My favorite Robin Williams movie is The Fisher King. In it, he plays Parry, a homeless man shattered by tragedy, living in his own world. One especially beautiful scene depicts Parry crossing through Grand Central Terminal following a woman he has a crush on, when suddenly all the commuters rushing by become couples waltzing around the majestic grand concourse. It’s a stunning image, and I always think of it when I walk through the terminal.
So it wasn’t unusual that the scene was in my mind’s eye the day I found myself in Grand Central Terminal filming a PSA for BringChange2Mind, a national organization dedicated to eradicating mental health stigma. What I didn't know was that the anti-stigma campaign we were making applied to Robin Williams himself.
People who have bipolar illness can lead wonderful and productive lives, but Robin’s tragic death reminds me that there is much more to do to reach everyone. The Fisher King juxtaposed great beauty with terrifying nightmares; now it strikes me as a metaphor for his life. May we work toward a future in which the beauty prevails.