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Losing Robin Williams

Robin Williams, ADHD, ADD, TotallyADD

Robin Williams

A tough week indeed, losing Robin Williams.

There’s been a lot of speculation and confusion and searching for reasons.

Some are asking if Comedians are more prone to Depression.

A non-scientific survey of the many comedians I know would suggest we are.

And certainly, since making ADD & Loving It?!  I have heard from a number of comedians who recognized themselves. Patrick McKenna and myself included.

Some comedians were diagnosed with ADHD as kids.

Some just kind of suspected, but have never been tested. (Which is always tricky.) And some have realized they qualify as ADHD because one or more of their kids were diagnosed and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Most comedians I talk to suspect they are. But very few seem to seek out a doctor to have it confirmed.

One reason I was concerned about getting ‘treatment’ was that I was afraid I’d lose my comedic edge.

My biggest fear about taking medication was that I’d become ‘normal.’ Tame. Dull. Boring. Predictable.

What actually happened was that I was able to stick with things that I didn’t particularly want to do. You know, the grown-up stuff like finances and parenting and having conversations.

Robin Williams had to deal with Bipolar, and compared to their non-ADHD peers, folks with ADHD have a higher rate of Bipolar.

And three times the rate of attempted suicide.

Plus much higher rates of Anxiety Disorder.  And Substance Abuse (We will find a way to medicate ourselves somehow).

And yes, much higher rates of Depression.

But does being a comedian increase the risk of Depression? Or is it that those who are predisposed to suffer from Depression are drawn to comedy?

Comedy and Depression

Some random thoughts in no particular order, about why we might be more prone to Depression. This is just from my own experience.

-There is something about being onstage, making hundreds of people happy, sending them home spent with laughter, that is incredibly energizing.

But an hour later you’re sitting alone in a hotel room with no one around to make you happy.

– Comedy comes from a place of anger. Or perhaps of disappointment in the world.

There’s a common thread through comedy about the stupidity of human beings.

Comedy makes fun of our greed, selfishness, excess, and base desires. Whereas drama celebrates our higher selves.

As Bogie says in Casablanca, “I’m not good at being noble…” before proceeding to be incredibly noble.

Someone once said comedians are idealists. And the world disappoints them. And so they either become cranky complainers, or they become comedians and use humor to get people to see their own foibles and faults.

I think of Louis CK’s great routine about the guy in the commercial airplane complaining about the slow internet service. “You’re in a chair in the sky. It’s miracle. Shutup!”

– The courage to get up on stage, (Or perhaps it’s desperation and arrogance) and try to make people laugh, and then to succeed… it’s a bit like jumping out of a plane and trusting someone else to hand you a parachute on the way down.

The number one fear most people have is speaking in public. Making people laugh as well? If it goes wrong, you’ll know. 

When you succeed… it’s an incredible rush. You don’t want the show to end. I didn’t.  There’s a real high.  And that means daily life… by comparison… is boring.

– Comedy clubs serve alcohol. A lot of comedians drink. Sometimes the drinks are on the house. I don’t drink, so this wasn’t an issue for me. But I saw others ruin their careers with alcohol.

– If you have a bad day at the office, your boss may hear about it. Perhaps a colleague or two.

Have a bad day on stage, and there are hundreds of witnesses.

I have performed thousands of times. The standing ovations blur together. But I can describe the times I bombed in detail. 

Perhaps more than most, comedians obsess about the failures. Because, in a way, that’s where comedy comes from.

– Comedians, like a lot of ADHD people, are sprinters.

Burst of manic energy and then we crash. Before a show I could be almost catatonic, convinced I was ill and wondering if I could get through the show. Then, 20 minutes before the curtain rose, it would start. The tingle. The edge. The excitement. Mind jumping. Making jokes. Pacing. Like a bucking bronco waiting for the gate to open…

And then after the show… the long, slow unwind.

