Lessons from Robin Williams: combat depression before it’s too late


Much like the rest of my generation, I grew up laughing at Mrs. Doubtfire’s funny antics, cried at Jack’s attempts to fly as Peter Pan again and imagined how great life would be if I had my own Genie.

When my phone lit up to inform me of Robin Williams’ passing my heart broke as if I had personally known him. That’s the effect Robin had. That’s why everyone is reacting. That is why we are all emotionally involved with this case. There is also a quiet whisper, alarming us of the number of suicidal incidents celebrities have been experiencing lately. It seems as though Hollywood’s new fad is depression and suicide. Drug and alcohol addiction are clear indicators of depression and most of these stars are battling their addiction when they succumb and take their own life. The bigger question at this point shouldn’t be blaming these stars for their shortcomings or pointing fingers at them for being bad role models. Our focus now, more than ever, should be on talking about depression. Let’s find out why more and more people are suffering from this silent disease and why they’re afraid of speaking up. We need to accept that depression is real, it affects us all and can have dire consequences if not diagnosed and treated on time.

Robin was a funny man. He was rich, famous and had lots of friends. I’m sure his life was a lot easier and less stressful than us ordinary folks. “Why would someone as rich as him commit suicide or be depressed?”

Depression knows no colour, gender, race or class. When you feel sad for a long period of time your performance, everyday life and attitude change.  You become short-tempered, eat a lot or very little, sleep a lot or become sleep deprived and most of all, you lose hope. The future doesn’t look so bright anymore. You find yourself unable to go on. Life becomes harder and harder and sometimes, you think to yourself, that maybe it would all get better if you weren’t alive anymore. If you have this thought you need to seek help. Emptiness and lifelessness can make not only you but your family suffer.

Are you depressed?

  • If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
  • you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
  • you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
  • you feel hopeless and helpless
  • you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
  • you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
  • you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)

It’s a shame that this tragic event is giving us an opportunity to start the much needed conversation on the topic of  mental health but it’s never too late. Let’s change our perspective.


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