not true. not true. not true.

disclaimer. i am not a mental health professional. i know nothing about nothing. i am not a drug and alcohol counsellor. I have never been to rehab.

robin williams.

i’ve waited a day to try to compose this, and i’m not trying to make anybody freaked out. but here’s what i wonder…

what’s crappy about the story in the media — as it’s being presented — is that we don’t know how much he was reaching out. we don’t know if he was working his ‘program’ …

Depression / alcohol likes to get us alone in a room and convince us we’re not worthwhile. Which is total bullshit. and anyone he would have asked, would have told him that his thoughts about himself and his situation just were not true.

that noise in his head? not true. not true. not true.

i know. this is really hard shit. it really is. and what other people think about you isn’t enough to change what you think about you.

but if you stop 1000 people on the street, and they agree that you’re a pretty decent human, and you’re still like “oh i’m a fuck up” then it’s POSSIBLE that your brain is lying to you. well, it’s possible, right?

i don’t want to ‘blame the victim’. If i’m worried about what happened, and feel like it ‘could happen to me’, then i think this: maybe he wasn’t reaching out (enough). maybe he’d tried medications but hadn’t gone back to have them adjusted. Maybe he felt worthless and couldn’t figure a way out and he stopped reaching out. If he was in rehab last month maybe he came home too soon and could have stayed longer, but he thought he ‘was fine’…

We don’t know the whole big story. What we’re presented in the media makes it seem, in a very tiny (small-print) way, like what happened to him was inevitable. He struggled he struggled he struggled he died.

The very real idea of depression and booze is there in the media story, but they don’t focus enough, in my opinion on: “if you feel crappy, it’s entirely possible that your brain is lying to you. so tell someone. take your medications. tell someone else. bang on doors until you get some answers. and don’t give up.

cuz that lying part of your brain? not true. not true. not true.




I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Very good that/if Ur reading this I think the overwhelming which u talk about along side loosening weight really hits home big time/I’m slightly under weight an more of a girl thing I thought so I wasent going to bother reading them/if it’s a consolation ta👍

  • Some days after a particularly bad night, it *fleetingly* occurs to me that there is a way to end it. It then goes away just as quickly, as I realize “this too shall pass” and think about my family, children and friends and realize how loved and missed I would be. I realize that voice isn’t “me” talking to me. I ABSOLUTELY believe in the bad voice. Haven’t neuroscientists figured out yet which part of the brain does this to us ? I think they have … I feel so naive and uneducated on that (as someone that should certainly be studying it) .. but I don’t think it is known YET how to treat it directly. Anyone ? Therapy and meds for depression, anxiety, etc get NEAR it, but they DON’T make it go away. My hope is that some day there will be a medication that can make that crazy voice go away, the one that gets in the way of logic and what is real. Why would a man like Robin Williams take his own life? Clearly, something is off in his brain. Is it CAUSED by the booze.drugs.other or was it ALREADY THERE? Anyone have any ideas ? Maybe he was “off” booze and drugs, or maybe he wasn’t, but still, how bad does it have to get for someone like him to leave this world? His kids, his wife, his fans … Surely his money troubles or cancelled TV show wouldn’t put him over the edge. Something must be off in the brain when this happens. Something more than just Wolfie. thoughts?

  • Thanks for sharing the thoughtful comments, Belle. As someone who has struggled with 2 bouts of major clinical depression in my life, I would add that for me, when I was in the depths of the depressions, it was so dark, and my perception of life was so distorted that I absolutely could not have pulled myself out, or even asked for help. Thank God I had people around me who reached out and got me the help I could not get for myself. And the alcohol, well that was my shitty way to medicate. So, I have the depression on the run for now, but am still finding my way out of the drink. Thank you for being here for all of us.

  • It is hard to imagine that someone with so much success and fame can feel so depressed and alone. However, like you stated, we never know what is going on behind closed doors or even in someone’s mind. It makes me think about how uncaring our society can be at times. People tend to be more uncomfortable when others are in distress than they should be. I wish he hadn’t gotten to that point in his life. I hope others do not follow in those footsteps. It’s truly a shame and very sad to know how depression, alcoholism and the feeling of hopelessness can affect even the greatest of people.

  • What we know for sure is we don’t know the whole story. THAT has been my problem with the media regarding everything from politics to Hollywood. As for Robin Williams, my heart aches for his family and friends. My heart aches for all of us who loved his work. I didn’t know him personally, but he made a lasting impression on me. He was one of us. Human. Imperfect. Just another soul living here on earth trying to figure things out. No, we don’t know what he was thinking in his final moments, but does that really matter? He was funny as hell, he made us laugh and cry and for that gift, I will forever be grateful.

