My deepest, most sincerely heartfelt apologies go out to Robin Williams family for their tragic loss. The whole world will grieve along with you, or at least I know I am.
I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, but he certainly touched my soul. In my opinion he is and will always be the greatest comedic talent of our time. His intelligent, lightening fast wit, switching back and forth effortlessly between so many totally believable and hilarious characters, all delivered with such impeccable timing – helped me out of my own dark moods many times. I’m so sorry someone who had that incredible gift to be able to do that for others, simply couldn’t for himself.
I was fortunate enough to see him live several times, and I quite literally cried with laughter every time. My favorite performance was the benefit for the Comedy Club he did about ten years ago. It was exciting to see him in a small venue, and I managed to land a table in the front. I was thrilled to be part of his repartee with the audience, and I’m convinced most of his act that evening was entirely improvisational – it was pure genius in action, and you felt it. Evidently the club was in a spot of financial trouble, so the actor known for his philanthropic work helping the homeless, did a benefit to ensure the club he got his start in, didn’t end up homeless. Of course the irony of the club sitting atop a multi-million dollar piece of real estate on the famous Sunset Strip did not escape a clever wisecrack or two. We all howled with laughter, so much so, it was a struggle to catch my breath with my belly shaking so violently, like Jello in a hurricane of laughter.
I certainly hope we all remember Robin Williams for all the happiness, laughter, and sometimes tears, his prolific career brought us; and for his tireless efforts to help those less fortunate, as his family have requested. However, I do believe he would also want us to work towards a better understanding of depression – it is so much more common than you may think. Most of us have either experienced it ourselves, or have family and friends who have suffered silently in pain too, yet it remains a tabu subject for discussion. I’m not sure why? Whether it’s just too personal, or we fear what we don’t understand. It is often impossible for those who’ve never experienced it to “get” how all-consuming that darkness can be, or to recognize it for what it is – an illness that may well require treatment.
There is a huge difference between feeling down when there is an actual life event that causes those feelings, and being clinically depressed. When that kind of depression has you in it’s grasp, it robs you of all hope and joy, and distorts our perception of ourselves and others. Depression is the master of isolation, often rendering the suffering incapable of reaching out for help, and that’s when it can rapidly spiral from a suicidal thought into a very real, irrevocable, and deadly action. The emotional pain and inner turmoil can be so severe, and the battle against the illness so long, some of us finally run out of the strength to go on fighting it.
Both as a society, and as someone who cares about another that suffers – be aware of those around you, and reach out to them if you suspect something’s not right – you may be saving a life. Unfortunately, depression is also cunning and baffling, so there may never be visible signs before it is too late, and sometimes treatment fails. There is still so much research to be done on the disease before we conquer it. My hope is that in losing someone so beloved by all – it will make us more aware, infinitely more understanding, and encourage putting more resources into wiping this dastardly disease out of existence.
Thank you for bringing so much light and happiness into my life. You will be greatly missed but never forgotten, Robin Williams!