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Robin Williams' advice for people who are depressed is really touching and important.

In 1978, Robin Williams pretended it was 40 years later and explained what made him survive.

Robin Williams' advice for people who are depressed is really touching and important.

There's a quote going around the Internet attributed to Robin Williams that goes as follows: "You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."

Here's where that quote came from. Williams was performing at the Roxy in 1978 for a brand new comedy special on a little known network called HBO. In the audience were a surprising group of people: Henry Winkler (The Fonz), Tony Danza (before he was famous), and even John Ritter, who does a weird round of improv with Williams at the end of the video.




Robin Williams Live - the Roxy 1978 www.youtube.com


Trigger warning: discussion of suicidal thoughts. If you decide to start reading my personal story here, please read through the end.

When I was a kid, I was all over the map.

I was an ADD-riddled hyper-awkward nerd, jumping from thing to thing without a trackable train of thought, making jokes, going on tangents, freaking out, jumping around, and generally being weird. People didn't know how to talk to me.

At the time, I was struggling with the bullying I was getting regularly, and one of my hobbies was contemplating places to commit suicide. My grandfather's retirement community was seven stories tall and had a nice roof. I imagined plunging those seven stories to my death, and I'd show those bullies who was boss. Which was not the smartest thing to be thinking. Because they wouldn't realize anything. I'd be dead, and my family would have to live through that pain for the rest of their lives. It's the worst option ever, and you should never do it.

When I was 10 years old and discovered the genius of the comedy album "Reality ... What A Concept," I knew I had found a kindred spirit and role model in Robin Williams.

I wanted to be him. The kinetic energy he presented himself with reminded me of me, and I figured even though kids bullied me for being a freak, there was someone else who made it out of school in one piece who acted like me in a small way. I memorized his routine like it was Shakespeare. (And, in fact, at one point, he did a Shakespeare routine about porn.) I told the jokes to friends even though I didn't get half of them.

Robin Williams was everything to me. His jokes made me realize there was more to life than just ending it. I started thinking about the family members I'd leave behind, how upset they'd be, and what I'd miss out on. I'd never get to perform at the Roxy. I'd never get to be on "Saturday Night Live."

When I heard about Williams' death by apparent suicide in August 2014, I was sad. For me, 28 years later, as a father, it wasn't him I was worried about. It was his children and the pain they were no doubt dealing with as their father lost his fight with depression.

The even worse thing about celebrity suicides is that they actually can be contagious. People see the glamorized tributes and start to think that somehow they are a good idea. Let me be clear, they aren't.

Listen to some advice from someone who knows and talked about it on Reddit:

I wish he would have listened to his own advice.

As we mourned, and continue to mourn, the loss of the incredible Robin Williams, please know that if you are suffering, you are not alone.

Many of us here at Upworthy have struggled with depression, and lots of things have helped us get better — from therapy to medication to yoga to meditation to running to memorizing comedy routines of incredibly talented people and other activities. And you can get better too.

If you are in distress right now, please call (800) 273-8255. We love you. Someone else loves you. And copying an incredibly self-destructive act with your own will only lead to more pain and suffering, not only for you, but for those who love you.

Share this and let those you love know how much they are loved, and if you need help, please just ask. There's a better way than what you may be thinking.

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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