Advance View: Williams still reaching out

How does a man who was able to get millions – perhaps billions – of people laughing out loud fall into such a state of despair that he could take his own life?

Robin Williams’s suicide has shocked and perplexed people around the world. He was such a funny guy… and talented… and sought after… and loved.

He had a knack for getting to the heart of human foibles and infirmities, and turning them inside out in such a way that we could all laugh at ourselves with impunity.

He understood his audience – and his audience was practically everybody.

His comedy lay in the fact that he truly understood the human condition, and was able to reach into our dark corners and draw us out into the light. And perhaps that’s the answer to the question we posed at the outset: he understood too well what lay in our darkest corners, because he often lived in those dark corners himself.

Williams suffered from bouts of deep depression, and it’s no surprise that he was going through one of those episodes at the time of his death.

And once again, he may be pulling us out of our dark corner – this time, unfortunately, his service comes without any hint of humour.

Perhaps the great comedian, through the massive grief that his passing has incurred across the globe, will wake us up to the fact – not an opinion, not a speculation, not a suggestion – that depression is a disease, not a choice to feel miserable, and certainly not a mood that you just need to “snap out of.” Without treatment, it is too often a fatal condition – a terminal illness.

Some depression can be cured, like a bacterial infection, but more often it requires ongoing management, like diabetes.

The first step to treatment is to reach out and speak to someone.

And the second step is for those of us lucky enough to be healthy today to reach back, and just try to understand.

– B.G.

Just Posted

Langley goes Hollywood

Red carpet fundraiser for ER campaign

Langley pedophile wins appeal after violating court order

Kelly Glen Isbister’s sentence was cut by the BC Court of Appeal

Neighbour recounts ‘fifteen minutes of insanity’ after deck collapses at Aldergrove wedding

Local resident Charles Ford ran over to the dozens wounded, along with many other neighbours

High school mechanics get ‘huge head start’

The ACSS apprentices will showcase their work at this year’s Country Car Show in Aldergrove.

$18 million Aldergrove amenity seen as unfair for other Township communities

An unanimous council voted in favour of Councillor Eric Woodward’s policy to provide downtown Aldergrove with more resources.

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Loud jets from Abbotsford are annoying residents of tiny U.S. town

Flights out of Abbotsford airport turn over border town and annoy residents, Sumas mayor says

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

VIDEO: Spiderman-clad Lamborghini makes pit stop in Abbotsford ahead of Avengers premiere

Highstreet Shopping Centre displaying unique car during Friday’s opening of Marvel movie

Most Read