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The Lookout | April 20, 2018

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Depression is not a laughing matter

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The Kohn Effect – By Jeremy Kohn

The world lost a one-of-a kind performer recently when actor and comedian Robin Williams took his own life.

Known for his breakout performance as “Mork” in the ‘70s show, “Mork and Mindy,” Williams continued to captivate audiences with his unique brand of acting and comedy for the past three decades in movies such as “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Dead Poets Society” and “Aladdin.”

Always the energetic and cheerful person on camera, Williams seemed to be battling his own inner demons off camera.

Williams struggled his whole life with his drug and alcohol addictions. His addictions eventually led to a divorce from his first wife.

Williams’ movie career also seemed to dwindle. He wasn’t putting out blockbuster hits like he did early on in his career. He found himself taking on much smaller roles on screen.

Williams tried to rekindle the magic of his early career as CBS signed him to star with Sarah Michelle Gellar in the show, “The Crazy Ones.”

CBS announced in May that the show would not be picked up for a second season.

After Williams took his own life, his wife made the announcement that Williams had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, as well as suffering from depression.

Depression is a complicated “term.” I use the word “term” because doctors, psychologist and scientists still argue if depression is an inherent genetic chemical imbalance or if depression is caused by environmental causes.

According to the World Health Organization, 121 million people in the world suffer from depression. According to the Huffington Post, 34,000 of those people will take their own life.

What I found appalling after Williams’ death was the inconsiderate comments made by people on social media and news sites.

FOX news reporter Shepard Smith called Williams a coward for leaving his family behind.

Williams’ daughter Zelda deleted her Twitter account after several of her followers left hurtful messages and pictures pertaining to her father’s death.

Depression can often make a person feel hopeless and lost. It is important for people to realize that depression is more complicated than “just make yourself feel happy and then you’re OK.”

Depression affects people differently. Some may experience it their whole life, others might grow out of it; still others find that medication and counseling can help them cope with their day-to-day life.

Depression should never be taken lightly or dismissed as something easy to overcome.

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