Does comedy cause Depression? I don’t have a clear answer for you. Or for myself.

What I Know For Sure

I do suspect that Robin Williams was dealing with multiple issues. People don’t get to suicide because of one setback.

I’ve read he was having money issues, Bi-polar, drinking, and I think most importantly, he’d had heart surgery. And a large number of people who have open heart surgery struggle with suicidal depression.

As good as the surgeons are, and as amazing as the Heart-Lung machines are that keep you alive, when your heart has been stopped, your brain is affected by surgery.  Sometimes deeply.

The one thing I do know for sure, is that laughter releases a lot of wonderful chemicals into the body. These chemicals make us feel good and they’re good for us.

And Depression is the result of a severe shortage of good chemicals. The brain is starving for those chemicals.  And it hurts.

And we can do something about that. If we keep communicating and we reach out and get help.

Rest in peace Robin Williams.  You made a huge difference for millions of people who needed laughter in their lives.  And your body of work is a gift to the world for years to come.  A humble thank you.

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  1. Mike981 August 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Great post. Thank you for your insight Rick.
    I worked in the radio industry for 25 years and I saw it first hand. Entertainers seem to be prone to depression, and a lot of drugs and alcohol.
    Last night I was thinking of some of my favorite comedians, Robin Williams, Johnathan Winters, Drew Carey, Johnny Carson, Dick Van Dyke… All were reported to suffer from depression.
    Sad, very sad.

  2. Richard August 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Very well put Rick,
    Sadly the internal demons we face sometimes win.
    If anything, may the passing of such a brilliant man bring attention and acceptance of mental illness as a disease without any stigma. That would be the cherry on top of an amazing legacy!
    RIP Robin Williams,

  3. jpsteve August 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Mr. Green expressed the fear of losing his comedic edge, becoming ‘dull’, being ‘normal’ etc.. For me, I always wanted to be Ward Cleaver-gray suits and all. One of my heroes is a brother in law. Now retired, he was a chartered accountant and comptroller of large corporations. Oh, to be able to sit at a desk and pore over pages of numbers. Oh, to retain a focus. Am I jealous? Yes. Maybe in your heart of hearts you are as well. Maybe not.
    Do I have ADHD? Although, like many of Mr. Greens friends and co workers self diagnosed, I believe so.
    Like Mr. Green I have a ‘comedic edge’ slight as that might be. Certainly, although it is not as developed as Mr. Greens, nor am I a professional, I seem to have the ability to make people laugh even if only from limited settings such as a church pulpit or in a small social setting. Do I enjoy that ability? Yes, although in some perverse way I think that somehow I become one of them simply by association, Somehow, I become normal even if only by association. Somehow, I become an accountant, even if only briefly.
    And, oh yeah, a word of warning. I drive a truck between Canada and the U.S..
    I thank Mr. Green for his thoughts. I too enjoyed Robin Williams-especially in Mrs. Doubtfire- and mourn his passing. And as well, I grieve for Mr. Green, myself and others with ADHD. May God bless and keep us all, especially Mr. Williams and his family.

  4. lockedoutofmycar August 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Rick you have never lost your edge you add humour and happiness to all you do by just being yourself
    I will miss Robin Williams his fast paced zaniness was pure magic. I agree
    your comments are right to the point . Maybe people will take notice of others in depression .
    Thank -for your efforts .

