It is with a heavy heart that I write this piece about comedic legend Robin Williams. He was someone that literally touched lives across generations. His comedic value was priceless, and he continued to break barriers throughout his career. Robin Williams also suffered deeply from substance abuse and mental illness, both of which were a common thread through his all-too-short life.
Here’s a touch of what Robin Williams taught me:
- He taught me that being different was ok, if not downright cool.
- He taught me to be who I am and to take risks.
- He taught me to laugh in the face of adversity.
- He reinvigorated my love of poetry.
- He taught me that love is invaluable and that sometimes we have to do whatever we can to let it shine.
I only wish that the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse didn’t rest in his shadow. I wish he had time to see the outpouring of love and celebration for his genius. My hope is that we can SEE our loved ones who are suffering with kind and compassionate eyes, and that we can make efforts to normalize mental illness and substance abuse. Depression is serious business, it cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. Self-care is often low on the priority list in depression; it’s that thing often out of reach. It’s up to us to give depression and mental illness a voice.
We all have fond memories of Robin Williams, moments of his comedic genius (some of which are too rife with expletives to post here), and moments of seriousness. Here are a few fine moments with Robin Williams that capture a mere smattering of his versatility and light:
His compassion in Patch:
Telling stories to heal in Fisher King:
His quirkiness in Mork and Mindy: