A few days have passed but I can’t stop thinking about actor and comedian Robin Williams. I’ll admit that I never really paid attention to his personal life. I was scrolling my Facebook page and saw that he was found dead, which was shocking enough. But then I was really astonished that he had died from an apparent suicide.
As I thought about it more, I wasn’t really surprised that a high number of entertainers suffer with depression and mask their pain with drugs and alcohol. When the pain becomes too great, some want to end it permanently. Williams used his gifts and talents to entertain his fans and make us feel better, but he was seriously tormented in real life.
As an entertainer, you really put it out there so to speak. Having to always be “on” can get draining after a while. I had a rehearsal about a week ago and felt rotten (body aches, tired, and emotional) but walked in smiling and acting as if I didn’t have a care in the world. It didn’t help that it was pouring down raining. At one time, I thought I was going to pass out, but I kept up my façade. I didn’t want call in sick at the last minute and be seen as unprofessional. Imagine being a big star such as Williams, and always having to appear happy and perfect when you felt the opposite.
Add insecurity, messed up childhoods, broken dreams, rejection, cutthroat actors, and not knowing when you will get another acting job, and you have a recipe for disaster. I’m starting to realize that many entertainers, namely actors, are damaged creatures. I’m introverted and shy so every time I write my blog or post a photo of myself, it feels unnatural. I used to get in the trap of wanting to have my hair styled perfectly and wearing makeup when posting on Facebook. You never know what people will think or say about you. Having to be “on” is one of the things I hate about starting an acting career.
My old acting teacher told my class one time to not make acting your life. Acting won’t fulfill you but having other interests and goals will help when the phone stops ringing. Mental illness can happen to some of the most talented, loved people. It’s tragic, and it’s rampant in this industry.
If you are having any suicidal thoughts, please call 800-784-2433.