Robin Williams: the man with the sad smile

R.I.P. Robin Williams. He was a great actor. One of our favourite people on TV. He made us all laugh for years whilst internally he was suffering a severe mental health problem. He had depression, and—according to the cause of death report—it is that depression has taken his life away. Depression stole him from our lifes. How come he was able to hide it? We knew it all about this man. We knew him even better than many of our neighbours.

We learned from John Keating at the Dead Poets Society, laughed with Mrs Doubtfire's troubled life, saw Aladin’s wishes come true thanks to the Genie, heard from Peter Pan that living was an awfully big adventure, learned about motivation with Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam and imagined thousands of adventures with president Theodore Roosevelt in Night at the Museum or Alan Parrish in Jumanji. We even saw Patch Adams helping others to recover from mental issues. We still didn’t see it coming. We had no idea.

This only teaches us people with depression fight a battle a lot of us know nothing about. Also sometimes people with depression can hide their condition well from us. This also shows that many of us around people with depression are not ready to deal with it and help them overcome it. This proves how important it is to give our full attention to someone going through it as soon as we know what’s going on.

People with depression, just like Robin Williams, are not selfish, they don't 'put it on' and they don't 'do it for attention'. They certainly cannot 'just get over it'. They have a real illness that is just not as visible as a bleeding wound or the flu, but can be way more dangerous. Depressed people can lose control of themselves and forget how valuable they are to the world.


Today is a sad day because for the rest of us is difficult to accept that someone who just brought joy and happiness to our lives has died in such a lonely way. Most people suffering mental health issues never seek help or finish their treatment due to stigma, lack of support, shame or lack of time and resources. Hopefully this terrible event will help us to learn, accept, support and raise awareness.

Robin, you’ll be missed. Thanks for everything.