled, just in case.
About the time I left work for a prolonged period to get my kidney transplant, one of my co-workers left to have her first baby. Her mom wanted her to have a natural birth, but the hospital staff offered her pain-killers. My co-worker and I both learned the same lesson from our medical experiences (her with giving birth and me with my transplant): don't be a hero. She eventually asked the doctor for the pain meds and things went better. I learned, after surgery, don't be a hero, the pain medication can significantly improve your chances of recovery. I take the same tack towards depression. I know it can return at any time, and I have no way of knowing what could set it off. If I get to a dark place, I will be honest with myself and not try to be a hero. If the last eight years of my life have taught me anything, they've taught me that. It can all turn on a dime, that's the odd and soberingly beautiful thing about life.
good points soda. in fact, sometimes having all those things around you can ADD to your depression. you 'should be' happy because of your friends or family who care about you. but the fact that you still feel lonely or depressed can add to your pain and distress. ("why do i still feel this way?" or "they don't understand me")
you can feel like an outside and all alone, even in a world where you're surrounded by all the positive things that are SUPPOSED to alleviate your depression.
Depression isn't about being sad when things are bad.
Depression is being sad when things are good.
I stopped my antidepressant when they started having the same affect as jolly ranchers (didn't feel better or worse on them than I did off them, other than a week's worth of withdrawals) and I'm leary to start more because the first week on them is hell. I couldn't feel ANYthing. I remember watching an Alabama-Tennessee game that first week and watching Alabama wax their rival, I was just "meh" yet I also was "meh" after two-straight turnovers.
It was like there was a wall blocking any emotion, positive or negative.
I stopped therapy because all it came down to was me talking to a nodding head (I can talk to my mirror and get the same effect without a co-pay!) and one day his superior sitting in on the session and within 15 minutes start blaming everything on me. (thanks, Doc).
I deal with my depression by coming in here and trolling you all.
ComicBookGeek wrote: Depression isn't about being sad when things are bad.
Depression is being sad when things are good.
That's the truth. Obviously, if your life goes in the shitter over various stresses, etc., it can be 'depressing,' but that's very different from clinical depression. The true, clinical depression is when there is a persistent state of disinterest and sense of purpose, often coupled with a sense of loniliness or hopelessness. It's not even necessarily about being sad, although the existential angst of depression can certainly bring on a profound sense of sadness.
I've, fortunately, never dealt with this type of depression, myself (existential questioning in college? sure.. but, as my wife often jokes, my ego is too healthy to ever feel worthless), but I have had several close friends and family members who have. While some have struggled with it in ways that has hurt their productivity, many, if you did not know them on a personal level, you'd never think would be depressive. They are successful, they have great families and many have lots of friends,etc.. and yet they each deal with moments of emptiness and real struggle. Some have used anti-depressants, and, as CBG noted, the effectiveness of these drugs waxes and wanes according to them.
There was a professor at my alma mater (one I never had, because he joined the faculty long after I left), who was beloved by his students and a celebrity in the literary world: David Foster Wallace (author of "Infinite Jest"). I did get to meet him, and he did fit the archetype of brooding, profound literary savant. He openly talked about his depression, and how he had periods where he simply couldn't cope. He used anti-depressants for a long time, but it's effect were palpable, he noted. He said he felt like he was walking in a haze, like if his whole body and brain had recently fallen asleep (like when your foot falls asleep), and he couldn't quite feel the sensations of things poking and prodding him. Unfortunately, shortly after he went off his meds, he committed suicide. He was only 46.
The point? Just because one might appear to have his or her life in order, or just because there doesn't appear to be any trauma to trigger an episode doesn't mean the coast is clear. True depression can hit at any time, under any circumstance, so trying to stay engaged and connected with those you love who deal with this is sometimes the best thing you can do.
So, after I was diagnosed with Kidney failure and I started dialysis, I also underwent counseling for my mental state. I didn't want to go, as I felt that the sessions were utterly pointless (like CBG said). My sister and I went to two, and then I told her I wanted to stop, and she didn't try to talk me out of it. I also noticed the effect of the medication shutting down all your emotion. I used to think that what was happening was the medicine treated depression by making sure you couldn't feel anything at all. That, while you might not be happy, at least you wouldn't also be suicidal. After I dropped out of counseling, I did go to see my psychiatrist every so often, and, as the years went by, he gave me a larger and larger leash to stop the medication, which I eventually stopped altogether, although, as I said, I still keep some on hand.
There's one technique I've learned for dealing with my issues, and I don't know if anyone else has had this experience. I just thought I'd share and maybe its something no one else is doing. Over the years, I've monitored my own emotional state, and I've figured out what the triggers are that cause me to sink, and I just try, as hard as I can, to avoid those triggers. Unfortunately, its impossible to avoid them all the time, but I've learned that, with a bit of practice, I can be pretty sucessful with this technique. I've never known a therapist who recommended this, but it works for me. There's the entire line of thought about facing your fears and standing up to them, but again, we're not looking for heroes. I know what my triggers are, I know that certain sensations will cause me to sink and will ruin an otherwise great day. I see little point in putting myself into situations where I will come into contact with those triggers.
That process sounds like the limbic response method you're referring to. The limbic system (sometimes colloquially called your 'lizard brain') is what Freud would have labeled your 'id.' Medically speaking, it's basically comprised of the hippocampus system and the limbic lobe in your brain, and comprise structures that are known to help modulate emotions, memory, and motivation.
When addicts talk of 'breaking the cycle' (in either 12-step or other types of rehabilitation processes), they are really describing a process to try and stop the triggers that set the limbic response process in motion. It's about using the 'conscious' brain to recognize the specific things that trigger a response before the subconscious acts upon them. The theory is that, once that response system goes into effect, it's much harder to "stop a moving train," and there is a point of no return where the limbic system takes over and will satisfy the 'need.'
It's not surprising, of course, that many addicts also suffer from depression, as the particular triggers of depression can often be tied to the triggers of addiction (and thus, some, enter a vicious cycle of addiction and feelings of helplessness).
As I've mentioned before, my wife has done a lot of work in this area, which is why I have some familiarity (and her interest was driven by some history of depression in her family).