Why Robin Williams’ Suicide Leaves Me Terrified


As I sit here, I am saddened — no I am devastated — by the suicide of Robin Williams. I am not, however, shocked.

I want to scream and cry and I am mad. Pissed off that this fucking disease has stolen another brilliant mind from this world. He was a genius, with eyes tinged with sadness who always made everyone else around him happy. We shared something in common, Mr. Williams and myself, aside from being from Chicago: A bipolar diagnosis.

It’s a punch to the gut because many of us who suffer from this diagnosis know that this is a very real outcome for our lives. It’s not so much a matter of will he or won’t he kill himself, it’s more of a when will he just not be able to bear the burden any longer because even though our pain threshold is higher than most, even we have a limit to the torture we can endure.

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I’ve never suffered from an official diagnosis of severe depression, but I have spent a lifetime suffering from a diagnosis of Bipolar 1 which for me has mostly meant teetering between mania and extreme irritability.

People love you when you are manic because you are the life of the party. You are fun and funny and everyone adores you. But when you stay manic too long, you become irritable; irritable at the fact that you cannot calm down from your manic high, annoyed with yourself for being this person; for breathing. You begin to feel out of control and then you become angry and mean. You hate the world. You hate yourself. Then, just to add insult to injury, sometimes you fall from your vibrant mania heaven to the deepest, darkest pit of depression hell. You feel worthless and unworthy of the air you breathe.

I haven’t been “depressed” since my teen years. Like I said, I used to exist between manic and irritable. I’ve been non–episodic for 12 years. I’m 41. I was officially diagnosed when I was 27 but I had been exhibiting symptoms of bipolar from about the age of 15. At that time, I did frequently got depressed. I used to lay awake at night crying trying to figure out a way to disappear; to kill myself because living felt pointless and it hurt to feel that worthless. But the thought of breaking my mother’s heart was too much for me to bear so I held on.

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When I was diagnosed with Bipolar, I wept with relief. I was so happy to have a name for this terrible demon that had literally turned my life upside down. When I was diagnosed, I was on the brink of losing everything but I was so manic that I did not care. I was drinking heavily to try to quiet my mind. I would wake up chipper and pleasant and happy-go-lucky and then it was like my engine got stuck, revved up and I just couldn’t stop and I was so tired of being “up” so than I drank myself into a stupor. When I was irritable, I was mean and biting with my words. A part of me wanted to alienate everyone and destroy anything that was good in my life because I didn’t feel like I deserved it when I was coming down. That’s the thing. It’s a shame spiral. You get manic and feel like the king of the world and then you come crashing down and feel unworthy of life and that’s when the demon creeps back in. Sometimes your meds quiet the demons, sometimes they can’t. But you choose to fight, every single day until you can’t anymore.

I am non-episodic but I know every day could be the day that I become manic. I know that every day could be the end of my life as I know it. I fight. I fight to stay here to be here because today, I know how wonderful it can be. Right now, I am living as close to normal as I’ve ever been.

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Robin Williams was 63 years old, he fought his demons every day for all these years but today he was too beat down to fight back and we lost a comedic genius, a father, a husband, a friend. Today, I lost a fellow warrior. He has fallen and my heart is heavy. My thoughts and prayers are for those who loved him that he left behind, may they find the strength and courage to carry on. May he finally rest in peace.

Don’t let his death be meaningless. Don’t let one more person die in mental health vain. We need to be more open, to remove the stigma and support one another. Bipolar disorder, manic depression, depression or whatever it is that you call your demon can only be defeated when all the warriors stand tall and share our stories and own our issues. I won’t lie, Robin Williams’ suicide scares me because it makes me feel vulnerable.

There should be no shame in being sick, there should only be compassion and understanding and HELP! Share your stories. Come out of your mental health closet. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone. Don’t give up.

24-hour Hotline National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Do not go gently into that good night…Rage until you can no longer draw breath into your body.

Rage warriors, rage harder than you ever have before.

About the writer

Deborah Cruz, online known as @TruthfulMommy on Twitter is the creator of the snarky, often entertaining parenting site The TRUTH about Motherhood. She’s a writer, a wife, and a work-at-home Ninja Mommy who’s trying to do it all well; usually falling short.


