When being funny, just wasn’t enough

Last night the grim news broke on news channels and social media that Robin Williams had died at the age of 63. And it is reported that Robin took his own life and had been suffering from depression.

I can remember when Mork and Mindy hit our TV screens and Mork’s favourite saying was ‘Nanu Nanu’.  As I child I laughed at the capers of Mork and how Mindy had to deal with the escapades he got himself in. Robin through his many roles, from Nanny to President, made us laugh and made us cry at times and he will be forever one of Hollywood’s greatest.

In light of Robin’s death, Jason Manford on Facebook posted the script from one of those episodes… It is rather ironic that later in life those words and reasons must have played a part in why Robin’s decision to take his own life.

“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I‘m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Depression hits all of us at some time, whether it be through illness, our jobs, or in general.  Depression and loneliness go hand in hand… People with depression want help, but sometimes we are just too damn scared to ask for it.  And when we do, some people jeer and make a mockery of depression.  Of course not forgetting the usual, ‘Pull yourself together’ line that people who are depressed are told, so often, to do

That is the sad part of depression, some people can’t pull themselves together, no matter how much they want to and no matter how hard they try to.

Robin Williams, was the funny guy, we his fans expected every time he was on our screens or in an interview to be funny, but did we fail to see that at times, that the funny guy just didn’t feel like being funny?

The person who is strong and who everyone turns to in times of need, at times in their lives feel that they have enough to contend with their own lives, yet alone anyone else’s, yet they feel obliged to help and listen, because they want to help others.  Do we fail at times to notice that they too may be suffering and they need us once in a while?

When depression hits, even simple thoughts playing heavily on a dark and saddened mind that is being tortured through anxiety, fear and depression.

By all accounts Robin Williams, tried to deal with his depression and other issues he had with alcohol, but unfortunately he could only see a dark side to everything… He couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, which inevitably led him to taking his own life.

No one will know what his thoughts were, what made him take his life… But us, those of us he has left behind, must learn that someone with depression needs help and we shouldn’t make mental illness feel like it is a stigma.  A stigma that a depressed person feels that they have to hide and not seek help from.  We shouldn’t make a person feel guilty or inadequate because they have a mental illness.

And each of us should remember that there are days when the funny guy doesn’t feel like being funny, and the strong person doesn’t feel like being strong…. But above all we must banish the feeling that people have when they are depressed… We must not make depression feel like a stigma and we must encourage people to seek help.  Failing to do so, will be like hiding depression in the cupboard behind everything and making depression a taboo subject and people fearful of seeking help.

Rest in Peace Robin Williams my thoughts and prayers are with your family, friends and colleagues at this sad time…. May they be allowed to come to terms with their loss and to deal with their grief in their own way and time, and most of all away from the glare of the media.



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