    As for depression and alcoholism-Well, I can only speak for myself. At 5 months, I’m not even close to being an expert on either subject. Waking up every day and actually “seeing” the beauty around me helps my mental stability. What I think to be true is normally how I feel. So if I see a childs footprints in the sand and think, “look at those beautiful marks in the sand,” I will smile to myself and for that moment, I feel happy inside. As I continue through the day, I keep practicing finding the gifts that have always been layed in front of me, but I’ve missed. It is this gratitude that keeps me going.

    But my mind is wired differently from others and perhaps its just not that easy for some of us. Clearly Robin had the resources availabe. Whether he used them or not is another story and I prefer not to focus on the negative of his life. I’m sorry he is gone. I will miss his work, but I will remember him for the legacy of laughter he left behind, not for his death.

  • Those voices can be intensely strong. So can the effects of knowing you are hurting your family over and over again. And-if by chance-you are drinking when you know you shouldn’t, know it is killing you and killing your family, you decide it’s not worth fighting anymore. Those lies scream out “you’ve done rehab, AA, etc. and you are still drinking. You and your family would be better off if you just died. You wouldn’t have to put them through this ever again. Obviously you can’t quit. You’ve tried so many times. It’s just not worth it anymore.” I don’t know, but I could see this as a possible scenario, as I have felt that way at times. Thankfully, at 20 some days sober, I can’t imagine ever going back. Even if I wanted to, I will use examples like Robin Williams to remind me that it’s not worth the drink. Such a tragedy. The hopelessness he must have felt. It’s tough fighting this battle when no one is really watching. How hard must it have been knowing the whole world is watching, and once again, failing. I am so saddened by this, yet even more determined for it to never happen to me. RIP Robin.

  • As one who was diagnosed with clinical depression (a brain illness) 25 years ago – I’m hoping that these conversations will become more common place. I was lucky – the Prozac worked for me and I feel “normal.” I hate the Prozac jokes. I hate that people refer to them as “happy pills.” I hate that I need to keep this illness to myself and cannot share with friends and neighbors who would judge me differently. But all those diagnosed with depression are not the same and meds don’t work well for everyone. I know of several who still battle with the constant feeling of worthlessness as they continue to change meds and see different therapists. At some point, victims like Robin may choose to give in to the voices…so very sad.

  • I have had many (12 or so) day ones this year. Alcohol makes me depressed, and then the depression makes it hard to quit. After learning of Robin Williams death I promptly looked at my addiction in a new light. Now it isn’t “oh, I don’t want to be hungover everyday or I could save $10 bucks a day by not buying wine.” Now it’s “I need to quit to live.” Today is day 2 for me. Rest in peace Robin.

  • I may get some real abuse for saying this – but I think it’s worth bringing up. When I heard the terrible news, one of my first thoughts was that if he hadn’t been a Hazelden patient, would things have gone differently? Hazelden has saved the lives of many people, and they do AMAZING work with addicts, but they are also known for taking an extremely hard line on any and all mood-altering substances. Anti-depressant and mood-stabilizing drugs are seen as just another crutch, and no different from alcohol and street drugs. So I suspect he was trying to muscle through his mental illness with only the help of his higher power. And that makes me very sad.

  • Thanks for your post Belle. We usually dont know which comes first, depression or alcoholism. The addicts I know have certainly self medicated themselves thus became alcoholics/addicts after they have felt down or otherwise crappy. It’s not a happy circle, booze and depression, and not reaching out is certainly easier than asking for help. I find talking about sober life very hard sometimes, even with people who have been sober for years. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to talk about it on this forum. It’s absurd that going down with substance abuse and taking granted what your brain is feeding you is easier than stopping the crap and reaching out. And here’s the funny thing, life is pretty random when you dont reach out or even if you happen to relapse. During even a short relapse one can end up with a bad patch of smack and your out just like that. That is why we need to cherish the sober times and think of ways that can prevent relapses cause we can prevent them if we can. We have the tools and no matter who we are rich or poor we can use the different tools to be without booze and crap that comes with it.

  • A really good piece written in regard to Robin’s death is by someone from his community … yesterday’s comment by Anne Lamott on her Facebook page. If you are unfamiliar with Annie’s writing you are definitely missing out on a great author.

  • Glad you chimed in on this. I was wondering what your thoughts were.

    Robin had an uber-intense personality, I don’t know if it was only depression, I suspect he had more complicated issues. I always that being him would be very hard. That said, I don’t just blame the booze for his death, he was just trying to temper down that hard charging energy and a deep dark depression.

