This past summer, actor Robin Williams committed suicide. He was a TV and movie icon, beloved by millions, and his death caused a lot of people an incredible amount of pain. Some couldn’t understand just how someone that talented, that funny, who played such lovable characters, could kill himself.
Here’s one possible explanation: Depression.
Williams, like many others, struggled with the disease on his own for years. He didn’t seek medical help for it, and he struggled with drug and alcohol addictions as well. He had suicidal thoughts and didn’t reach out, and that was years before his suicide. His undiagnosed manic depression, US Weekly magazine points out, probably had a lot to do with his suicide.
The exact trigger for his suicide is unknown. Williams was also diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a disease similar to Parkinson’s; he could have had hallucinations that drove him to commit suicide. But, undiagnosed depression remains a key suspect and probable component of the tragedy.
Thus, depression can affect everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or how many people care for you. Depression is a disease. It doesn’t discriminate.
But here’s the good news: You are not alone.
Do as Robin Williams said to a Redditor in need: “Reach out to friends. They’re out there. And know that you are loved.”
Written by: Cailin Reedy
This story originally appeared in Facing Depression in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the Ingelhart Scholars at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.