Robin Williams and Manic Depression: Bipolar Disorder Doesn’t Choose

Robin Williams and Manic Depression: Bipolar Disorder Doesn’t Choose
Robin Williams and Manic Depression: Bipolar Disorder Doesn’t Choose

We bet everyone was shocked to find out that one of America’s most beloved funnymen had hung himself. And if you have suffered from depression – the news should have been even more disturbing. It is believed that one in ten Americans suffers from this affliction. If you are one of them, to hear such news probably got you worried for your own life and future.

“It doesn’t matter if Robin Williams was officially bipolar. What matters is that he represented manic depression.”

Dr. Drew commented on the death of the actor: “It’s almost unimaginable how someone who has so much joy in his life, and who brings so much joy to others, could be in a state of misery.” But not to us, it wasn’t.

jumanjiEven if you’re not his biggest fan, you’ve had an experience to meet his works, whether it was Good Will Hunting or Jumanji.

Maybe you didn’t know, but in late 1999 Jay Moloney, a young Hollywood talent agent, committed suicide – and he was not only cocaine addict but also a manic-depressive. Back then it was hardly comfortable to talk about bipolar disorder. It would take a decade before bipolar celebrities – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Patrick Kennedy – would start discussing their illness.

Manic depression is another name for bipolar disorder, and it is characterized by the dangerous mood swings – from severe depression to high-wire mania. If depression can be grasped by the majority, mania can be difficult to understand. And if sometimes it seems like another euphoric person, bursting with ideas, it can actually reach the point of full-on delusion and madness.

Timothy Treadwell

Timothy Treadwell

Famous people with Bipolar Disorder

If we try to look among other famous people, we will notice Bruno Zehnder, a fearless penguin photographer, who froze to death in 1997. Another is Timothy Treadwell, the hyperkinetic bear enthusiast better known as “The Grizzly Man.”

For the record, media reports say different things: some that Williams was bipolar, some that he was not. In 2006, Williams himself said that he has never been diagnosed with either manic or clinical depression. So maybe he was. Or wasn’t. Or like many people with psychiatric issues, he just didn’t want to call himself that.

Read more: 11 Famous People with Depression 

Bipolar disorder can’t be diagnosed through blood tests or any other tests. It is a part of a long broad diagnostic spectrum. Manic depression can be misdiagnosed as depression and vice versa.

But for many people, it doesn’t really matter whether Williams was or wasn’t officially bipolar. His behavior DID represented manic-depression population. He was like its ideal, the happiest personification of itself.

Robin Williams and Manic Depression

crazy_onesIf we try to follow the ups and downs of his life, we’ll notice that he has always betrayed degrees of melancholy and madness, but when he filmed in a sitcom The Crazy Oneshis eyes seemed sunken. His comic riffs were downright manic. And then the news of him being in a poor health… The jumps from comedy to tragedy and vice versa are connected in the oddest way to the bipolar disorder. And here he is – one more sparkly manic-depressive, or whatever he was, switching from unexplained euphoria to unbearable depression.

As many people, suffering from bipolar disorder and other mental diseases and treating themselves with drugs, Williams tried to find the salvation in drugs and alcohol. And as a consequence, he ended up to the chin in all that stuff. For a very long period of time, he was trying to conquer his addiction and, what is more, he was never shy to share this story with others. “It’s not caused by anything – the addiction is just there. It lies in wait for the time when you think you’re okay”, said Robin Williams at one of his interviews several years ago.

robin_williams_headerAnd it looks like the time for addiction had come: the drug problems caught Williams once again, he went to ask doctors for help but they didn’t have time to help him. The sadness, the depression put Robin Williams into the hopelessness situation one more time, one last time. On August 11 Robin Williams was found dead. He committed suicide.

