To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams

Oh, no...Robin Williams. Why?!! What a beautiful, sweet man he seemed to be. When my sister in law worked at a bookstore in Glen Ellen, one summer afternoon as she was closing, a man came to the locked glass door and started banging on it, frantically, and obviously needed help. When she went up to open it, it was Robin Williams. He had been running (it was about a hundred degrees out) and thought he was going to have heatstroke. She sat him down, gave him ice water, and he called his wife to come get him. As they sat, he saw the book The NeverEnding Story and said they were filming this next to his set for some movie he was in. Because she was so kind, and didn't freak out (until she got me on the phone later that night, LOL), he would come into the store just before it closed to buy books from her. She said he was always gentle, gracious, and, of course, very funny.
My heart goes out to his family, friends, loved ones, fans, and all who have been touched by the work of this wonderful man. Whatever demons may have driven him to this, highlights our need to be compassionate towards all people who suffer from depression and other "mental illnesses", and be loving towards them, not sit in cruel judgement. Each one of us has known the edge.
May his laughter resonate through the cosmos.
Robin Willliams, 1951-2014.

And please, if anyone reading this is near the edge that sweet Mr. Williams felt he could not come back from on this tragic day, please know that you are loved, that your life is precious, and that whatever pain you are in, will not last, that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you need to be in a hospital to say safe, go and do not listen to any idiots who might judge you for taking care of yourself (I have such a person in my life, or had, who displays his shameful ignorance and lack of compassion every time he opens his trap on the subject). Ignore such Neanderthals; Behavioral Health Units are not Bedlam and are designed to be a place of kindness and refuge, and they are full of good and professional people who will care for you and help you find your way again. When I was on the BHU for a few days, for PTSD after a sexual assault, there was a high-ranking Silcon Valley executive who had gotten addicted to Vicodin for a back injury, a delightful Vietnamese grandmother who had PTSD from seeing her entire family killed in front of her during the Vietnam war, a doctor, two teachers, a father who was working too much as a chef at Whole Foods and was getting zero sleep--in fact, 3/4 of the people were simply exhausted and overworked.  No one is exempt from needing to find help in such a place, including the cave people who dare to judge.  

People who spread ignorance about those who seek help in Behavioral Health Units make themselves look like cruel and selfish morons, and how horrible it would be if they contributed to someone's suicide or self-harm by making someone feel too ashamed to seek such help. I hope no one was in Mr. Williams' life who made him feel such shame.

I promise that even less than stellar hospitals are much better than the alternative if you are suicidal and that people who truly love you will never, ever hold such a thing against you.  If you are one of those judgemental people who thinks seeking help in a Behavioral Health Unit is a mark of shame, shut your pie-hole and remember that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. 

If you are at the edge, or feel you are on the way to it, do not be ashamed and do not be afraid to reach out for help, even if you have to go to a BHU.  I only wish Mr. Williams had been able to get himself to such a safe place today, and my heart goes out to his dear wife and children.

 If you are in pain like this today, or any day, find a place of safety: go to a hospital, call a friend, call a suicide prevention line, call the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, ask a loved one to stay with you, even find a 12-step meeting anywhere (even if you are not an alcoholic, etc--12-steppers love visitors and you will find love and compassion there even if you do not say a word. There are often AA meetings 24 hours a day in many cities). Do not end the gift of your life. May Robin's death shed light on our great need for love and open arms in this troubling world.