  5. linda August 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you for writing this blog Rick, and thanks to all the other comidians out there who strive to make this world a better place to live in! It makes a lot of difference for uss people who struggle!I am very sorry to read about Robin as he seemed like such a wonderfull person and I was impressed with all the joy and sunshine he spread!
    Beeing ADHD myself I am often laught at but usually not with my own intention for some reason.Hm.Why could that be.Anyway; in the past, beeing unmedicated I tried to tell a joke but didn`t get longer then half way through the joke before I forgot about it and hence my friends had to dig forward the point of the joke/story themselfes- those of them who actually understood there was a point to the story in the first place…also I didn´t allways understand sarcasm fast enough and it was even worse to give a fast comeback since it took me to long to analyse the joke…on meds this is getting better but sometimes it is still like the brain shuts off and I can´t deliever a single joke, to everyonce surprice, because I just reasently told one, a coupple of seconds ago! One of my friends -who is her self hillarious- said that this thing about me makes her crazy. I have been performing for a classroom audience before, both on and of meds; and the meds makes the whole difference in my case. Without meds the “motor” of the “car” just dies out after a few seconds, my guess is it has to do with the dopamine in the meds which works as “fuel for the tank” (/brain.) I personally have regular close contact with someone with bipolar and I would refear to the condition as Heaven Versus Hell. All the crazy, fantastic energic things you do beeing high in the manic phase all comes back with punishment and guilt in the depressed phase, or maybe the depression is just the mere consequencse of coming down from heaven and seeing what mass you really caused…like beeing drunk getting sober…”what the heck have I done, nobody will get it, I emberrased my self bigtime now, look at all the money I spent, how could I explain all this crap” etc. Having to have this mental state and having to perform before an audiece in this very condition is not the best idea. Depression fogs up the brain and slows it down bigtime. Depression can sometimes even be confused with ADD! When a person get depressed they can even get slightly paranoid and the self esteem is lower then lowest. Some people try to cure it with pills, some with alcohol, what ever works to relieve it or get out of it to some degree… And the evil spiral begins….what is what, is it alcholol, drugs, mania this time? How should it be treated? Does the bipolar WANT to admit to bipolar and recieve help? And poor those people who have other peoples problem put on them selfs in addition to this (sick family member, friend has died, no money, bad boss etc.) In addition to this there is the stigma and it is worse for the older generation who very well remember the judgements from the ignorant past. They can´t face themselfs, can´t live wth what they have done. Bipolar is the condion most often referred to as crazy (” what a maniac!”). So it isn´t an easy condtion.People in a manic phase also has troubble sleeping and can go for days without it. There are also people who get depressed or have low selfesteem and even feel guilty or bad about things they have done which others would consider to be completely normal, it is like they see the world through dark depressing sunglasses. Humour is very important, it makes life feel worth while, unlike a lot of other stuff many people strive for or to achieve. Beeing ADHD I laugh at the same jokes over and over which is a blessing. I can´t just joke in front of everyone though, some people send you a killer look if you say the wrong word to them at the wrong time. If you hang around theese people too long without back up you might loose your humoristic confidence for a long while. This happend to me a some years ago but now I realise that laughing exersice both the body and the brain and makes a lot of difficult things worth sticking out. I try to get a dose of humour daily. If you ever find your self beeing in a terrible mood try to farce your own face to smile or even laugh and see if it doesnt change you mood. Anyway. I hope people will continue in Robins spirit spreading light and joy and that even though he had to pass his good spirit will live on.

  6. Adrienne508 August 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Rick, thank you as always for being so ‘on point’. As a comic myself, I can attest to how my ADD feeds my creativity, and I love the rush of getting laughs. However, depression and severe self-criticism often can overtake all the great stuff. I was diagnosed with ADD in my late 30s and just having that knowledge and undersatnding has been extremely powerful for me!
    We can never truly know all that someone else is thinking or feeling; however, being aware of warning signs and more importantly, being OPEN to having uncomfortable conversations could mean the world to someone in ways we’ll never know.
    Let’s hope the great Robin Williams is at peace and is spreading joy and laughter in the afterlife!

