some stuff: Robin Williams and depression

It’s been a pretty sad week, y’all. There is so much anger and hurt and sadness in the news. It’s a struggle to keep up, and sometimes I feel the need to shut a lot of it out. We don’t have cable or even live TV in our house, and getting news from Twitter and Facebook is overwhelming and sometimes not very reliable. I’m just feeling bowled over by it all, but then I push it aside to attend a birthday party or play LEGOs and it’s almost like nothing out of the ordinary is happening at all. I like those moments, but ignoring breaking monumental news doesn’t make it go away.

I’ve never experienced true depression. Usually if I do, it’s due to stress or overwhelm. But even in those small moments it’s hard to reach out, hard to convince myself that I’m not interrupting someone’s busy day or that anyone would want to be bothered with my little issue. When the stressor is lifted, so is the sadness. I am fortunate.

I read some pretty incredible things the past few days regarding Robin Williams and depression. I decided to collect a few of the ones that I felt most moved by here, but honestly, there is SO MUCH. My poor brain was feeling over saturated and I just had to draw the line somewhere. But if you have a story to share that you feel would help others connect or understand, it’s important that you do so. Your story is valid, and no one can tell it like you can.

If you have read or written a post that you would like to share, please leave the link in the comments. I’d love to read it, and I’m sure others would too.


Robin Williams and why funny people kill themselves – “The medium has nothing to do with it — comedy, of any sort, is usually a byproduct of a tumor that grows on the human soul.”

When Norm MacDonald met Robin Williams

Robin Williams: Where comedy and tragedy intersect – From Leslie Marinelli of In the Powder Room. “For someone as universally adored as Robin Williams to commit suicide, it is more clear to me than ever that depression is an equal-opportunity illness, and addiction is its evil sidekick, lurking in the shadows.”

There’s nothing selfish about suicide – From Katie Hurley on the Huffington Post. “People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. It’s selfish to leave children, spouses and other family members behind, so they say…Until you’ve stared down that level of depression, until you’ve lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness… you don’t get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won’t help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others.”

Suicide and choice: An open letter to Matt Walsh – From Reverend Jean-Daniel Williams. “If I commit suicide, perhaps, as you claim, it will be ‘’my’’ choice. But I doubt it. I have spent more than half my life listening to my own body betray me, my own mind telling me that it would be better to die. And while my external life circumstances have varied how tempting those whispers are, nothing has ever gone so well that they have stopped. No saving relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ. No compassionate bride holding my hands at the altar. No giggling twins in my arms. Nothing has made depression go away.”

Adventures in Depression and Depression: Part Two – From Hyperbole and a Half (must reads)

Why I am furious with Robin Williams – “I’m furious that his death has made me wonder if there may come a day when I’m not strong enough to fight. I’m terrified and enraged that his taking his own life has made me question myself.”

Robin Williams, Matt Walsh, Joy, and Silence – From Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary (and my former LTYM director whom I will really miss getting pancakes with this coming show season) “In reality, we don’t get to make our own conclusions about Robin Williams and his inner turmoil. In the same way, we don’t know why people like Matt Walsh feel inclined to use their platforms the way they do, believing they are doing some kind of good. We can’t name exactly what is broken in either of these lives. But just like you and me, both of these men are a mysterious joy and pain in one body, one soul. Matt Walsh says that the depressed person simply needs joy. I wonder if he knows that we each already have joy, and that so often, the pain of living, or the pain of illness or loss, suffocates that joy like a cobra around its neck.”

Depression Lies – From Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. The video is worth each and every of its 10 minutes.

Robin Williams’ divine madness will no longer disrupt the sadness of the world – If you’ve never read an essay by Russell Brand – yes, THAT Russell Brand, then you are missing out. Brand is a phenomenal writer. “When someone gets to 63 I imagined, hoped, I suppose, that maturity would grant an immunity to adolescent notions of suicide but today I read that suicide isn’t exclusively a young man’s game. Robin Williams at 63 still hadn’t come to terms with being Robin Williams.”

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  1. This is a good list. I’ve read so much but also missed some of these that you posted. It’s been a sad, heavy week, but I do feel that I’ve learned so much and my compassion and empathy for people in pain has grown. Thanks for putting this list of posts together my friend.

  2. This is an incredible collection. I had to stop reading everything on my news feed, it was just too much… Last night The Boyfran and I skipped the gym, threw out my healthy dinner and drank wine while eating pizza and watching Robin Williams Inside the Actors Studio. It was perfect.

    The quote from Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary is incredible. Those words are everything.

  3. I’ve read most of these, except for Russell Brand’s (who would have thunk that the man can write so brilliantly?).

    This has been a heavy, dark week. It’s hard to process. I’m glad I went offline (though involuntarily mostly) for a while. I watched Veep and ate ice cream instead.

  4. Excellent advice! Robin Williams will be a hero to many… I thought your readers who may be struggling and in need of help may be able to take something from my latest article. Thanks for helping spread the word about depression.

