Thursday, September 18, 2014

the genius and sadness of Robin Williams

You're only given a little spark of madness.
You mustn't lose it.
- Robin Williams
When I first heard
of Robin Williams’ death,
my first thought was:

can’t be.

I’ve always loved Robin Williams.
His genius was palpable.
People like Robin
are few & far between.
When someone like this dies
and so many people feel the ripple of sadness,
you just know the world lost
an important person.

A few things stayed with me
when I heard of his death,
but in particular, a comment I heard
by his good friend, the famous David Letterman,
where he said this about his lifelong friend:
I’m sorry, like everybody else,
I had no idea that the man was in pain,
that the man was suffering.
That’s it, isn’t it?
That’s the point for someone who is battling 
serious depression.
Not letting it show.
Not wanting others to know.
Not letting the world see the sadness.
The darkness is too much for them to bear
so why would they want to share it?

If David Letterman, who was a true friend
and had been for so many years didn’t see it,
how could anyone else see it?
With depression,
it’s not about how many friends you have,
or how many people love you,
it’s about how you feel inside.
Robin Williams was loved by millions.
He had countless, profound friendships
and relationships
with people all over the world.
And yet…
he felt alone.
I am nowhere near understanding depression,
but I still believe there are many people out there
who are using depression (or mental illness)
as an excuse to get attention
or sympathy,
or a week off work.
A disgrace to those who struggle with the real thing,
day in, day out.
Like Robin did.
It makes me sad to know
that so many out there reach the point
of no return.
I am sad that Robin saw this
as his only way out.
Sad that he got so good
at hiding it from the world.
Sad that the world lost so much
when he decided
to leave…


  1. Good Will Hunting along with Robin always on top of my list of favorites. I felt the same as you when I heard.. I was crippled with sadness.. I think depression is way under reported than over reported. Many go around not even realizing what's happening. The closest I came to even knowing what depression feels like is when I went through several bouts of grief. Other than that I have seen how debilitating it can's so sad to watch a person suffer with it and have your hands tied not knowing how to help.This is a wonderful piece of artwork.. I love it!. Canadian James Picard did a Robin Williams this week too!! Rest in peace Robin you were so loved and will live on in our hearts!

  2. This portrait is amazing. The only thing that I would change is his eye color, because he had the most beautiful blue eyes. However, it's hard for me to believe that anyone would use "depression" to get attention or a week off work. At least I don't know of anyone. I think that it is more likely that those people really are depressed, but others just don't understand them and then they say that they are faking it. Because if you do seek attention, there must be something deeply wrong. I know/knew a lot of people who were suffering because of depression and/or alcoholism and I've seen that everyone is at a different stage and coping differently. Some are seeking attention because they suffer, but they still have a little hope left that they could be saved - they just don't know how to help themselves. I think that everyone who is showing signs of depression should be taken seriously, because the sooner you start to treat it, the more chance that this person can have a decent life again.

  3. Hi Pauline. I am in agreement with everything you've said about depression. I've lived with a bi-polar patient and know how dark a place that can be! I am most awestruck by the sadness you have manged to convey in this painting of a 'smiling' Robin Williams. It's sad but true- when a person is truly dreressed, they are alone in it. Also, an act of 'finishing it all' does not happen when they are depressed because in their deepest depression they can not even bring themselves to brush their teeth, let alone plan a suicide. It's when they are recovering or have recovered (i.e. when they seem 'normal' to the world) that they take this step. So, even in their 'normal' time, family and friends have to be careful.