Robin Williams Made Me Do This

Robin Williams’s death made me think that maybe I should talk about something I don’t usually talk about. To confess this makes me feel stained or needy. Broken. But this is for him and the others who have felt what he felt. What I have felt.

This is for all of us.

I am bipolar.

Specifically, I have type two bipolar disorder. Meaning that along with swings of depression, I have been manic, as in crazy.

I knew there was something wrong with me in high school. I was an overachiever in a lot of ways; got good grades, teachers liked me, I was in sports, and won awards, but I was overly anxious and critical of myself. I thought that was normal for a good student.

Then my girlfriend broke up with me, and my entire world crumbled.

I asked my parents to send me to therapy, and they argued, saying I didn’t need it. I sank further and further down. I went on a sixth month party binge – previously I had been against parties and alcohol. My grades dropped.

Finally my parents let me see someone. “I’ll fix her up in a few sessions,” the therapist assured my mom.

I was told I was depressed, I was put on drugs, and I did EMDR therapy.

So began my war with antidepressants.

For the next decade, I was given one pill after another by one professional after another. I almost killed myself more times than I want to count. I barely got a degree. I started working at a grocery store because I knew I couldn’t handle the occupation I had originally wanted – medical doctor.

And then I got my first full blown manic episode.

A lot of bipolar people will tell you that mania is better than being depressed, and in a way it is. But it’s also as dangerous as depression, sometimes more so. You are literally insane (unless it’s a hypomanic episode). Like a teenager, you get into risky behavior and destroy your life bit by bit, unable to stop yourself.

Mania ruined my relationship at the time, and I had to move back in with my parents, but eventually it led me to a better diagnosis. And better pills.

The road to recovery… I’m still fucking on it. That’s why I hate talking about this. It will never be over for me. This is my fucking life.

I still work at the grocery store. I still live with my parents.

But now I am doing something I really enjoy, writing, and I have an understanding partner.

If I had killed myself those times I wanted to…I wouldn’t have found any of that.

I don’t fault Robin Williams for doing what he did. How could I? I know what that’s like, when the pain gets so bad that you can’t take it anymore. But I am sorry.

I’m sorry, Robin. No one should hurt that bad. I hope it doesn’t hurt now. I hope you can rest.



  1. Hi Beth, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this post and sharing a part of yourself that cannot be all that easy to talk about. Btw, you don’t sound “strained or needy” you sound like you have some shit you gotta live with and you are doing the best you can. You rock!


    1. Thanks, Chris, for the support. Blogging can make me feel naked at times.


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