They say that comedians have the saddest experiences. That behind every witty and laughable punch lines are the unhappy realities and truths lived by them. Well-known actor-comedian Robin Williams has something to say about that. Known as one of the best comedians in show business, Robin Williams has brought a lot of smiles and laughter to everyone. What made him a great comedian is his wit and ability to crack jokes with just a blink of an eye. Little did most people know that he, too, is battling his own demons inside.
How he started
Williams grew up to be a very quiet and an introverted young man. In his documentary Come Inside My Mind, he recalled that his father was “very intense” and is “not prone to outward emotion.” His mother, on the other hand, was his father’s opposite because she receives humor better.
Realizing that he has a knack in making people laugh, he started to do stand-up comedy at small bars. Soon he discovered that it is fulfilling to see his audience smile and laugh at his jokes. Later on, he got discovered and became a guest star as Mork in the hit sitcom “Happy Days.” From there, the rest is history as they say.
Since his success in Happy Days and Mork and Mindy, he became even more popular. He starred in countless movies and sitcoms such as Good Morning Vietnam, Aladdin, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Night at the Museum. However, unknown to everyone, he was struggling with alcohol and cocaine addiction for many years. This is for him to cope with his anxiety and self-centeredness. But his kids became the reason to quit this kind of addiction even though he sometimes relapses and returns to rehab occasionally.
Succumbing to depression
By 2013, Williams was experiencing paranoia, forgetfulness (especially on his movie lines), insomnia, and inability to smell. This was then followed by extreme anxiety, tremors, and impaired reasoning ability. All these happened without him realizing what causes everything to set in. Eventually, he was diagnosed to have Parkinson’s disease. His doctors assured him that medications can control his tremors and he would be able to live 10 or more years of a fulfilled life.
And then August of 2014 came. The whole world was in shock of the news that he took his own life. He was found hanging in his home in California. There was no alcohol or illegal drugs that were found in his body. Many were baffled as to why he would commit suicide. And then news later reported that his death was caused by extreme depression.
The autopsy on his body revealed that he was experiencing symptoms of Lewy body dementia. It is the same as Parkinson’s, but Lewy body forms in the brain’s largest part first. This then triggers early cognitive deterioration. Technically, he was losing his mind and he was completely aware of it.
Robin Williams is indeed without a doubt one of the foundations of the comedy industry. However, he is also a reminder that depression and other kinds of mental illness should not be taken lightly. Depression is real and a support system needs to be in place to help people suffering from it to cope up.