I remember reading an interview (article?) several years ago, in which it was revealed Robin Williams had had a quiet, withdrawn and rather unhappy childhood. This surprised me, because he always seemed so happy. Yes, I know he struggled with addiction and depression; I also know some think he was also bipolar.
“Well, he’s okay now,” I used to think. It also gave me hope for myself.
But he wasn’t okay, not all the time at least.
Now a lot of people are saying, “He made others happy but he couldn’t make himself happy.” The whole “tragic clown” story. I don’t think so. He did make himself happy: laughter gave him joy. Happiness is a fickle emotion, more so for some than others, but even its unreliability doesn’t render each moment of it any less real. He lived, he grew both as a person and as a successful actor, he spent his life doing what he loved. And in his own way, he helped make things a lot more bearable for so many people.
The next time somebody tells you “Depression is not a life-threatening disease!” remind them of the many who have lost their lives to it. But remember, even they didn’t lose ALL their lives to it.
It was Robin Williams’ life and he lived it.