    He had that characteristic which often which is the same thing that makes people ‘genius’ the very thing that makes them unable to find that balance when they need it and they often turn to substances of all types. He must have been simply exhausted. I have felt that way, the hopeless times. I feel so sorry for his family too, how helpless they feel. Many of us have been there too.

    Anyway, I just overheard a woman on the phone talking about her daughter who got busted for possession and was on probation for an alcohol related legal problem – she was trying to get her back into rehab. This problem is so extensive, I wanted to help her help her daughter I could hear and see how worn out she is from trying.

    All I know, is that it is miracle and I am grateful for all you because you’re pretty much all I have and it really has been making all the difference. The “inevitable” way the media treats it, yeah, that has been disgusting me too. They thrive on the drama of failure because people who got sober don’t make ratings. Sorry this is so long.

    Don’t ever lose hope ~ Belle’s right ~ not true!

    • the part i like about your comment is this: “because people who got sober don’t make ratings.” i think i’d like to change that. i never wanted to be the poster child for ‘alcohol misuse’, but i could totally get behind being the poster child for “give up booze, feel better.”

  • Our minds/brain processes are our best friend and ally and also our worst enemy and duplicitous foe. Mind your minds folks, take care of your mental health.
    If your inner voice is running you down, reach out. Tell one person and hear how loved and valued you are.

    Poor Robin, may he rest in peace.

    Thanks for the post

  • well said Belle~ great blog post. we need to stress to people that you need to reach out~ we all have seen people “hide” their addictions~ you can “hide” your depression too. We need to encourage people to reach out for help and we need to break the stigma that people addictions or mental health issues are bad or people that can’t be helped. Thanks for your post!

  • I think what saddens me the most is the media is blaming everything on depression and NOT the booze. Once again, we are turning a blind eye on the real problem and dismissing it as an unfortunate event.
    Had Robin W. died of a heroin overdose, we (the media) would surely have been quick in pointing out the dangers of heroin or (insert “dangerous” drug here) but because it was caused by the most used and accepted “legal” drug in the world, Robin was found dead from asphyxiation and not of alcohol addiction.
    When will we see the lie?
    just my two cents.

  • The more and more I am learning about this despicable disease, and how the mix of Addiction and Depression are actually quite deadly it makes me want to reach out more and more.. I want answers and thoughts and ideas because my lying brain tells me some crazy shit.. Now hearing the news of Robins death really has become such a media frenzy, and what I keep thinking about his children and the aftermath and the questions they will have.. ugh Belle, this shit is so close to home it makes me want to learn and teach others on the ins and outs of it all.. I have seen some comments on it like he is a disappointment or a selfish person for doing this.. My question is, how is it selfish? When we are in the throws of what ever is our deepest darkest point and the only answer is to just die, how could that make someone be disappointed??? Depression, suicide, addiction, these things are not things that people stand in line for because it is the best thing ever.. (in my opinion and in my experience) No it is something so real and raw and has such stigma people do not want to reveal this side of them.. We hide it until it is so bad we cannot take our own minds any more..

    • Lex, I agree. I think there is huge stigma still attached to depression. Many people don’t understand what it is, and seem to refuse to acknowledge it as an illness which requires treatment. I’ve suffered from it myself – once had some time off sick from work because of it. A couple of years later I heard someone I know referring to a work colleague of theirs who was off work with stress (and depression? I’m not sure). He referred to is as ‘gardening leave’. I was furious, but didn’t feel I could say anything. Hiding it away is the worst thing to do – I think Belle is right, if you reach out for support you’re much more likely to get better. But if you fall down too deep, I think you can fall beyond that point of asking for help – as if the brain is too ill to know how to get help.
      It’s just heartbreaking to think that he was suffering so badly.


  • I was so very shocked and saddened by his death. What struck me the most is his death is even more evidence that money & fame do not equal happiness and that having the very best treatment, which I’m sure he had, does not guarantee success. I’m sad that his life ended so tragically and will keep his family in my thoughts & prayers. if there really is a heaven, I bet all the angels are cracking up right now.

    • i’m not sure i agree with you 🙂 not to be contrary, but having access to good care and taking advantage of good care are two different things. It’s too easy for our brains to think “if he couldn’t get well, then *i* certainly can’t” … when we don’t know if he was working his program, if he was getting enough help, if he was using the help that was available to him. yes, maybe he was. maybe he really did try every single thing. but in our heads, it’s very easy to slide to thinking “this sucks, even for him, so i might as well not try.” Which is just not true. at all.

  • So many people just don’t get just how powerful that voice in your head is. How many times have we heard “just don’t do it…” shit, if it was that easy no one would have substance abuse issues unless they really wanted to and who really wants to….so sad