In the wake of all my writings, this will be one of the more difficult posts I will have to write. I found out last night that one of my favourite actors and mentors committed suicide and I am saddened and left in a state of shock. How is it possible? Robin Williams has passed away? Not only has he passed away, but by suicide. The newspapers mention depression but they do not mention bipolar disorder. Perhaps it is gutsy for me to assume that Robin Williams suffered from the same affliction that I do, but in my heart it really seems to have been the case. Still, besides this pondering, the bottom line is that Robin Williams ended his life by suicide and was known to be severely depressed.
It boggles my mind that such an entertaining, happy-go-lucky man lost the will to live, and he did not survive the stigma that society had bestowed upon him. Even Williams, an outrageous comedian, well respected actor, and a man with a charitable heart, felt he could not be open about his mental illness. There were whispers of his manic highs expressed on-stage in his comedic acts, but never did we hear anything about him suffering with depression. This wonderful and beautiful individual did not survive the stigma of mental illness and in the end, it perhaps was even the contributory factor to end his life. When someone doesn’t have the will to talk about it, they simply suffer in silence, which often leads to a devastating end.
The legacy this man has left behind is heartwarming and I will never forget being 11 years old and watching Good Morning Vietnam with my father who was laughing loudly. I was much too young to even be watching that show and to understand the movie, but knew this guy was talented and obviously really funny! As I grew older, I watched Mrs. Doubtfire, I soon began to understand this humorous man and loved his quirky style and hilarious approach to wearing women’s clothing. Then my heart was captured by his role as Patch Adams as he visited young children in hospitals putting on a show to make their day brighter and more hopeful. There existed no other movie that touched my heart more than the Fisher King where Williams played a homeless man aiming to better his life. It was a raw and a realistic portrayal of hope and truth.
I only wonder what if Robin Williams did ask for help. What if he reached out to his wife and said “I am depressed and want to end my life, please help me!” I then wonder if he was afraid what the world would think of him, would we consider him weak? Would people view him differently? Would they respect him less? Maybe he was afraid and felt this was the only way out to escape his pain. How I wish we were all encouraged to seek the help when we needed it. If only we received this encouragement from others, then we would have one more beautiful shining star to continue to share the world with. You will be missed Mr. Williams and your legacy of heart felt love and laughter will never be forgotten.