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Robin Williams RIP

Robin Williams has passed away today, after what appears to be a tragic suicide. To those only familiar with his on screen comedy antics, this would be hard to believe – the constant positive energy, and barrage of one liners and impromptu impressions of any and everything that came into his wonderful and creative mind. To most of us though, Robin Williams was more of a stereotypical ‘sad clown’ with his constant humour and jokes on screen being contrasted to a more disturbed individual off camera.

Williams certainly had his demons (The Guardian touched on this with a 2010 interview with the actor here)  and no doubt the pressures of fame, and the expectation of constantly being whacky and hilarious make this seem like another celebrity death. His tragic end though, should resonate with most of us.

His troubles are things we see and experience everyday in our relationships with others – alcoholism, substance abuse, failed marriages, pressures to impress and project a certain image of yourself. Terms used to describe Williams and his life are terms we associate every day to people – hyperactive, manic, lost, fearful, lonely, troubled. There will be many calls to spare a thought for Robin and his family today, but perhaps we should also take a moment to think about those around us who are troubled by the same issues which faced the Oscar winning actor.

For all the media attention celebrity deaths get, there is just as much of a backlash from people claiming it is undeserved compared to other global issues worthy of such coverage. Sometimes, though, the death of a celebrity can cause dialogue and introspection among everyday people, as the death of Robin Williams surely should. If we can take some time to think about ourselves and those around us, and see the impact that life can have on our mental health and well being, this can be a positive to take from this situation. Robin Williams gave us so much happiness in his eventful life – maybe the story of his death can help us find a little more that’s been missing for some of us. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that he couldn’t confide in others who may have been able to offer guidance.

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JB

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