Pamela L (Rookie Parenting) 1 year ago

This is so beautifully written. A heartfelt thank you!

Richard Heddington 1 year ago


Beautiful, scary and what the world needs to hear.

Sigrid 1 year ago

I have bipolar family members. My heart goes out to them as it is so difficult to understand, but I will tell you about the fear that I will lose a loved one because they cannot see a way out of this terrible illness. I hope my love and encouragement have helped them in their hour of need and that is really all one can do. Love and try to understand them. It need not be such a lonely battle. Some have a belief in a God who will help them and some find relief in humour and some in drink or drugs. Just know you are not alone and there are many suffering the same. One good thing in all of this is that bipolar people have most if not all of the following: Beauty, brains, humour and the ability to entertain. Those are blessings.

Jeff 1 year ago

I am bipolar so I can relate but I really feel the need to say something.

Robin Williams had been treated for depression, and was a recovering addict/alcoholic. He has never mentioned being bipolar of being diagnosed as bipolar. It’s all speculation based on his public persona and I don’t know about you but if someone came out and “diagnosed” my father/husband/friend as bipolar after their tragic death I think it would bother me a lot.

Carmen 1 year ago

Beautiful. Thank you. Truly.

Adrienne 1 year ago

As I read this post I remembered reading about Robin Williams’ prior addiction to cocaine and how he said it “quieted his mind” and helped him calm down. It makes perfect sense, if he was Bipolar. He probably used cocaine during his “manic” phases. He was a good man. May he rest in peace.

Vickie Saenz-Brown 1 year ago

This just made me bawl my eyes out. I felt every damn word of this. Pretty much have not stopped crying since I heard of Robin’s death. Depression of any nature is just so difficult, when it reaches this level it is so frightening for those who have it because we think, “That could be me at some point in time” Acknowledging it and getting help are the hardest part and even then don’t always take you out of the abyss. Knowing that you are not alone can be the biggest help of all. Robin’s gift of humor helped many, while his death is devastating to many of us, I hope that it brings this terrible illness to the forefront where it needs to be so that he did not die in vain, but continued to help those who need him. I cry for our loss and I cry for his pain.

Leah 1 year ago

Thank you for writing this piece. I’ve had my bouts of depression too and growing up knowing my aunt was schizophrenic terrified me. My response was to get interested in nutrition and exercise, both of which have made all the difference in my life. In high school I read “Sugar Blues” and I highly recommend it as a story of one man who figured out how to heal himself of depression and diabetes. Since then I’ve found the online archives of The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine: http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/index.shtml. Dr. Hoffer and Dr. Kunin (and many others) have been using vitamins to cure psychiatric illnesses since the 70’s and you can too. Key nutrients are B3, B6, B12, vitamin C, D, E, minerals such as zinc and selenium. There is a wealth of information that most Drs are not taught in med school.

pamela davidson 1 year ago

i am still not over robin williams death i have suffered severe depression anxiety and panick attacks since childhood abuse. lately i am not doing well due to alot of stress i see my dr this week to up my meds or try different med i have felt like hurting myself alot lately to take away the pain i suffer everyday but i am holding on for my family and grandchildren i pray everynight to GOD he will get me through each day but my heart feels so heavy at times and been strong for so long that i dont know how long i can hold on i see my dr next week but gonna make call sooner to get in sooner alot stems from surgerys ive had and suffer in pain to family issues if you was to ask me how i would hurt myself i dont know that answer really but i am fighting the thoughts of it i will be making call tomorrow to Dr people need to relize that this is a illness and alot suffer from it on top of all i am trying to fight ssi because i cant work i am partially disabled but i am being denied with all my illness and other medical issues because my hubby works 40 hrs a week and i don’t have enough work credits so i fall through the cracks as guy put it on phone its not right! so now i need to find a good attorney to fight for me and pray and hope i win case while others out there can work and screw system plus the gov helps all the illegals come to this country right off but i am in need yes its caused more depression in me, my hubby retires in like two yrs he struggles now to pay all my Dr’s and meds and appointments how is he gonna afford it when he is retired so yes this is affecting me with depression and alot anxiety and panick attacks i just wanna say robin played a major part in my life as a teen and growing up he made me smile but i can barely laugh or smile today and for long time i just want to smile be happy R.I.P Robin Williams i loved you!