References

1. http://www.commdiginews.com/health-science/health/how-do-i-know-if-i-have-bipolar-disorder-23789/

2. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/08/11/robin-williams-bipolar-sufferer-dead-at-63-due-to-suicide/

3. http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/08/robin-williams-depression

Addition:

4. http://www.holliseaster.com/p/talking-about-suicide-robin-williams/

5. http://reboundbrooklyn.com/robin-williams-depression-addiction-open-heart-surgery-parkinsons/

6. http://letsqueerthingsup.com/2014/10/16/its-all-fun-and-games-until-someone-dies-amanda-bynes-robin-williams-and-the-spectacle-of-mental-illness/

7. http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/14027

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One comment

  1. 1

    Hey.I’m a 100% non synthetically-medicated pshtyocic kid. Diagnosed schizophrenic and have very serious positive symptoms and equally horrible negative symptoms. Here is what I do to keep on top of the depression that is one of my negative symptoms.1) Omega 3 Fish Oil. You may have to buy a brand manufactured for kids because adult brands don’t tend to be filtered for mercury and you DEFINITELY want a mercury-free product. 2) Multi-vitamins. Take something with a very high iron, vitamin D and magnesium.3) Exercise. If you’re overweight, a healthier bodyweight will help you out. If you’re not, exercise will still release endorphins. Personally when I’m at my worst I do yoga from flashcards, (this is when I cannot leave the house) boxing, and jumping jacks while a music channel (usually rock but I figure anything with a good beat that you like listening to when you’re happy will work) is on. I also go running, when I’m not as bad, usually in a forest on warm days or at a beach on cold days, somewhere where I’ll be alone with nature and my ipod. 4) Music. I mentioned the music channel & ipod above, but I also blare Queen, Bowling for Soup, Blink-182 and the All-American Rejects (aka nobody who sings about death, depression, suicide, sadness, or has a downbeat – less than 4/4 – track) and I HATE IT. It makes me MAD and MAD is better than depressed. It is more productive. ;]5) I force myself to do things I enjoy when I’m happy. I take a shower with the nice smelling soap and warm my towels on the radiator, I watch the funny episodes of Firefly and my favourite films and read magazines and This Book Will Save Your Life (A.M Homes – it’s my favourite book). And if that sucks, I do the laundry and hoover. For me what works is just keeping moving. Then even if my whole day sucks and I can’t bear it, the next day I can wake up to something good I’ve done and maybe feel better for it – or I have fond memories of my favourite movie etc.6) My favourite one – I read a book I’ve written. It’s a big old book that I bought ages ago and when I’m happy, I write things I like in the book. Stupid stuff like, Xander from Buffy, and the sound from line arrays, and Diamond 4’s, and sherbert lemons, and Harry Potter 1, and Gandhi quotes, things that have no consequence. If I’m only mildly down, it can get me back up.7) Meditation. Just sit quietly and concentrate on not concentrating on anything. If that makes sense. Don’t allow yourself to have thoughts. Let your only thought be the thought that stops you thinking about anything. It sounds complex but you probably get my meaning. I like to meditate either in the dark in my room but the sunlight is good for depression so I force myself to sit in the middle of the living room with all the shades open in the sunlight. Therapy. Not from a councillor – from a psychologist, in particular a psychologist who is a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist – these people are like GOLDDUST. They will teach you how to get through your worst moments and help you tailor your recovery techniques to your own personality. Plus, they’re also usually really cool not-up-themselves people. Interview a few different psych’s if you can, and if they’re in an office and wearing a suit, don’t bother. Find someone who wears jeans and listens to the music you like and likes the TV shows you like, so you geniunely like their company and that way, you’ll get a lot more out of your time with them – it’ll be more friendly and less clinical. And that in itself will lift your mood.Please bear in mind that the most important thing to have to get over depression without meds is psychological resilience. You need to be the type of depressed person who says, this sucks, but I WILL GET THROUGH THIS. I WILL NOT GIVE UP.. I WILL FORCE MYSELF THROUGH THIS. If you’re prone to giving up (I am not saying this is something to be ashamed of, it’s just something to be honest about – I understand fully that being a can’t-be-f*cking-bothered/don’t-want-to-can’t-make-me depressive is horrific and not something the depressive can help) you may have to come to terms with the fact that you may need a low dosage of meds (Citalopram is good in low doses) to get you through, and you may have to rely more heavily on therapy. Either way, get a CBT and remember you are not alone, and you should never give up on yourself.’When all you’ve got to keep is strong, move along. And even when your hope is gone, move along.’Good luck. Was this answer helpful?

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