Family Magazine

Robin Williams: The Mask of Humor

By Sandwichedboomers @SandwichBoomers

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-32089778-2798-2798Beloved actor Robin Williams struggled with severe depression and substance abuse throughout his illustrious career. On Monday, August 11, he committed suicide at age 63.

We all wear masks at one time or another, pretending everything is OK. It’s normal to hide personal pain. Yet the bad feelings don’t just disappear.

Whether you’re facing a crisis, giving up roles that define you or adjusting to loss and a new reality, examine what’s missing in your life. Decide the changes you need to make and refuse to give up. The following tips may help you move forward, step-by-step:

Look deep inside. Perhaps you’re in denial about your state of mind and what’s in your best interests. If you’ve been feeling sad and are withdrawn or holding back, think about what you’re hiding. Or if you’re frustrated and acting out, focus on what’s making you so angry. Try to be honest with yourself.

Reduce your stress. Tension from pressures can be a catalyst for negative behavior. Honor your body. Pay attention to your exercise routine, what you eat, sleeping habits and what gives you pleasure. Actually, schedule relaxation into your daily routine until it becomes a habit.

Seek the support you need. Spend time with friends who know what you’re going through or who have had similar experiences themselves. Talk with family members whose opinions you respect and trust. And connect often with those who make you feel understood and safe.

See a therapist. You may be confused about what to do next. Getting help with problems and learning effective coping skills can be a lifesaver. As you put unfinished business to rest and take better care of yourself, you can be more direct and honest with those who are important to you.

Accept who you are becoming. Redefining your self can lead to greater resilience and you’ll gradually feel stronger and more powerful. Notice as you shift from being afraid of the future to feeling excited about what lies ahead.

Be congruent in your life. Recognize that when you feel one way and act another, you’re out of sorts. Work on synchronicity; that is, making what you feel match what you do. Integrate your core values and personal ideals into how you view the world, and live them.

Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. An estimated 16 million U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode or a bout of depressive symptoms in the past year.

Men with depression are likely to mask their sadness by engaging in risky behaviors, abusing substances or turning to outlets like excessive work or sports. And they’re also more likely than women to commit suicide. Over 750,000 people attempt suicide in the United States each year and 30,000 people are successful.

It’s impossible to be positive or optimistic when you’re suffering from a void that you cannot fill. And if those around you don’t understand how dark and deep depression can be, you feel incredibly lonely. The road to healing is long and hard. And some people just can’t find their way to meaning and purpose or see the point in going on.

Robin William’s wife said, “As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”  Let’s also not forget at this time and always that, for our loved ones in pain, humor can mask the suffering inside.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog