Entertainers, good ones, draw you in and make you feel a connection to them. You may feel angry at a character they play or terrified by them in an all too believable role as a villain. They may touch your heart through a moving and emotional scene or raise your spirits with humour at your lowest times. This connection is usually deeper when you can relate to the actor/entertainer or his character on some level. Today, a master at reaching out to his audience through the screen, left us. Today Robin Williams took his own life and the shock I feel is overwhelming. His often manic humour reached me because I understood the desperate need for love and happiness. The golden chalice he always seemed to be chasing but never seemed to really reach. He was able to touch my heart with his truly tender nature in movies like Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, Good Morning Vietnam and even the goofy, Mrs. Doubtfire. The moments of raw vulnerability always reminded me that the person laughing the hardest can often be the person hurting the deepest. Today the world learned that behind the crazy, non- stop humour was a truly tortured soul. I always felt it there, running only slightly below the surface. I felt it and I understood it. I related to the desperate need for love and acceptance and the terrible belief of never being quite good enough, never really being loved because of the simple fact of not being worthy of love- unloveable. I saw this in Robin Williams, I felt it in my heart. I knew he struggled with addiction and I knew this was probably a symptom of depression. I am no expert but like can often recognize like.
The hardest part for me today is realizing that all that comforts in the world, all the money and adoration were no match for that vicious bitch, depression. Millions loved him, millions enjoyed him, but it wasn’t enough. What is enough? I had hoped he had conquered his demons. I had hoped that he had finally recognized that he was worthy of love and admiration. With the whole world telling him he was wonderful how could Robin Williams not feel like he could accomplish anything? The reality that came crashing down today is that he couldn’t face even one more day. Couldn’t see how loved he was by so many, couldn’t bask in all of the beauty in his life. I had hoped he had broken free, was one of the lucky ones to escape the terrible mental prison but it’s shackles held him like indestructible chains. If scientists ever figure out how to intentionally plunge someone into the throes of depression there will be no need for concrete penitentiaries, the criminals can all be locked away in their own private, inescapable hell.
It devastates me to realize that this battle continued for Robin Williams, through so much professional and financial success, money truly couldn’t buy him happiness. At 63 years old he finally gave up the fight. The idea of fighting that long exhausts my soul. The thought of struggling for that long… it’s too much.
All I can hope is that he has finally found peace.
That’s when I realized I’m part of the problem. Not because I remind you. But because I couldn’t join you. So I left you alone. Don’t give up, okay? -Robin Williams as Chris Nielsen in What Dreams May Come