Cocaine, mental illness, trauma: What killed Carrie Fisher?

      I'm working on a memoir tentatively titled Four Murders and a Funeral.  In one of the murders, powdered cocaine plays a role. At least that's what the defendant and his attorney would like us to believe. Whether  the drug was to blame for the murder and whether addiction was involved is part of the story I tell. Cocaine  Carrie Fisher's use of cocaine never became much of a criminal justice issue. Some feel celebs get a pass for behavior that lands others of us  in … [Read more...]

Robin Williams, bipolar disorder?——II

I've studied depression and its variants all my life—as a psychology major, as a med student, and as an observer of those around me. I've chosen to weigh in on the debate over Robin Williams for that reason, and also because depression is an important theme in my memoir, Cleft Heart. Before delving further  into the Williams case,  I'll address some of feedback I've received regarding my assertion that Williams suffered from bipolar disorder. And since there have been new revelations about … [Read more...]

Robin Williams bipolar disorder?

I'm continuing my examination of Robin Williams mental state for two reasons. First, I admired his wide ranging talent and have had nothing but good feelings for him over the decades. Second, I've spent much of my life thinking about depression and related diseases since people close to me have suffered from such afflictions. I've chronicled some of this in Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal.  Funnyman-in-Chief had bipolar disorder?  Our nation has lost its Funnyman-in-Chief, and this is doubly … [Read more...]

If Williams was bipolar, he wasn’t alone.

Robin Williams I knew Robin Williams' death by hanging would be as hard for me to process as Philip Seymour Hoffman's recent tragic death at age 46. That's because a central character in my memoir, Cleft Heart, may've battled the black dog of depression as some allege Williams did. My family—and my study of psychology in college and med school—have sensitized me over the years  to the complexities of mood disorders, esp depression and manic-depression (called bipolar disorder today). My guess … [Read more...]