I know this isn’t part of the regularly scheduled program but I have just heard of some devastating news. Robin Williams has died back home in the states at the age of 63. It was an apparent suicide from a battle with depression.
Now I didn’t think this would hurt as much as it does considering I never knew the man personally. But let me just list off a few of his movies that I watched growing up…
Aladdin (favorite Disney movie of all time)
…and so much more.
And here is a list of movies I have not seen that I really want to…
Dead Poets Society
Night at the Museum
Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Will Hunting
…and even more that I really should.
I grew up knowing his name and I remember playing a game where you named an actor and had to name movies that actor was in more than the other player to win. I did not watch many movies at that time growing up, but do you want to know what actor I knew the most movies from? Robin Williams. Aladdin was my favorite Disney movie growing up and is still easily in my top three (and I don’t even like Disney all that much). I have watched that movie more times than I can count and still appreciated it with every viewing. Aladdin was the only Disney movie (that I could remember) that I actually wanted toys from to play with. Aladdin and so many of his other movies that I grew up with and watched over and over allowed Robin Williams to come into my home and become a part of my life. Yeah, I did not know him personally, but I felt like I did because he was a constant presence during my childhood.
He was more than just an actor. He was an extremely funny comedian that now I will make it a point to find some of his standups and watch them, only now I will appreciate them in a different way being an adult. He was also a super nerd who supported the gaming community and made us feel like we had a partner. Hell, he named his daughter Zelda after the Legend of Zelda series. Can’t get much more nerdy than that.
What hurts as well was that he was suffering from depression before he died and his suicide was the end result of that. Depression is no laughing matter (heh…) and should be taken seriously. Mental illness is not taken as seriously as it should and people think that you can just brush it off and be fine or to suck it up and get over it. There are just some things that you can’t just “get over” and need help from others.
I reach this message out to the folks back home and those here in Japan: if you are feeling down or you feel at the lowest you didn’t think was possible, reach out to someone and talk about it. There is nothing wrong or embarrassing with seeking help when you need it. Find a family member or friend or stranger or your pet fish to talk to. Cry if you need to. There is always someone out there who can help, even if it is just a listening ear. You’d be amazed at how better you feel by just talking about it. And life gets better, trust me.
I also reach out to those who know of their friends or loved ones suffering from depression or having a rough time in their lives. Please be there for them with open arms so that when they feel they are ready, they can come to you and prevent any sort of tragedy like this from happening. If someone says they are depressed, believe them. You never know what they are feeling on the inside. Even if you do not believe it yourself and you think that it is just a phase or something that time will take care of, just be there to listen. It may not be important to you, but it is important to them.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but if you do not seek it (or willing to help someone who needs it), then we will all be left in the darkness…
RIP Robin Williams. You will be missed.