Maat Salaam 1 year ago

One thing though: this is not a demon. It’s a real disease. If we refer to this as a demon, we reinforce the belief that others have that this is somehow a failing of ours, a personal issue, and not a real medical problem-which can make it harder for people to feel confident getting help. Other than that, though, great article.

Doris Calvert 1 year ago

I do not suffer from it but one good thing about his death is people are talking and it’s been given a voice and that’s when you get change, I am hoping that people who do suffer this terrible disease keep talking about it!

Lizzy 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this. My fiancé is bipolar, and I hate it for making him so unhappy and for changing him from a wonderful person into a horrible beast that is so cruel it scares me. I’ve never been able to see inside the illness. I didn’t know he felt this way, but as I was reading your words, I could imagine him coming down from the happy side to the angry side. This is so helpful, he’s never been able to put into words how he feels. We struggle with communication because I simply can’t understand why he is the way he is or why he does what he does. Thank you, a thousand times over, for sharing.

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    I can’t speak to everyone’s experience but this was mine, as honestly as I could verbalize. I am glad if it gave you some better understanding of what this feels like. I wish you and your fiance all the peace, love and mental health in the world.

alanna 1 year ago

Besutfully written and so true. My brother has bipolar with substance abuse issues and it is a roller coaster of a life. What ypu have said here is what I tell him-keep fighting the fight. I will support him forever. Thank you fpr sharing your story so candidly.

Carol Cassara 1 year ago

His suicide has brought so many people out into the light that it’s obvious the problem is deeper than it seemed before. This is a club many people belong to, this mental illness thing, and it’s time we shone a light on it.

Jenn 1 year ago

Very well said. I have talked about my issues, but I tend to keep it the “light” version. I have definitely been asking people to continue this discussion and seek help if needed. I am so fearful to come fully out of the closet with bi-polar depression. I don’t know why I am not more confident about it, but I suppose I fear that I may lose a job or miss an opportunity because of it.

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    I felt the same way. I revealed my diagnosis on my blog a few years ago. I’ve written that post and referenced it one other time. This is only the 3rd time. I only bring it up because I felt the conversation needed to be started. I too was terrified because of people judging me and losing opportunities or getting crazy looks but it’s part of who I am, only a part, and I’m not ashamed. People need to learn to accept that many of us suffer. It’s nothing we did; not a punishment for not taking care of ourselves. It is just the way we were born. Stay strong. When you are ready, you will tell people. Until then, it is yours to keep.

Lily 1 year ago

Can you share how you managed to stay away from episodes? I think it would be very helpful for those who are suffering. Thanks!

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    Honestly, I can tell you where I began but truly, I think it is just luck that I have not been episodic for 12 years. Once I was diagnosed, I began regular sessions with a psychiatrist and a psychologists. I read every book and article that I could get my hands on. I read the DSM. I read books by scientists, therapists and other sufferers. I drew strength from knowledge. I got put on meds. I changed cocktails until I found one that stopped the mania and avoided the depression. I learned to recognize the signs of mania and irritability in myself. I eliminated caffeine and alcohol from my diet ( though I do now have those things in moderation). I basically, embraced the disease and accepted that this was m y reality. I have bipolar 1 and it’s just part of who I am. It is not all that I am and then I get up every single day and I FIGHT to stay well. I also have a very strong support system in my husband and through behavioral therapy I have learned to recognize my behaviors and that gives me perspective before I’m smack dab in the middle of it. This helps me to get the help I need and we have a contingency plan in place. I know that if I go manic, I may not realize that I am manic. My husband knows the signs, he is my gage and I always am completely honest with all of my doctors about my diagnosis to prevent drug interactions that might induce mania or depression in me. It’s not easy. It took a lot of trial and error but here I am, feeling as normal as I ever have. The most important thing is to get help. You can’t do it alone and you shouldn’t have to.

