Robin Williams, the whole trip to Oz

Robin WilliamsThe shocking news of Robin Williams’ suicide has left us all heartbroken and reeling. Robin’s death seems so antithetical to the Robin we saw brimming with life. He took on the world with his cutting-edge humor and supersonic mind. He was a trip unto himself.

We would stay up late knowing Robin Williams was on the late-night talk show. We would go the movie because he was in it. We loved him so. He was funny, funny, funny — and so outrageous. We sometimes gasped and howled because we couldn’t believe he said the things he said. His mind was rapid-fire. Robin could get to the core of an issue in no time flat, be it comedy or drama. As an actor, he knew how to plumb the depths of his characters and reveal their humanness.

And it was that very humanness of Robin Williams that rang so true with all of us. Remember his devotion to his dear friend, Christopher Reeves? We felt he was one of us – even in the public eye.

Robin Williams was the whole trip to Oz – he had brains, courage, and heart.

And just like the rest of us, he struggled with his demons.

Research tells us that the majority of suicides are the result of three factors:

  1. Mental illness
  2. Substance abuse
  3. Combination of mental illness and substance abuse

Mr. Williams had long struggles with both depression and addiction. These biological vulnerabilities took considerable energy for him to control and contain throughout his lifetime.

Depression shrinks your world. It’s as if you are held tightly in a dark, airless room. You feel constricted and limited. There is no room to move or stretch into a new perspective. There are few options and little hope. And there is precious little light to see beyond the edge of your pain. You are held hostage by your neurochemicals.  And addiction further jangles your neurochemicals and ratchets your pain to a new high.

To those of us left behind, suicide often does not make sense. We wonder “Why?” And there is never one easy answer.

Suicide is a response to a confluence of factors, such as your personal biochemical make-up, accumulated stressors, pain of all kinds, disconnections, and the like. We can only guess that the weight of what Robin Williams was carrying became too, too much and he sought relief and release in the only way that seemed possible at the moment.

We will miss you, Robin Williams. Thank you for your remarkable talents and gifts. Thank you for stretching our hearts, opening our minds, and sharing your sparkle. Those of us on planet Earth – and, of course, planet, Ork — will be reflecting your light right back to you. You are well loved and will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace, dear man.

P.S. And given the amplitude of your sparkle, I am counting on you to continue to be a force for good … from the Other Side.

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4 Responses to Robin Williams, the whole trip to Oz

  1. Colleen August 13, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    As you know– I so love you and so, so relate to your work. This is one of the better blogs about Robin Williams and I hope to open some minds and hearts by forwarding it on…
    Great news about the book! Looking forward to reviewing the ‘work’ you’ve been about for so long.. Grin and many hugs, Colleen

  2. tevye brown August 13, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    As always you go to the heart of the issue making it clear and accessible adding your own spirit and light to lift our spirits.

    Thank you for this post.


  3. Deborah August 13, 2014 at 7:02 am #

    Adele, one of your very best writings. You were able to let us glimpse what he experienced at the end and then gave us some hope. Dear Man exactly. Thank you , Deborah

  4. Na'ama Yehuda August 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    Amen. So very well said, Adele.
    It is heartbreaking to know he felt so heartbroken and so unable to see another way to continue to be, could not see from inside of his personal black hole of despair. Oh, if only he could know the light he shone, and could have some of it for himself, lighting the way within him. My prayers with his loved ones, with his friends, with those whose lives he touches with such grace and laughter–so many times such excellent medicine.
    I think his light will paint another Milky Way, it is so bright.
    May he rest in peace. A gentle soul with a giant heart and such tender, tender strings.