  7. alanb4u August 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I know that, to be a comedian, you have to have experienced a lot of pain in your life. Pain is the source of almost all comedy. It is what creates the twist that makes comedy sparkle. But I think the article misses making the main point. We need to focus on ADD. The article talks about Robin Williams’ bipolar but it doesn’t talk about his ADD, which I understand he also had. The real cost to people on this list is the pain and depression we have to go through because of our ADD. It’s not fun to be thrown out of groups, to lose jobs when you’ve been putting in 10 hours instead of just 8 like everyone else or to be cut out of social circles that are beneath your true social class. I understand depression myself. People with ADD have it too. When you put the two together, ADD and bipolar it is a really tough load – either way you cut it. Mental illness is more painful than body pain. Who kills themselves over physical pain? Very few. Robin Williams is my brother and I feel his pain. He went through hell. If someone like Robin Williams can’t get the help he needed, what about all the people who can’t afford medication, little on therapy. Hopefully Robin can be a beacon for those of us who need help and don’t get it – for whatever reason and to whatever degree. Up until the late sixties when the president started shutting down all the facilities for helping people with mental issues there were very few people on the streets and they weren’t screaming obscenities. We need to change our priorities. And thank you Robin for raising the flag. Rest in peace my brother. We love you. .

  8. adhd_dave August 13, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    That was a very nice article to read, Rick. Thank you! Of all the celebrities who have passed recently, his passing was more profound and struck a deeper chord. Maybe it’s because I grew up running around the house (and being scolded for) saying “shazbat” and “nanu-nanu”, maybe it’s because I’ve dealt with depression. Anyway – like everyone I know, I’ll miss him greatly. He made the world smile.

  9. Rick August 13, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Such wonderful thoughts here. And such a range of experience.
    The only odd part was being called ‘Mr. Green.’
    The only people who call me that are the tax department, which I’m late again. And since my wife Ava got me to trust a good accountant, they don’t call any more. (Or if they do, Ava is hiding it from me. Ha.)
    Linda, Bi-polar is indeed a challenging disorder. For a while I wondered if I had it as well. Or that maybe it was Bipolar and not ADHD. But as the experts explained in some of the interviews we’ve done for our videos, Bipolar rises and falls over days, weeks, or months. ADHD is going from highs to lows and back again several times an hour. Or a minute. One of my friends, film critic Rob Salem, was diagnosed with Bipolar in middle age, just about the time that ADD & Loving It?! debuted on television. So he interviewed Patrick McKenna and I, and we ended up listening to him for a good part of the time. Fascinating. He loved what we were doing around ADHD, and he said that he has been so relieved to find out there is an explanation for his struggles that, “I’m telling everyone. I’m telling strangers on the elevator!”
    Imagine if everyone was that free about how their mind works? No biggie. It would make for some very cathartic elevator rides.
    Thanks to LockedOutOfMyCar for the kind words. I don’t think I’ve lost my edge. But I certainly am not as driven to succeed. Which means I am enjoying the ride much more. It’s all good.
    JPSteve, I can relate. I have brothers who can be very patient, and stick with things, and stay focussed. But I’m not sure I’d want to be Ward Cleaver. I kind of saw myself as The Beaver. Or maybe Eddie Haskell now and then.
    Richard, I think you are right. this is a huge opportunity to get people to understand that mental health is as big an issue as the health of your body. And if you don’t have your mental health, having a healthy body is kind of meaningless. (Just my opinion.)
    And Mike98, I know a lot of radio people, the on air folks, have ADHD. It’s a great job for the Hyperactive motor-mouths amongst us. As one kid told Dr. Margaret Weiss, “I want to be a disc jockey. That way I can talk all I want and people can switch me off when they want.”
    Which makes me think of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam.
    Which makes me smile. And makes me sad.
    I wish Robin hadn’t suffered to the point where he took his life. It must be terrible.

  10. ginapera August 13, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    One of the more insightful pieces on this subject. Thank you, Rick.