Lisa 1 year ago


You said it EXACTLY. Vulnerable. His suicide, and every suicide I hear of, makes me feel vulnerable. I have Bipolar II and my episodes of depression are devestating. As we speak I am spiraling downwards. While I am headed into “only” my third crippling depression, I have had countless mini-episodes and, while not in an episode, there is always a low grade depression. If I ever became “100% un-depressed”, I would not know what to do with myself. Honestly. You saying vulnerable resonates with me because my biggest fear is leaving this world by means of suicide. For 20 years I have been lucky enough to talk myself out of taking my own life by thinking of my parents or siblings or husband or kids but when will it hurt too much to remember them? When a sufferer commits suicide, I feel like I have lost a team member and I feel VULNERABLE because I know none of us sufferers are exempt from losing this battle. None of us.

Thank you for your blog (and not just today either!)

Shirley Clark 1 year ago

He had ADHD as well, rough emotionally

MItravelgirl 1 year ago

Never, in any of the news reports or interviews with Robin Williams was it revealed he was bipolar. Where does the author get this info from? It has only been said he suffered from depression and addiction.

Jan Bontrager Teel 1 year ago

I completely agree with most everything that all of you are posting. My heart, like yours is broken because of the loss of this beautiful talented man. I don’t know a lot about depression and the question I am about to ask is asked in the most respectful way possible. When a person is depressed to the point of taking his own life, does that person lose the ability to rationalize things such as how killing himself will affect his family….what will happen to his children….etc? Again, please, understand that I am asking this only because I just am trying to understand depression that can cause beautiful talented people to step off the precipse. I have never known anyone who is depressed to this extent, but my prayer is that if I ever meet someone I will be able to help in some small way. Thank you for your answers. And rest in peace dear sweet Robin.

Jane 1 year ago

What if on your “Good Days” you wrote a message to yourself that you could read on your bad days. Something that basically said, “I know how you are feeling, this is a bad day. It will get better soon, and then the good days come back again. Hang in there, and just know it will get better soon.”

Would something like that help?

Karen 1 year ago

Excellent. Useful information as well. Thank you.

Kristin Shaw 1 year ago

Well written, Deborah. So powerful and so helpful for others. Thank you. Thank you.

Amelia Miner 1 year ago

Me too. I like that-come out of your mental health closet.

Anika Grant 1 year ago

I am soooo brokenhearted right now i don’t want to lose the battle with depression and a person who i looked at as a strong person, gave up or couldn’t take the pain anymore and ended it…it’s so scary to think about it…all the pills and potions in the world couldn’t help. what do you do when your the person destroying you????

Kim 1 year ago

I too feel scared and I too have a Bi Polor 1 diagnoses I even attempted suicide (had to be brought back to life 3 times because of it) so I know the depth of hell Mr Williams and others have been to. Please tell some one when your heart is that shattered don’t become a member of what I call The Dead Poet Society no pun intend. Also, love your self each and every day when it is hard because in the end there is one one of you for the rest of the world to benifit from.

Amy Wajda 1 year ago

Well put

d Shizzle 1 year ago

Yes, Mr. Williams killed himself. What’s the problem? What’s the problem with him taking his own life and not becoming decrepid at age 88?

Death is death; death is the end all. In a life without god, one can discern the fundamental truths about how sad and depressing life really is. There are no objective morals, there are no objective values, and there is no objective meaning to human life; the universe is utterly random.

At the end of the day, what are you really mad about–or rather–what is it that you should be mad about? Death is death, and to rain on your parade, life objectively holds no purpose other than to perish.

When the sun devours the solar system, what will be left? When black holes devour the universe, what will be left?

And because humans are naturally egotistical, you’re just going to write off my comment as being “depressed,” and that “no one wants to hear such negativity.” Well, it’s sad that you just wont acknowledge the objective truth.

All this, of course under the faith of one without a higher faith.

Marcy Chronis de Ryan 1 year ago

Thank you for this article, it was an eye opener!

Joanne Goodacre 1 year ago

Just shows money isent everything when you are deep down in that black hole it’s almost impossible to get back up !!! Who would of ever thought he was sooo unhappyRIPfrom Julie goodacre

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    MOney can’t buy happiness and mental illness and addiction do not discriminate.

