When Robin Williams Won the Oscar, and Thoughts on Depression

Last night before we went to sleep Joe and I watched a few clips of Robin Williams, in interviews with Johnny Carson and Craig Ferguson, and performing his hysterical stand-up routines. This morning I wanted to share one of them, but was torn on which one. In the end I decided this joyous moment of when he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “Good Will Hunting” felt right.

Hearing of anyone living with depression always hits home for me. It’s an illness present in my own family, and I have seen and felt its impact personally. It’s hard to know how to help someone you love who is suffering from the effects of depression, but certainly talking about it—what it is, how it feels, and what resources are available—more openly amongst ourselves is an essential part of creating a culture that supports and encourages those who feel depressed, as well as their friends and family members, to reach out.

Bring Change 2 Mind is a campaign founded by Glenn Close (whose sister is bipolar) aimed at ending the stigma around mental illness. It’s an excellent resource with videos, stories, links to articles, and ways to get involved in the initiative.

The writer Anne Lamott knew Robin Williams growing up. This is an excerpt from a piece she posted on her facebook page today.

Gravity yanks us down, even a man as stunning in every way as Robin. We need a lot of help getting back up. And even with our battered banged up tool boxes and aching backs, we can help others get up, even when for them to do so seems impossible or at least beyond imagining. Or if it can’t be done, we can sit with them on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity. You know how I always say that laughter is carbonated holiness? Well, Robin was the ultimate proof of that, and bubbles are spirit made visible.

Read the full piece here.


Rest in peace, Robin Williams.

ps. Robin Williams on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in1991, his hilarious stand-up bit on golf, and the flashback I wrote last year about Dead Poet’s Society


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