  11. catboater August 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    What a wonderful post, Red, er…Rick. Similar to an earlier post, I too have a comic edge, although I’m also not a professional comic. All of my life people have told me how funny I was, and that I “missed my calling.” I don’t know about that, but I so wish that I could suppress this part of my personality. I approach business and social situations the same way…”Ok, don’t be weird, don’t react to mundane (often inane) small-talk with goofy observations, etc.etc.”
    But it never works. Everybody’s laughing but I end up feeling like an idiot. A funny idiot. I’ve had chronic depression for decades, as well ads ADHD. The minute I heard about Robin Williams I thought, well of course, no surprise there. His extraordinary gift for spontaneous hilarity (10 orders of magnitude better than mine), was masking severe depression, anxiety, and self-doubt. Thanks for all you do for us, Rick!

  12. kbear44 August 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Just some thoughts: What if ADHD/ ADD, Bi-Polar, etc. Were labels put on a minority, who’s brain ran at a higher frequency than the larger percentile of people who as myers briggs states are Sensors, people who are able to only comprehend life through what they SEE, TASTE, TOUCH, SMELL, and Hear. What if Sensors made up 85 % of the population, and they made life look easier because they can compartmentlize everything, and their interests were in tangibles and if they can’t see, taste, smell or hear something it doesn’t exist. What if they can quote numerous passages from the bible about faith, but can’t live with the idea of where the next dollar comes from?
    What if intuitives were to recieve, 100’s are 1000’s of radio signals, (they are accepted to exist now because, sensors have radios, cell phone’s and radar detectors) Hmmmm wonder if it was a sensor who discovered you can send signals through the air? Anyway thats irrevelant? What if intuitives, were more like Jesus, and spoke in metaphors to make the abstract objective, remember the tiny mustard seed? Just what if their’s a trend of CREATIVE comedians that committed suicide because, they could make people laugh and be depressed enough to end their llife? What if these creative thinkers were programmed to see the big picture and see how we are all connected, but see so much confusion among the sensors who thinks everything is seperate and believes what mine is mine what yours is yours? hmmm could there be something to understanding the difference between sensors and intuitives? Should we make Intuitive minded people turn to becoming sensors, so they can be better accepted in society, and function like a citizen? Or should we encourage sensors to become more like intuitives, We can give them alchohol and see how they live when they are not connected to the serotonin part of their brain that compartmentalizes everything for them maybe?
    Can ADD/ ADHD etc. Be a label, we put on aristotle, Walt disney, Ludwig Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Ted Turner. Because they brought IDEAS to life and have many people working for them? Where do these Ideas Come From? Why is there a Trend of Labeled people who Created the spark that got the ball rolling on all these things. Was the first man to say someone will walk on the moon considered out there? This is a CRAZY Subject, When people are Medicating themselves to get a BUZZ, But they are also saying Lets Medicate these other people so they can be more grounded? What If These guys who killed themselves, were depressed because, they felt other peoples pains, hatred and anger and felt responsible for helping them and no matter what they did, people still kept walls and barriers to always defend their views, instead of seeing that our views are so small, and come from such ignorance When there are sooooo many ways to see them?
    Just some what ifs for the people that believe God put defected products out on earth, So man can make a chemical to fix them.

  13. spngbob August 14, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    i just read he was in the early stages of parkinsons

  14. anniea August 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the blog Rick..
    I have been thinking a LOT about mental illness and how desperate one must become to get to suicide. Even the incrediblly KNOWN among us. None of us are exempt.. so keep talking to each other, and even people you don’t know. Elevators.. talk about captive audience! It takes a village to raise a child.. or help with our older parents.. and if we let them, even each other.. Just my thoughts I wanted to share. A in MT.

  15. thaicoffee August 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I have heard Robin Williams talk about his alcoholism and his depression in interviews but not about being bipolar. Are we sure that that is a fact? Also, his wife just came out with a statement that he was just diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s Disease. I know this may be an extreme and unpopular point of view but I am going to throw it out there. He was trained at Juliard and did Shakespeare. He knew that “To be or not to be” was the question. He chose not to be. When we all assume that the other answer is the correct one. Would it be so terrible to respect his choice for his situation? I am just sorry that he or anyone suffers from depression, whether they choose the path he chose or not.

