Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What Robin Williams Can Teach You

A few hours ago, the world learned that Robin Williams died. He was a man with incredibly unique gifts whose passing will be mourned by millions. But the Robin Williams that I related to was not the actor, but the man.

About a month ago, I was watching the first season of Mork and Mindy, the show that launched Williams into popular culture. Though I had seen bits of the show as a child, now that I am older I understood upon the rewatch that no one could be that energetic for so long. And sure enough I was right. In the early 1980s just as Mork was winding down, Williams began to take cocaine as a way to calm himself down.

Upon discovering this, I immersed myself in Robin Williams interviews, and was amazed by what I found.

In 2008, Williams sat down with comedian and psychologist, Pamela Stephenson. She hosted a show titled Shrink Rap, in which she would conduct an hour long therapy session with a celebrity in an attempt to discover what makes them so talented.

But Robin Williams was different. His talent was bourne out of sadness. He turned to comedy as a form of validation. Then he got too much validation, and turned to cocaine as a way of isolating himself from the rest of the world. When the hour concluded I thought to myself: 

How is he not dead yet?

If this tragedy teaches you anything, it is that depression is the most deadly of all diseases. Identify it, and when you have, communicate with your love ones, seek professional help, and remember that people love you.

Robin Williams brought joy to so many people, but today's events, tragic as they are, teach us so much more.

It might even save your life.  

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