Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Comedians remember Robin Williams.

Kristen Becker has a post on Robin Williams, depression and suicide up today. I'm not familiar with Becker or her work, but Robin Williams' suicide kicked me in the stomach last year. Backer's piece is about her own personal experiences, and is critical of the way mental illness is down-played and ignored:
Let me be clear. What was happening to me at the time was something I DIDN’T BELIEVE IN. Yet, it continued. I was in no place financially to run off and heal my brain. Few of us ever are. Rarely can one call into work “crazy” and check out for a month and let the swelling go down.
Becker is especially critical of those who describe suicide as a choice and negate what it is to suffer from depression. Basically she cites authors who are neuro-typically privileged and have shitty opinions. She's generous to these people though, as shown in her title, You might not get it and I hope you never do. RIP Robin Williams.

There will be a few posts about him today, since it's the anniversary of his death. Bobcat Goldthwait did an interview about him, it's sweet, and sad.

Some highlights:
We all have depression, that's why my friend passed away. He was frustrated. He was trying to memorize dialogue... this was attacking his brain. I will say that I did witness him ... the depression thing, that wasn't a factor... I think comics in general are dark. I don't see him as suicidal. I think what happened was a result of the dementia he suffered from.
Goldthwait downplays the role depression played, saying he and Williams joked about suicide for over 30 years, and that the dementia was the tipping point.

I think what really punched me in the gut about Williams was how close to home it hit. I know he lived with depression, he often talked about it and about suicide. He could go pretty dark with his comedy. And when he killed himself, I felt it right in my gut. It was losing one of my own. One of my kind. A kindred sufferer.

Williams also looked so warm and loving. He smiled with his eyes. He had hairy arms. You wanted to hug him. Just writing that reminds me of that piece of him with Koko. 

It’s unfortunate that it takes the suicide of someone beloved to understand how depression and suicidal ideology work. We can seem perfectly functional, happy, and want for nothing, but still be in pain. Imagine when that pain is compounded by lack of access to help, to financial dread and to an inability to take the time to take care of yourself.

I didn’t know Robin Williams. To me, he’ll always be the genie from Aladdin and  Mrs. Doubtfire. The role that spoke to me the most, of course was his role in Good Will Hunting. That’s the way I remember him. Smiling with his eyes.  

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