Robin Williams' death rekindles questions about creativity and depression

The many faces of comedic genius Robin Williams over the years. (AP file photos)

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) -- When Jay P. Singh, founder and CEO of the Global Institute of Forensic Research in Reston, Va., was working on his PhD in psychiatry at Oxford from 2008-2011, he was both inspired and energized by one particular person.

Robin Williams.

Little did he know then that several years later, he would be providing expert analysis about what may have caused the world-renowned actor to apparently commit suicide Monday at his home in Tiburon, Calif.

Williams’ representatives said he had dealing with deep depression.

“I remember when I was in graduate school in England, and I remember staying some very late nights in the office, working at a psychiatric hospital,” Singh said Tuesday on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk.

“I had only one DVD, and it was “Dead Poets Society,” and I remember putting that in and being so incredibly inspired by this incredible talent that was Robin Williams.”

A warp-speed talent. A talent, as Singh pointed out to host Bruce DePuyt, that was born of genius.

But Singh, who has made his life’s work studying mental illness, also noted that with genius can come a sphere of fear.

“Oftentimes individuals who are so incredibly creative and intelligent, at the same time. . .have their personal struggles,” Singh said, adding that from what he has gleaned from the case, and also knowing that Williams admittedly has long struggled with substance abuse and depression, this most likely was an example of a bipolar disorder.

“It’s almost like if you have a straight line in front of you, which is your normal mood,” he said, adding that what was normal for Williams probably wasn’t normal for most people.

To be sure, a surfeit of words certainly didn’t get Williams to the top – anything but.

By the same token, his manic wackiness along with well-chronicled struggles with drugs and alcohol might have prevented Williams from getting a handle on his sense of self.

Singh provided an example:

“. . .These very high highs, these peaks where you have a difficult time being able to stop your speech from coming out too quickly, like we saw with Robin Williams, or his incredible wit and speed vs. these very low lows like it seems like he was going through, unfortunately, at the time of his passing.”