Upside of Robin Williams’ Suicide? Orange Papers. Communal exorcism for recovering 12 Steppers

Sincere condolences to Robin Williams’ family and friends. Many thanks for much entertainment and enlightenment.

In the wake of this tragic event a Doctor wrote, ‘Depression is a terminal illness’. Thanks, mate. I was already massively bummed out – for if Robin Williams couldn’t fix it then who can? The Quack might have put that a little less bleakly. Well, I’ve been on death row for more than fortyfive years now.
I’m aware there may be no cure for depression, not for everyone, not all of the time. But it can be managed. Unfortunately I’m about as much use as a BBC middle management drone, without the salary or the job security. Although, like them, I have this position for life.

Robin Williams’ death hurt, especially coming at a time of particularly grim world news. I had a wallow in gloom and doom. Then a Facebook friend mentioned that the troubled star had been back in AA. It hadn’t worked and look what happened. Is their policy of belittling and breaking down new recruits correct? Is it even safe, if you’re especially vulnerable? (My own guess would include a possible anti-depressant malfunction, which can also trigger suicidal thoughts). She cited Orange Papers, an online resource where people seek abstinence or moderation through logic and scientific analysis. Mostly they have a blast sharing 12 Step horror stories, a sort of communal exorcism.

So, sorry to be selfish, but I was guided to something positive as a result of his death. (You could also say, to be appropriately respectful to a great man: he is free of pain, he lived ten lifetimes in one, he excelled in more ways than he could initially have hoped for, he grew as an artist, he helped many people not just with his work, he experienced reciprocated love, and he had children, which is most of what the universe wants us to do. All in all, one of evolution’s finest products.)

While we’re bitching at 12 step it’s worth mentioning the rational variation: – all the benefits of group recovery without God Junkies preaching and leeching. 12 step may work for you, although there is no statistical evidence to prove it’s any better than willpower. You’re more likely to meet a Christian vampire getting high from spreading the gospel. Hey! Physician, heal thyself. Get a dopamine hit from something else. Model trains. Mini golf. Cultivate your own garden.

So if you feel you have been used or abused by 12 step groups, or if it didn’t work for you and you want to know why, a veteran will tell you all you need to know – and sometimes more 🙂 – at Also on Facebook.

If you’ve been affected by suicide, particularly the inexplicable choice made by someone who had everything to live for, find a sympathetic friend or a professional who can help. Don’t read Night Train by Martin Amis – which just muddies the waters, unless you’re determined to top yourself, in which case fill your boots.

This short, clumsy novel is deliberately inconclusive, and the ending doesn’t make sense, in the unlikely event you can work out what is actually happening. Art imitating life? Or just shoddy and slapdash? – what you’d expect from an experimental writer whose chief concern is looking clever. H’mm, more than ten years since I read it and I’m still furious.

LIFE AFFIRMING FINISH. (fade up happy music. Cue dancing girls) Currently I’m feeling mildly positive: exercising more, just got a big SAD light therapy lamp (only £50 + p+p as opposed to the £100 I paid twenty years ago., hardly any drink or drug use this year, further improvements to my diet. Things are getting better, despite the serious long term challenges, And I’m convinced that pumpkin seeds are improving, ahem, male vitality. (Could be the zinc.)

Maybe depression is a terminal illness. But remission feels good. You’ll have to drag me aboard the Night Train. I’m not buying my own ticket.

………………………………………… ‘We help people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.

Our approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods.

We run a network of self help meetings and also partner with care professionals.’


One thought on “Upside of Robin Williams’ Suicide? Orange Papers. Communal exorcism for recovering 12 Steppers

  1. Forgot to mention – Tweet from LBC radio shortly after Mr Williams’ suicide. ‘Correction:we of course meant Tony Hancock and not Herbie Hancock in an earlier tweet discussing depression.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s