Robin Williams

Have a child, write a book and plant a tree.

These things live on after you.

His last Instagram posting was of a picture of him with his daughter Zelda when she was a small child.

He said that his children gave him a sense of wonder.

I don’t know if Robin Williams planted a tree, but his chaotic genius planted light into the dark and he made me laugh when I was often at my lowest.

There was something about his stream of consciousness improvisation that scooped me up and dumped me on a life affirming roller-coaster.

For me Robin Williams was my mind altering substance of choice for all of my adult life.

His own existence seemed to mimic that fairground attraction and he was in mortal combat with his demons all of his days.

Perhaps only a tortured mind can harbour such brilliance.

Although I loved his movie characters it was the improvising Robin Williams onstage that unleashed his raw genius.

I would laugh uncontrollably.

We’re of the same generation, his TV career started when I was a twenty and he was twenty seven.

He arrived in my life from another planet.

It was love at first laugh.

I’m an only child, but I imagined having a big brother who was funny and smart like that.

An alien adoption.

Like all good friends I could hook up with him at any time and feel the better for spending time with him.

I watched a video of “Live at the Mets”-just before my finals at university.

Exams have always stressed me out and I go blank.

I forget what I know and I convince myself that I don’t know anything.

I sat in the house of friend who was also about to suffer ordeal by three hour closed paper.

My buddy brilliantly suggested that we watch this video.

We both laughed, we both chilled and we both passed.

It was like spending time with an old friend who just got us and knew what we needed.

As a movie actor he was a gem.

In the Fisher King he gave a stunning performance of recovery from life shattering grief and the power of forgiveness.

My favourite-everyone will have their own-was Bicentennial Man.

The combination Robin Williams and the writing of Isaac Asimov were heavenly for me.

Together they explored what it is to be human.

Robin Williams has left us such a magnificent legacy of side splitting characters and magical moments.

However his passing can also bequeath something of real value to the Twitter generation.

Depression is real.

It closes in on people until they don’t see any way out except to turn out the lights permanently.

If you know anyone who you are worried about then trust your instincts.

Nature equipped you with those early warning circuits so act on them.

If you are concerned then you’re probably right and if you’re wrong then no harm done and if you don’t know how to reach out then get trained.

Mental illness is real and kills people just like heart disease and cancer.

However,the medical terms that have come into everyday usage were not created to be barbs be thrown at people.

If you find yourself doing that then you’re not quite there yet as a sentient, feeling human being.

Ridding society of prejudicial attitudes to mental health problems is a job for all of us.

My participation in this Amnesty International campaign in Ireland in 2010 handed a weapon to others who wished to further smear me.

I knew this was the likely cost of my participation, but I considered it a price worth paying to take part in something this worthwhile.

Give that these same folks found a Famine funny then I didn’t expect much humanity from them in the first place.

I loved Robin Williams for his genius, but most of all for his humanity.

Moreover, I never got the sense that any minority or disempowered group were the targets of his wit.

I always felt better after being in his electronic presence.

From Mork and Mindy he seems to have been intervening in my life with emergency supplies of mirth.

Like a Paramedic he was on hand when I was in crisis.

This man could always make me laugh.

Now that wonderful mind has finally stopped creating for us and torturing him.

I’m trying not to think of the despair of his last days.

Dear reader, this is important, someone somewhere in your life, a relative, a work colleague, the person next door, will one day be close to the edge.

Your help can make the difference.

Suicide is a permanent solution to what is almost always a temporary problem.

You can train on an ASIST course and, crucially, you can look at how you use the terminology of mental health problems in everyday discourse.

The people who use terms like “depression” in an attempt to diminish someone who suffers from what killed Robin Williams are part of the problem.

Ridding society of prejudicial attitudes to mental health problems is a job for all of us.

Last night I cried at the news of the circumstances of his passing.

Today the world is one genius short.

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