  16. delboy August 15, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for the great post.
    I heard that Robin Williams had died, and then, that it was suicide. My initial reaction was “oh how very very sad”, and yet as an ADHD, unipolar insomniac I remained unaware of the true impact it would have. It finally dawned on me when the second day of morning news still had Robin Williams’ death at the top of the first hour, and the subject of manic depression “a little known disease” as the top story. I wanted to scream at the T.V., “are you people serious”, and then the stat came “one American dies from suicide every 15 minutes.” This was said as if depression was a new medical finding. I couldn’t believe it, were the newscasters really that naïve, or underexposed to the reality of the world that millions deal with.
    I was diagnosed very quickly as a teen with “issues”, but no one even thought about ADHD. Maybe because it was the early 80’s, maybe because I was a girl, and didn’t kick up a fuss in school…my inability to focus was done quietly, but regardless, it would take another twenty years to be diagnosed ADHD, by a doctor, who told me that I should have known I was ADHD, as I had a job in which I worked with ADDERS. I have no idea if Robin Williams was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. All I could feel was the emptiness, compassion, and true understanding of where one has to be in order to seriously contemplate suicide, it broke my heart. I am not a comedian, but it seems so obvious that laughter may come from a place of pain.
    Today I heard that Robins wife announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. How awful. But now I think I can relate a little more as to why he thought about walking down that dark path. Not just because of the Parkinson’s diagnosis, which if true, must have been crushing, but because of what I know about myself, and have been told by others, is that many people with ADD/ADHD have “thin skins” (another term I am not too fond of), or that we are “easily derailed” (yet another positive term!), and because we get derailed so easily. Why can’t it said that we are more emotionally in tune with minds, bodies, the world. But that is for another day. Today I just wanted to write about Robin Williams a great entertainer, who the world is mourning…if only one could turn back time!

  17. makwa August 17, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Thank you for this Blog post Rick. You have a good way with words, I normally have to ask my wife to double check me before I post anything past a paragraph.
    Robin Williams… Wow, I think he made me part of who I am today. He may have left his body behind, but he lives on in all of us fans of medicinal laughter.

  18. SuzeQuze August 18, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on what happened to Robin, Rick. I love comedians because you are so idealistic and, the way I see it, honest. I trust comedians to tell the truth about what they see. I wondered if he had untreated ADHD and if that might be a factor. I didn’t realize his heart problem was so bad. Like may I adored him and am saddened by his loss. I have only begun to process it.
    I want to add one thing. It was reported in 2008 that Robin Williams was deeply ashamed of a recent relapse and re-entering rehab. Shame is a killer in recovery from substance abuse. Anyone feeling this way, please know that there is no point in allowing it to linger because what happened under the influence wasn’t fully “you” and sinking into shame can hinder recovery. The real you is multifaceted and so much more than the worst way you may have behaved while under the influence. We can create a new life and move forward without getting stuck on the past. Recovery is difficult. A mutual-support program is very helpful in this regard, like SMART Recovery, or whatever program you identify with and works for you. Shame is a tough one to work through but it is possible and when you share with others who can empathize that can really help lift it. Shame is pretty much a universal feeling of those in recovery and sharing with others who will not judge you is a way to release it.

  19. shilde August 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm


  20. johntkr September 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I agree with staying clear of alcohol. It truly is an insidious depressant for too many people; especially those who have off days in front of so many people.

