In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I had just finished watching our recorded episode of ‘True Blood’ on Sky+. Feeling quite content, I logged onto facebook and found such an emotional outpouring from all of my friends about the late and very great Robin Williams. Within the past few years, many screen icons that I looked up to, and hoped I would be able to work in film on such a level as them, have disappeared one-by-one but for some reason, I was generally saddened by his news. It has taken me around 24 hours to realise why, but I think it is the irony of it all and realising the fragility of life.
Robin Williams, a man who was incredibly funny, witty and just full of life was generally such a mentally haunted man. This was a guy who brings laughter around the world and had such as distinct style of comedy. For my generation, he lit up childhoods by appearing in films such as ‘Patch Adams’ ‘Jumanji’ and my favourite disney film of all time ‘Aladdin’ and even though he will be admired and respected for his roles in ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’, it will always be his children’s classics that will stick with me. He made my family and I laugh in times of desperate need, and I watched ‘Aladdin’ so many times as a child, I wore out several tapes before being bought the special edition DVD. He was my genie of the lamp and forever will be.
The irony of the situation is that all the laughter that was within him, he gave selflessly to the rest of the world, but never kept any laughs or light for himself. But that after-all that is the bitch that is depression. I have a strong family history of my nearest and dearest suffering this invisible and crippling illness, and have a mild form myself which comes in the shape of SAD’s (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which temporarily triggers all the same symptoms due to lack of light producing chemicals in the brain. Suicide and depression is not selfish or overdramatic. When I am suffering with SAD’s, nothing is good, everything is dark and bleak and worst of all, no one can do anything for me. I just have to ride it out. But I am lucky, the majority of the time I am filled with sunshine and happiness but I always remember that deep dark cave that I will return too at some point. Because of this, I cannot help but really feel for people who can never find the escape hatch from the dark cave.
So when I think of Robin Williams, I can feel the pain in his mind, which must have been so excruciating that it unfortunately led to his needless death. But I believe that he has left behind a legacy, not just in his work, but his open nature of mental health disorders. In the creation of many of my short films, I try to tackle these issues (as well as you can within a visual medium) and I think he has made people, particularly in the UK, think.
All I have seen over the past 24 hours is support in people seeking help, articles raising awareness and the most important point- depression does not discriminate and it is an illness. People within the UK need to learn this point and to not dismiss or mock those that suffer, as you never know when an event in your life may trigger depression in you.
Robin Williams was a great man whose spirit will live on in the films he has created and the hearts and minds of those who watch them. He has created such as positive impact during his life and this will carry on after his death.