    While Robin Williams life was cut short due to the alleged affects of clinical depression, his legacy will not only live on as one of the best comedians of all time, but also as the face and inspiration behind depression awareness

    The Academy summed up one of the most powerful statements in reaction to the apparent suicide of Robin Williams…

    “Genie, you’re free.”

    News of Robin Williams’ tragic and unforeseen death spread like wildfire across the airwaves and Internet. The loss of one of the world’s most beloved, comical and outwardly ‘happy’ actors is still being digested in our souls.

    Our hearts not only go out to Robin Williams and his family, but also to those who have been moved by this iconic legend because of the joy he brought them both on and off the screens.

    Robin Williams will be a hero not only for his comedic genius, but for nearly 16 million Americans who are suffering from depression. People are talking more about depression – and I’d like to shed some light on an exceedingly common medical condition and ways to get treated holistically if you or a loved one is secretly suffering.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S., with an estimated 16 million U.S. adults experiencing at least one major depressive episode or bout of depressive symptoms between 2011 and 2012.

    Depression means feelings of intense sadness. Lasting for weeks, months or years on end, those with depression may feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless.

    Common Symptoms of Depression:

    · Feelings of depression, especially in the morning

    · Fatigue

    · Lack of concentration or indecisiveness

    · Feelings of restlessness

    · Significant weight loss or weight gain

    · Trouble sleeping, or excessive sleeping

    · Lack of interest or pleasure in activities

    · Feelings of guilt or insignificance

    · Recurring thoughts of suicide or death

    Clinical depression is a mental illness that CAN BE TREATED – without potentially harmful drugs that can make matters even worse.

    I’ll never forget my patient Annette who entered my office feeling ‘off.’ Periodically touching the walls of the hallway, she wasn’t sure of her balance… or really anything to be frank.

    “I’ve been depressed pretty much my whole life. It’s just that it’s gotten worse lately.” Annette continued, “My doctor changed my meds last December to a combination of Lexapro and Abilify but I still feel down,” Annette explained.

    Two out of three people treated for depression still have depressive symptoms. This is called treatment-resistant depression, and drugs such as Abilify are typically added to augment the effects of antidepressants. Unfortunately, they have side effects.

    Annette gained nine pounds when on Symbyax in just three weeks. As it turned out, Annette not only had hypothyroidism, a classic cause of depression, but also was deficient in Vitamin D, which is yet another cause of treatment-resistant depression and weight gain.

    Before resorting to synthetic drugs to treat your depression, try adding supplements or foods with these essential vitamins, minerals and oils. Physician discretion is advised.

    Anti-Depression Supplements & “Happy Foods”

    · Vitamin D

    o Sun exposure is not enough. Getting a little extra dose of vitamin D is extremely safe with no side effects.

    o Foods with Vitamin D:

    § Tuna

    § Mackerel

    § Salmon

    § Orange juice

    § Soy milk

    § Beef liver

    § Fortified cereals

    · Omega-3 Fats & Fish Oil

    o EPA is one of the most potent anti-depressants, so adding foods with omega-3’s may be a big help!

    o Foods with Omega-3 Fats and Fish Oil

    § Flaxseed

    § Fish:

    · Salmon

    · Tuna

    · Trout

    · Herring

    · Sardines

    § Walnuts

    § Soybeans

    § Shrimp

    § Brussels Sprout

    · B Vitamins & Folic Acid

    o Tufts University researchers found that blood levels high in folic acid were much lower among people with depression than in those who were not depressed.

    o Foods with B Vitamins & Folic Acid

    § Clams

    § Liver (Beef)

    § Fish

    § Soy Products

    § Cheese (Swiss)

    § Eggs

    § Crustaceans (Crabs)

    · Amino Acids

    o Give your serotonin levels a boost by adding a diet rich in protein such as meat, fish, eggs and beans. Serotonin is the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter that relays messages related to mood, sexual desire, memories, learning, temperature relation and more to the brain. If these levels are low, or not functioning properly, it can cause depression and other mental disorders.

    o Foods with Amino Acids

    § Nuts

    § Fish

    § Soy Protein

    § Eggs

    § Beans

    · SAM-e (Supplement Only)

    o SAM-e is produced in the body from methionine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, and the energy-producing compound adenosine triphosphate. Some studies concluded that SAM-e may be as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in relieving symptoms, although more research is still needed.

    If your blood work reveals that you are deficient in any of the above vitamins, minerals and essential acids and oils, you may have found your answer.

    Clinical depression is hard to deal with, but you are not alone.

    Robin Williams may have lost battle with depression, but those suffering with depression who are hearing more about it will help us all with the war. I believe his legacy beyond comedy and eternal laughter is his chance to save the lives of those struggling with depression. As the world continues to mourn his death, millions of people may gain a new life because of the increased awareness of clinical depression and its treatment.

    My condolences go out to Robin Williams, his family, friends and all those whom he’s had the grace of touching. Now lets do right by Robin Williams and continue to share more information about how we can treat clinical depression and save ourselves or our loved ones from this unfortunate fate.

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