  21. tequilasunrise October 8, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Oh My God, this was so well written, and thank you for doing so. I adored Robin Williams. I will never forget the night my husband and I watched “Mrs. Doubtfire” for the first time. We were in tears, laughing so much, rolling on the floor. Then when the video came out, “Robin Williams on Broadway”, we watched it over and over. He was the zaniest, funniest, man alive. I truly will miss him so much, and his death came to such a shock to all of us. It was such an awful piece of news to receive. I hope that he is in a good place resting in peace. I’m sending him love.
    Gloria Puopolo

  22. willoby December 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Rick!! Wonderful article that hits home in many areas. Especially for those of us who are entertainers. I myself am a physical comedian, singer, and voice-over actor. When I read this – “When you succeed… it’s an incredible rush. You don’t want the show to end. There’s a real high. And that means daily life… by comparison… is boring.”… I sat back in my chair and thought you were writing about me. Few people can understand that ‘winding down’ in my life. They don’t ‘get it’.
    I believe it’s akin to a form of post traumatic stress syndrome too– your mind and body can’t adjust to having entertained hundreds of people on that high, and then being alone, nothing to do, or worse yet someone yelling at you to take out the garbage. It’s really not an ego ‘thing’. It’s the wind-down. That’s why so many turn to booze and drugs.
    I’ve never spoken about this publicly, but ADHD and bi-polar have plagued me since high school and both helped and hurt my career. People enjoy and are even astonished at the many things I do, comedy, singing, writing, building, etc.. and yet.. I can’t tell time or understand a clock, metaphorically speaking. Unless I’m on Ritalin, I have a fast temper that I cannot control despite my inner voice trying desperately to do so.. and in the past it’s caused physical damage to people and things which I’m ashamed of afterwards, but at the time I honestly see “red’ and that’s all. I can’t sit a watch a movie start to end, nor read an entire page of dialogue without losing my place and having to start at the beginning all over again. This hold true for reading books- which I tend to sit down and read entirely at one time. When I’m on bi-polar high, it’s a very good thing- For audiences I can sing and perform physical comedy with wild abandon- or I can write, build, design robotics and props and such, sometimes working 35 hours or more at a stretch non-stop (again, not good at telling time)..
    When I’m in a low… I fight off suicide constantly. No one knows this. Its a daily struggle even though I paste on a smile and few if any even know that I just don’t want to live during those times. And anti-depression meds make it even worse and me even lower because they take away what ‘high creativity point’ I have left- but Doctors don’t want to understand that. Because of that, I’ve made sincere secret attempts at suicide many times when taking medication for depression, no one knows that either. Not from a sadness standpoint though… it’s more so that I see no point to anything. Life seems so boring. I’m tired.
    Now, performers, comics, actors, singers and the like come in many guises. Some are there for the creativity and sharing, some are out for selfish fame and fortune, and everything in-between. Being in a business where despite whatever great talent you may possess you still never know when or where your next job is coming? Well, that’s probably adding gasoline to the fire.
    ADHD and bi-polar affects us all differently- and yet, we’re all the same. The biggest problem is the uncaring and un-seeing nature of doctors who may treat you. Yes, most doctors suck these days.. but there are some good ones out there. I was misdiagnosed for years with depression and they tried out me on various meds that made me a zombie or a violent freak.. so they would give me more! One doctor finally stepped up and said let’s try a different approach. They found the right medicine, and 30 minutes after taking it my life changed.
    Medicine can make it worse for some, or take away that edge we need to create with- and that’s the thing doctors refuse to acknowledge. We NEED that edge. They don’t understand the need of that ‘edge’ to survive. Taken away, we are empty. We cannot create. Without it, we are mundane and unable to get up on the stage. But they don’t care about that. They don’t care that we too have to work and on a creative level most can not.. and we are not going to drop our professional lives and go out collecting shopping carts for a living just to make their lame diagnosis worthwhile. Doctors only see whats in a text book AND they label everyone as the same- as a round peg- and therefor try to fit them quickly and easily into a round hole.
    We’re not round pegs. We’re square pegs. People with ADHD don’t fit the textbook medicinal outlines. If you jam us into a round hole, guaranteed you will shear off those edges.
    And in those edges perhaps lies such creativity and abilities that can change the world simply because in those edge is where we think ‘outside the box’ of normalcy.

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