Robin Williams: Battle With Depression cover

Robin Williams: Battle With Depression

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Robin Williams may have spent most of his life making other people laugh – but he was often crying inside.





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Robin Williams: Battle With Depression

His Inside Battle

Robin Williams may have spent most of his life making other people laugh – but he was often crying inside.

Friends close to the actor remember a very different person to the comic maverick he portrayed on stage and screen. Away from the cameras, he was quiet and considered; he spoke in a low, slow baritone and was known in Hollywood for his sensitivity and generosity.

Below the Surface

Public Domain

Below the Surface

But while he was happy to talk publicly about his addictions to booze and drugs, he kept his longer and more personally painful battle with depression to himself.

Consuming Him

In the weeks before his death, Williams checked into the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota where he claimed he was ‘taking the opportunity to fine-tune and focus’ his hard-fought sobriety.

In truth, Williams was more worried about the bouts of depression that were consuming him.

In one of the last photographs of the actor taken on June 30 at a Dairy Queen restaurant close to the clinic, Williams looks particularly frail. Unshaven, he clasps his hands in front of him without looking at the camera.

An Unexpected End

It was a battle so personal, even Williams couldn’t find the humor in the situation to hide behind.

But after the suicide there was little choice but to try and explain to his millions of fans around the world just why he would do such a thing.

“He has been battling severe depression of late,” said the actor’s publicist Mara Buxbaum. “This is a tragic and sudden loss.”

Keeping Appearances

Keeping Appearances

Image by Eva Rinaldi (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A Hard Hit

While he’d never admitted to clinical depression he did offer a clue to his struggles in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’.

“No clinical depression, no,” he insisted. “No. I get bummed, like I think a lot of us do at certain times. You look at the world and go, ‘Whoa.’ Other moments you look and go, ‘Oh, things are OK.’

“Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes. Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.”