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On Robin Williams


When I wanted to kill myself, it was three days before Christmas. I found myself at the hospital, in a room with no windows and a locked door. Sometime well after midnight, a social worker came in. She asked me questions about my history of mental health, my family, friends, work, bowel movements, hopes, aspirations – you name it. For some reason she took an interest in the fact I make comics. I explained that I was having trouble managing it all, and was currently in a blinding, all consuming depression. 

“You know,” she said “Robin Williams has had his share of hardships with mental illness, and he found a way to do things and work. Have you seen Good Will Hunting?”

“Yeah” I said.

“Have you seen Dead Poets Society?”


“So he found a way to make them and balance work, family, and all those things. The scale of it might change over time, but he made it work.”

She took some more notes, we chatted, and she left, and I laid beneath the halogen lights thinking about Robin Williams. It must have been a lot of work to make that many movies, to do that many tours, to win that many awards, and to be that famous. Doing it all and still fighting personal demons.

I eventually got out of the hospital. Finding reasons to live every day was tough. I spent Christmas with my family, smoking unfiltered cigarettes in the sub zero weather with my brother. The days passed, and I spent more time with doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, anyone to keep me going. And I kept going.

Robin Williams stuck around in my mind.

To me, he was the ultimate success – someone who has personal demons, problems, and issues – and found a way to keep achieving things. I wanted to emulate him, from the standpoint of being extraordinarily talented and driven while dealing with your issues. And being genuinely funny along the way. Sometimes on tough days, I had to remind myself that he did all these things despite his personal setbacks, and it pushed me to move onward.   

Mr. Williams, I hope you’re in a better place and doing alright. You’ve touched the lives of many, and you most definitely touched the life of a scared, depressed girl in the hospital last winter.

O captain, my captain


Terry Gross: Can I make a confession?
Robin Williams: Yes. You’re not wearing anything, but that’s OK. You’re in the radio studio, and if you’re wearing—if you’re in a thong, that’s wonderful. A thong in your heart, that’s OK. No, no, please, confess.
Gross: Well, before we did the interview, I had no idea what to expect.  And I wasn’t sure you’d give me a straight answer to anything. And I just want to say thank you for actually having a talk.
Williams: You’re welcome. Well, it’s good to talk like that, you know?
Gross: And for being really funny at the same time.

Williams: Well, that’s probably what life is. You know, you can do both. You can talk and be funny. And you see it wasn’t that zany. It was just conversation.

Williams, speaking to Fresh Air in 2006. 

“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I am dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she said.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.”

C.S. Lewis (via theohpioneer)

No other stream.