The Tears Of A Clown


I thought about what my small part of the world would be like if I wasn’t in it, today. This would be revelation, a cry for help, for someone else, but when you have mental illness, it’s called Monday. Being bi-polar is like this, especially when you cycle into the depression part.

A man whose world was a bit larger because of fame attributed to his grand talent and amazing career did the same, but he followed through, taking his own life. Robin Williams is gone, and it’s because he had a disease of the mind he couldn’t cure with great humor or unique artistic talent.


Williams is listed on several internet sites as being bi-polar. He talked openly about his battle with depression as well as addictions to alcohol and cocaine. Being born in 1951, his disease was called manic depression for decades. He’s known for his rapid fire improvisational skills, ability to turn anything into a hilarious monologue or unforgettable character, and dramatic turns in such films as Good Morning, Vietnam, The Fisher King, Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting. The last of which, he won a best supporting actor trophy in 1998.

I don’t know what happened to Robin Williams on his Monday. He obviously had a worse one than I. Sadness is what I feel because his torch of genius has been extinguished. There are so few of them left, geniuses, I mean.

He had a wife and 3 kids, just like me. He had people to talk to and a lot of money to hire others to listen. None of this makes him any better or worse than those of us who don’t have the same resources. If anything, it makes us related, held together by the bond of sickness.

I lost count of how many times I cried today. Traveling into the dark hole of hurt is like that. You want to stay by yourself, so the happy people around you won’t be burdened. This is the worst thing you should do, but I do it a lot.

Robin Williams meant a lot to me, and I admired him, for his talent and his brutal honesty of his troubled mind. He made me laugh, he made me cry, and in a way that few others before him could, he made me cry laughing.

I don’t know what Tuesday is going to be like. Maybe I’ll be better. If not, I hope I’ll talk to those who around for me. Then, I’ll find a Robin Williams movie on Netflix or an old stand up routine on YouTube.

If you connect with any this, try to swim through the darkness and find light. Talk to someone. Start by asking them their favorite Robin Williams movie. Just understand that because I, or you, like Robin Williams, make a joke or two, and seem like the like of the party, deep inside, we’re blue……or worse.


58 thoughts on “The Tears Of A Clown

  1. I cried. I’ve never cried over the loss of a celebrity but Robin William’s death rocked me to the core. Such a tremendous loss to the world. May you rest in peace, Robin. You are loved, even in death.

  2. Thank you for such a raw and sincere post and for sharing yourself. I think that this evoked so much pain in everyone precisely for the reason you’re alluding to in the title and obviously particularly painful for you. I hope Tuesday is better.

  3. It is a sad, sad Monday. And you know, I Don’t Like Mondays. Hoping that your Tuesday is better, and Wednesday, better than that. Thank you for your candor. So well said LB.

  4. Kevin

    Well said.

    His golf monologue makes me laugh and snort and drool in that way that embarrasses your loved ones even if nobody else is around. I think I’ll go watch it for about the fifth time today.

  5. Oops…

    As I was saying. You really helped me gather my own thoughts about Robin William’s death. I’m truly overwhelmed by the loss and the power of depression. What a sad day.

  6. Stephanie L.

    How you found the writer in you to pen this today…amazes me. Made me cry all over again. Thank you Lance for bringing forth the good, bad, and the ugly in this tragedy.

  7. ace1028

    Although I lost my breath when I heard the news, I had not cried until just now.

    Thank you. For sharing. For being you. For enlightening others. Thank you.

  8. Like you, my connection to Robin Williams was through our shared disease. It hit me like a ton of bricks because it made me feel vulnerable. He fought every day for a log time, I hate that today was too much to bear for him:(

  9. I too was profoundly saddened by the loss of such a brilliant and talented man.Thank you for sharing your insight, this piece of yourself, with us. The depths of the pit are are hard to fathom to those of us who have only skirted it’s edge. Hoping indeed that tomorrow will be a better day 🙂

  10. Well said, sir. You’re smart to know you should reach out, even if you don’t always do so right away, you know that eventually you should. All dark and light moments pass, but they can feel like eternity when you’re inside those moments. I wish you a better Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  11. Such a loss, he is truly a comic genius. You’ve crafted a fitting tribute, Lance.

    I can’t begin to know how this depression feels. I’ve been lucky to escape its grasp.
    But it leaves me helpless, not knowing how to reach out to those that are trapped in that dark place.

  12. I don’t think I’ve felt this sad about a celebrity death since Jim He son died. The profound feeling of having been robbed. I supposed the happiest thought is that he, like so many others made such art of his pain for so long.

  13. I usually don’t give a shit about celebrities, but there are celebrities, and then there are people who’ve made it their career to be at beck-and-call for the happiness of others. And to see someone, someone I have always connected with a whimsical kind of smile and happiness for no other reason in the world but happiness itself, to see someone like that fall to such a dark place kicked me in the gut. What about those of us who, because of misfiring and misaligned neurons in our brains, have trouble finding happiness on even the most gorgeous of Fridays, in even the most carefree circumstances, when the stars are all in perfect rhythm and every string of our heart is being plucked in perfect tune, yet happiness is still a foreign concept we only vaguely understand, and wonder every day if we’ve ever truly felt it the way normal people do? What about us? When does our burden become us? How long will it take for our brains to surrender? I am stronger than my burden. But so was he.

  14. ulizwiley

    Thank you Lance. Going through highs and lows are no fun and it sucks when Monday can stretch into a month or more with no sign of the light. Reading all that you had to say about this tragedy reminds me why I started following your work in the first place…..You talk about being sad and depressed, you make me feel like its ok to let it out and not let it drag you down. You reach many of us with your personal feelings and I for one am grateful. I really hope that out of this tragedy that depression is talked about more and the stigma can be lifted.

    People like you and Linda Roy are putting a “real” face on a real disease. I wish Robin would have been able to reach out and find people with the same issues, maybe then this wouldn’t be a topic for after the fact but a proactive approach to help millions.

  15. One of his most celebrated forgotten appearances was one on Johnny Carson ages ago. I still remember that one.

    I’ve never known anyone with that level of improv skill who didn’t have demons. It has to be tough for actors like him and Jim Carrey, who can truly do anything but are stuck doing what the fans want to see. One of my favorite Williams performances was One Hour Photo. He was so, so creepy good in that movie. Not funny. Truly frightening. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to turn in a performance like that and have it be rejected because it isn’t what you usually do.

  16. I’ve been utterly gutted. This is the first celebrity death (besides possibly River Phoenix) that has truly rocked me and made me sob. I want to remember his genius, and not have this be the footnote to his career. But I find I can’t quite watch videos yet. The idea that he was crying….dying… inside while making those memorable characters come to life just saddens me to the core.
    We so need to take better care of each other in this world. I need to find me a red fake nose to get through this week I think.

  17. Beautiful tribute, wise words, firsthand experience. Thanks for posting about what we go through. I will miss him greatly, and The Fisher King and Dead Poet’s were two of my faves. The Birdcage and Mrs. Doubtfire close behind. So versatile, creative and beautifully broken. Like us.

  18. Heartfelt words here. It was a shock to find out he was gone. It makes me sad when I find out that anyone has been swallowed up by their own sadness.
    He was a talented actor. (I loved him as the voice of genie in Aladdin… that’s my favorite part of that movie.)

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