Sarah Jane 1 year ago

It is very sad :-( thoughts go out to his family and friends <3

Sarah Jane 1 year ago

Its always the people that make you laugh that have depression he was a very funny man RIP Robin xx

Gloria Jackson 1 year ago

Well written, and yes, I too was afraid. He knew the phrase “This, too, shall pass” but he couldn’t wait or was too deep in the pit of depression to believe it. It broke my heart that this wonderful man lost the fight against it.

Ann Kabitzke 1 year ago

Me too

debbie ritter 1 year ago

this is so very well said….as the mother of an adult daughter that was diagnosed bipolar in her late teens but is now legally an “adult”, I worry every day that the manic daughter will be back. she has a very good handle on all aspects of her life but I know that one day the stressors may become too much to handle and she will fall….and, as an adult, she is solely responsible for herself….even though the day may come when she needs someone to be her advocate. this and the rest of the soup of mental illnesses that only get talked about when someone famous dies or takes their own life need to be a larger part of the conversations about prevention and making help readily available to everyone. and one of the good things (and saying that there is anything good to come from dealing with mental illnesses!) is that I am a kinder, more compassionate person to everyone I meet because one doesn’t truly know what any of us are dealing with – each and every day……

Connie C 1 year ago

he also suffered from alcoholism – funny how now its so easy for everyone to scream DEPRESSION and not mention is other untreated disease. I suffer from both and absolutely know there is a way out

Rosie 1 year ago

Great article. I am happy for you that you are doing well. Don’t you just HATE it when people throw around the word “bipolar” to describe someone who’s just being a bit moody??!! It makes me so angry. My brother in law suffers from bipolar – officially diagnosed and on meds. It’s a constant struggle for him and for those of us who care about him. It’s so difficult to watch him struggle with the debilitating depression and he can get really hard to be around when he’s out of control manic. I also have a brother who committed suicide after suffering from depression for many years. The only positive thing to come from Robin Williams’ death is all the light being shed on these very real, very horrible diseases. Wishing you good health.

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    I do hate it because my bipolar diagnosis is not a bad day. I am so sorry about the loss of your brother and that your brother-in-law suffers as well. I was affected by the depression when I was young but in my 20’s I was almost constantly manic. It was awful. I wish good health to your family, as well and so glad that people are talking openly about these disorders. I only wish someone didn’t have to die for it to happen:(

Mary 1 year ago

My hope is that the tragic suicide of such a well known, much loved actor brings the epidemic of suicide to the forefront. So many families have been hurt by this, my own more times than I care to remember, and most recently leaving so many hearts broken.
Suicide is a subject nobody wants to talk about. Nobody thinks it can happen in their “perfect” family. I’ve got big news for you. It happens everywhere. It happens to the most loving families. It happens to the most successful people. It happens in the most affluent communities.
I tried to get into our public schools to educate our young people about the dangers of suicide and depression. I want to let them know that help is available. I was turned away. Suicide is a taboo subject. Of course it is!! It’s like confronting the grim reaper. Nobody thinks it will happen to them. Until it does. When it does, it hits with a force that destroys people, breaks families, devastates communities. Sometimes it even leads to more suicides! I don’t know about you, but my family can no longer afford for this subject to be swept under the carpet. It can’t keep being hidden away like some deep, dark secret. Good people are dying!
Begin a discussion about suicide prevention with your loved ones. Don’t wait. Someday might be too late.

Katie 1 year ago

I work for a clinical trial site in Atlanta, Ga. We research investigational meds for most mental disorders. I am extremely proud to share your article with my FB friends and patients. It takes a lot of courage to “come out” of the mental illness closet, and not enough people are brave enough to do so. This type of piece is more important than any…it’s relatable, inspirational and gives tremendous hope. Well done and THANK YOU!

    Deborah Cruz 1 year ago

    Thank you.

tony 1 year ago

I stopped reading after this “professional” writer could find words other than “pissed off” to describe her feelings and her using the “f” word as an adjective is juvenile! I stopped after the “f” word.

