“Death of a Giant”, or “He Burned With The Force of a Thousand Suns”

I don’t really know what to say here. I mean, a lot has already been said since yesterday.  But I will try and do my own fitting memorial.

We lost a great actor, comedian, and person in Robin Williams.  He was easily one of the most instantly recognizable names, faces, and voices in the world of comedy. His rapid-fire, free-flowing form of comedy was unmistakeable and endlessly influential, and probably will remain that way forever. A chameleon of character, the man was able to illicit gut-wrenching laughs, suffocatingly real tears, and genuine emotional responses from his audiences, often from the same movies.  A versatile performer who could brighten anyone’s day with a wink and a smirk, Williams had the talent of forty men, and the energy of four hundred.  His films read like a critic’s choice list: Hook, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, What Dreams May Come, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, Aladdin, and so many, many more.  I still remember watching Hook as a kid, wishing I could just start one food fight – just one.  Or watching Aladdin, and thinking how cool it would be to have a joking Genie. Or watching Jumanji over and over and over again.  I never met a Robin Williams movie I didn’t like.

And if ever his motion pictures weren’t enough, we had his incredible standup.  I still remember the day when my dad showed me Williams’ golf bit.  It had me in stitches, and it always will.  “I’m goona knock a little whi’ ball intae a gopher hole! ‘Oh, you mean like pool?’ FUCK OFF, POOL! I’m no’ goona use a strai’t stick! I’m goona use a little fuck’d up stick! ‘Oh, so it’s like croquet?’ FUCK CROQUET!! We’re goona put the hole hundreds a’ yards away!!!!”  Classic. Always will be.

As funny as the man was, his offstage, off-screen life was anything but.  It’s no secret that, for much of his life, Robin Williams battled with severe depression. He combated it with drugs, alcohol, parties, and endless comedy to stave off his own demons, but it seemed in the end he succumbed to them.  The biggest tragedy is that this end could have easily been avoided.  Too many people in this country have this mentality that mental disorders such as depression, OCD, and aspergers, are not real maladies, and should more-or-less be ignored or medicated & forgotten about.  Because of this stigma, mental and psychological disorders do not get the respect, consideration, or awareness that they deserve.  It seems like the general consensus towards mental illness is if you can’t see it, it’s not a big issue.  That mentality is what leads to a lot of these problems.  People suffering from depression feel like their problems don’t matter, and so they go untreated. So the problem progresses unhindered, until the depression is literally crippling. 

As someone who suffers from moderate depression, I can say that it is way more than just feeling sad for indiscriminate amounts of time.  Depression robs you of everything that is you.  You feel deflated; you have no desire to do anything, the most mundane tasks seem daunting, and even the most benign of criticisms can send you into a downward spiral.  I constantly fear that one day I might slip into an incredible low like what Robin Williams experienced, but I also know that fate can be avoided by simply talking.  Talk about your problems, folks.  DO NOT just bottle them up because you think they are “small” and “not real problems” because they are!

If they’re real to you, they’re real problems.
If they keep you from doing what you want, they’re real problems.
If they’re causing you to contemplate suicide, THEY’RE REAL FUCKING PROBLEMS!

Another symptom of depression is high highs and low lows, and this can be clearly seen in the life of Robin Williams.  This is something that I think many of us can relate to.  When you’re on a high, you feel like nothing in the world can touch you, and that even the harshest words cannot phase you in the slightest.  It is a really great feeling. I’m not even talking about a drug high, either; the high I’m referring to is far more powerful because it comes from the brain, and it is an unbeatable feeling.  But when you’re on a low, it is the opposite.  You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, and even the kindest words can feel like an ego-shattering insult.  It is this feeling that inspires a lot of people to turn to drugs and alcohol in order to get that high back.  But that effect is temporary, and the come down inevitably makes the low even worse.  So the people keep taking the drugs, until they develop a dependency.  It’s a terrible and vicious cycle that sometimes leads to overdosing or suicide. 

And it is all completely avoidable.

If you have a problem, it doesn’t matter what that problem is, go talk to someone!  Big, small, it doesn’t matter – go talk to someone!

I’m not saying that simply talking to someone will magically make your problems go away – it won’t – but it will help. It will absolutely help. 

Regardless of his ailments, however, Robin Williams left behind a legacy of amazing works unmatched in range and talent.  It is impossible to sum up his life in a blog post, but I believe I can wrap this up by simply saying, “Bangarang!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsJxIoFu2wo

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