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The trouble with depression

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The death of noted actor Robin Williams washed over the world like a tsunami of shock. Even people who only knew him through his celluloid exploits crumbled as if a member of their family had passed on. Some celebrated a lifetime of achievement in the arts, commentators divined an altruistic compulsion driving this unstable reactor of talent to bequeath laughter to a wounded world. Hell, even ISIS jihadis took time out from their bloody siege in Iraq to profess their love for Williams in Jumanji.

Immediately, depression was fingered as the culprit in this suicide. One article theorised that Robin Williams was “killed” by his disease. Not to rubbish the domineering role depression can play in an individual’s life, but it is quite early to convict mental illness as the sole contributory factor. The actor had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, admitting to a relapse on a movie set in 2004. He was married twice before his current, widowed wife. Information about domestic troubles was widely celebrated by tabloid America. 

Williams also confided to friends there were several roles he’d rather not take on, but the usurious demands of alimony payments kept him chasing cheques. Beneath a permanently ebullient countenance, Robin Williams was a man battling not just “demons” but something far more insidious; life.


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