Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams' passing

I suspect every manic-depressive views Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters and George Carlin as brothers-in-arms. It's obvious we fought the same demons.

My manic-depressive cycle still gives me problems but they're easy to live with because I'm one of the lucky ones. Medication works for me. I love my life and enjoy every day, but it wasn't always that way. I had years of horror. Mind you, I'm not saying I no longer suffer from mania or depression, but it's so much better than before the drugs.

People who don't suffer from bi-polar disorder (another name for it) don't really understand the stress it places on a person.  And the three men I mention were not only manic-depressive (I'm not sure all three copped to this in their lives, but it's so obvious to me that I call it what it is) -- they were also super-creative geniuses. That adds a lotta coal to the fire. Plus, they lived their lives in the public eye: again, a major stressor.

Sure, it's fun when you're manic. It's wild fun. In fact, there's nothing like it (except using methedrine). When we saw Robin Williams on stage, we always saw a manic fellow. I don't think anyone reading this would deny that this is the case. In fact, I doubt you can be that "quick on your feet" without mania.

But the energy of mania comes from a finite source: the person's own reserves. I'm sure this is why manic-depressives devolve into a depressed state afterwards. You cannot run your body's engine at 200 mph constantly. You run out of steam at some point. And then you fall off the manic high and tumble into the depths of depression. It's your body's coping mechanism. It needs time to recharge -- and it doesn't feel good at all.

Slipping from mania into depression is exactly like coming down from speed. Those of you who have experienced this, know how depressed you can feel when you're coming down. It's a nightmare. So it's easy for me to understand how a creative genius whose career virtually required that he be manic 24/7 could choose to kill himself.

What a loss. I loved this man, as many of you did. But don't blame him for committing suicide. It's a rough way to live.

Please know that I'm not making any comparison between my life and the life of Robin Williams (or Jonathan Winters and George Carlin). I'm not a creative genius; they were/are (JW is still alive). Consider, if you will, the tired face of George Carlin just before his death, and the similar visage of Jonathan Winters in his later years. Exhaustion: that's what I see. And it's coupled with depression. In a sense, physics did them in. You cannot be "high" (i.e., manic) all the time. The crash was always coming, for all three of them.

That's what I think happened to this fine man. I'll miss him. Just thought I'd offer my perspective on it. What a loss.