Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bright Lights Gone

by Maggie Sefton



I'm writing this post Monday night right after hearing the news about the death of comedian Robin Williams.  I had actually planned to write the post about actor Philip Seymour Hoffman who died earlier this year.  How terrible to now be writing about TWO wonderful performers who entertained us for years.

Robin Williams' death was a suicide, following his latest bout of deep depression.  And Philip Seymour Hoffman's death was deemed an accidental overdose of heroin.  However, the actor had supposedly stopped using heavy drugs, so I can't help wondering how accidental that choice was to use that dangerous narcotic again.


I can't believe we won't get to watch Robin Williams literally create a hiliarious
routine out of thin air right on camera before our eyes.   Totally extemporaneous.  He was a comedic genius.  His range was unbelievable.   He  could make us laugh until we cried as a comedian, then he
could portray an intriguing character in a movie like THE DEAD POETS SOCIETY.  Wow. . .that was years ago.

One movie that most people would call a comedy---GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM---actually gave Williams the chance to show different layers to the character of a soldier who wanted to leave Vietnam and winds up becoming a fixture on the GI's radio station and falls in love with a lovely Vietnamese girl, who has a very protective family. :)   A versatile talent, to say the least.

So was actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I won't even try to  list all the wonderful movies where he created memorable characters.  This past weekend, I saw one that will probably (or should) earn him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Actor for his understated-yet-riveting performance in the new movie A MOST WANTED MAN.  Go see it.  You won't regret it.  All of the actors are excellent, and the storyline is as topical as it can be.  Also a spy thriller.

I'm sad tonight.   Two bright, unbelievably talented lights are gone.    

16 comments:

Lori Cimino said...

It is incredibly sad. None of us knows how much pain will break a persons will to continue on. So lets treat each other with kindness and respect

Leann Sweeney said...

He will be sorely missed. Clinical depression is a serious biologically based illness. It is too bad the right combination of meds, diet and supplements couldn't help him. Because that's what it takes. Suicides are people who feel backed into a corner and believe there is no way out. I think celebrities are surrounded by people who don't think they can say the truth. It only makes it harder to confront such a serious disease. Maybe his death will shed light on it. His light is out, yes, but perhaps he has lit one for others.

Min said...

I'm disturbed by your choice of the word "choice" when describing Hoffman's drug usage, considering that addiction is a disease. Addicts rarely have a choice when it comes to whether to use. Much like depression masks reality, so does addiction.

I would have also hoped that a writer would have been able to have used the word "literally" correctly.

Ms. Sweeney, I am greatly upset that you callously refer to people who kill themselves as "suicides," as if they aren't actual people but are, instead, merely a category of things. I would have thought that someone with your background in nursing would know better and would have a little more compassion.

Colleen Leyrer said...

I'm so glad you touched on Phillip Seymour Hoffman, because I was devastated at his loss, but absolutely in shock when my boyfriend showed me about Robin Williams. "It's not a joke" he said, and boy oh boy, for once, I wish it really was.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Min, your comments to Ms. Sefton and Ms. Sweeney make me wonder who you have lost, or what darkness you have felt/seen to make you lash out at these two authors.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

A beautiful tribute Maggie. I was diagnosed with clinical depression, bi-polar, and panic and anxiety disorder also twenty years ago. The dark places can be very hard to climb out off. Sometimes it's so dark, you can't even see the hint of light.

Leann is right about diet and medications. But there is a little more to it than that. You have to have a support system who believes in you. They don't have to understand, because no one can understand deep depression unless the have suffered from it, but they do need to be understanding of the battle being waged. And one more thing that has helped me is faith. If I didn't have my faith there are times when I could have easily made the choice Robin Williams made, as well young actor Lee Thompson Young. Too many bright lights have gone out this year.

mary kennedy said...

It is incredibly sad. Depression seems to be like a "bear" that you can't get rid of. As one of my patients says, "Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you." What a great loss this is...

Leann Sweeney said...

Sorry to have upset you, Min. My apologies.

Maggie Sefton said...

I agree, Lori. It's so much better to treat people with respect. Send out the positive energy, not the negative.

Maggie Sefton said...

You are so right, Leann. Those of us who have close friends or family who suffer from the disease know how devastating it can be. I really hope others will seek help because of these deaths.

Maggie Sefton said...

I'm sorry if my post disturbed you, Min. That was never my intent. Blessings.

Maggie Sefton said...

I know, Colleen. It's still hard to believe.

Maggie Sefton said...

Ah, Lisa. . .you said it beautifully. People must have a support system, people to turn to when they feel the darkness creeping around them. And I think you've hit the nail on the head. Actors/celebrities often don't have people around them who will "speak the truth." As someone who has had to "speak the truth" to someone close and beg them to seek help, perhaps my antennae are particularly acute. If someone is alone with no support, it is easier to slip into the darkness.

Maggie Sefton said...

Bless you, Mary, for "being there" for your patients. A good, understanding psychologist is a lifetime. You can make the difference in peoples' lives.

Annette said...

I have a 20 year old daughter dx with Aspergers, depression and anxiety disorder. It is awful sometimes to have to watch her suffer. But like Leann and Lisa pointed out with medication, diet, a support system and faith she marches on. She graduated high school last May. It was a huge accomplishment for her. The future is not yet paved out for her, but there are many options. I do fear for her as she gets older. I just pray she will always have the support she needs. This post and comments are all so heart felt. It is true, you don't know what it is like until you have either been there or watch someone you love go through it. Thank you for today's post. It helps to know that so many people out there are compassionate.

Maggie Sefton said...

Bless your heart, Annette. I can feel the pain coming through your post. Take care of yourself. And picture your daughter smiling and doing something she enjoys. Picture light around her and hold that in your mind. I'm sending good thoughts, too. Blessings.