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Ray Rossi on Robin Williams and depression

Kevin Winter Collection: Getty Images Entertainment
Kevin Winter Collection: Getty Images Entertainment

Rightly so, there will be tons of platitudes following the untimely death of Robin Williams.
Gifted actor, brilliant comedian, great friend, overall wonderful person.

You’re seeing it now on Twitter and will hear it from those who knew him – and those of us who’ve been touched by his work.

Here’s the thing that has me wondering.
While many in the media seem to want to concentrate on his life and avoid talking about his death – perhaps it’s only fitting to talk about what could very well had led to his taking his own life.

Depression.
He’s been known to battle depression a good while.

According to this:

“He has been battling severe depression of late,” his media representative Mara Buxbaum told CNN.

And you might just ask, “how could he possibly be depressed when he had so much going for him?”

And that’s the problem. Many who do not suffer from depression think it’s caused by some event.
Much to the contrary, there are many reasons – many of which we’re now trying to understand.

I know from this. I too have been – and at times suffer from depression.
Where it comes from I don’t know – but I do know that there’s a stigma that’s as deadly as the disease itself.

The stigma usually occurs when friends or family tell you things like, “it’s all in your head” – or words to that effect.
That’s why it’s so hard to talk about. It’s because of the stigma.

And Robin Williams, with whatever demons he battled, never shied away from recognizing those demons and talking about them.
He did – and eventually entered rehab for the drug abuse that could very well have been brought on by his depression.

Of course we won’t know until all the investigations are completed.

But do know this – depression isn’t just “all in your head.” It’s an illness, just like the common cold. In fact, it’s been called, by one source as “the common cold of mental illness” – because of how widespread it is.

Everyone who has it deals with it in their own way – but the first thing to do is recognize it – and not giving in to the misconception that’s it will pass – or that it’s “all in your head”.

You need to treat it just like any other disease. And not give in to the naysayers who tell you it’s a sign of weakness.

So as much as we give homage to Robin Williams for the brilliant body of work he left behind – let’s always be mindful of the disease that “dare not speak its name” – but affects millions – not thousands, but millions just the same.

And many throughout the years; as you’ll see from the list here.

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