Cara-Lyn 1 year ago

Well said even with the swearing… I too suffer from Bi-Polar II with manic depressive, anxiety and panic attacks. I am certainly not looking for sympathy but the fact is this is something that can start even at a very young age. So many people have no idea what its like or why even a teenager will attempt or succeed in committing suicide. So many claim, oh its just pier pressure. Sorry folks its not pier pressure its the effects of depression and even Bi-Polar. Personally I have been dealing with my own since 6th grade and in 7th grade was my 1st suicide attempt. My second was when I was 17. My 3rd was in my later 20’s. With this from a very young age also pushed me to drugs and even that was a battle because mentally your unstable and push to do more and more drugs. I am so thankful I had children because they kept me grounded and upon my last attempt I got to finally get treatment and a dr that diognosed me but my counsellor was the absolute best and without a doubt was the person (medically) to help dig deep to where and why and how I get triggered and how to help myself to control me even when my mind is pretty gone. With 4 different meds it helps but even on meds I’m sorry they are not a cure because you can still have bursts. They are a great help so I can have a life almost normal but unfortunately this state of Tennessee doesn’t really care about real medical issues of medications people really do need and even on disability I can only get 5 prescriptions a month and Tennessee will only cover 1 medication within a specific group (type) of medication group so me and others can’t get the meds we need plus if you have anything else wrong that require prescriptions you have to juggle your prescriptions and guess what sometimes you just can’t get your meds. Reason I’m saying this is because regardless people should be able or have it accessible to get these medications in every state regardless because its not like these are party pills and they help people like us from committing suicide, lashing out, being violent, disfunctional and able to live each day suffering still but not suffering to the point of no return. I feel so sorry for any and all families that have someone with depression or any form of Bi-Polar because they too are going thru hell with us and if it gets to the dark side then they have to suffer when the dark side wins and they lose. Everyday is a fight with the wonder of are we gonna win the fight again tomorrow. When will this become a real issue that people and especially medical coverage take seriously. Its sad that someone so great died because of this and so much is being said about it but the question is what is going to be done about it for all of us who suffer?

Stephanie 1 year ago

Well written and could have come straight from my heart. 35 years old still fighting the demon (Bipolar II).

Jill Loveland 1 year ago

OMG yes, this! Thank you for sharing

c 1 year ago

Sometimes it’s just hard, and then there’s that pride thing. Allot of times I’ve asked for help and none has come, of any sort.
Today is worse than normal. I’m all over the place. Not treating my dog right, can’t find the energy to do so, need to make calls. Don’t want to. Just want to sleep. Fall asleep quickly I pattern do, walking every few hours wondering what’s wrong… what did I do that was do bad.
Every day is hard. Some are worse than others.
I’m bi pol w/ s.depression.

Jaime 1 year ago

“…he fought his demons every day for all these years…” And THAT was the problem. Too many people lose the battle because they fight the demons alone. Only Jesus can save you from these forces, not drugs and alcohol. Sadly the notoriety of this suicide will become a catalyst for others who are on the brink to step over the line into eternity. http://www.goodfight.org/a_v_williams_robin.html

Canaan Roling 1 year ago

Thank you.

Daun Ann Korty 1 year ago

Thank you so much for posting. I suffer from Severe Depression and have had it for years. It’s a heard disease to live with. Medicine has kept me stable. But there was a time in the past years when suicide was thought of, but I resisted. I did try when I was in my late teens, early 20’s, but as you can see, it didn’t work. My daughter also suffers from depression. My ex was like “snap out of it.” Depression isn’t a disease that you can snap out of, it’s like diabetes, you can’t snap out of it. Some people can’t make the correct chemicals in their brain to keep depression away. Some times the only thing that keeps me from committing suicide is that my family wouldn’t get my life insurance money. I am stable with my meds. The world has lost a great man, one that is now at peace. Bright Blessings Robin Williams.

David Raines 1 year ago

Thanks for the article – I am happy to say after being depressed all my life and then having it magnified beyond Human understanding by my Dear Son Brett’s passing at 24 in Jan 2013 ~ I was givin a solution to that depression 12 weeks ago and much to my astonished delight it is 100% gone!
I am sad today though as today would have been Brett’s 25th birthday, but I know he’s happy and full of joy in Heaven!

Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services 1 year ago

Counselors are standing by to listen to you with a nonjudgmental ear. 1-800-273-8255


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