Many have been moved by the story of the comedian, who despite being one of the most charismatic and entertaining human beings on the surface, was plagued by inner-demons and mental health problems that would eventually lead to his suicide.
Professor Green is one such person. The rapper, real name Stephen Manderson, has chosen to share not just his own experience of suffering with depression and anxiety, but his wish that his father, Peter Manderson, had been able to seek help before he took his own life in April 2008. He was 24 at the time.
“I still don’t know what was going through my dad’s mind when he killed himself in a park not far from where he lived in Brentwood, Essex,” he wrote in a column for The Guardian.
“I’ll never know. The last time I saw him alive was my 18th birthday. He had been in and out of my life for years. I was brought up by my gran in Hackney, east London, because neither of my parents were capable of looking after me. I just wish that he could have reached out to someone, anyone.”
“I thought my dad was selfish for taking the easy way out,” he continued. “But then I quickly realised that I was the one being selfish for thinking he was selfish. For someone to be able to do that, I don’t think it is cowardice; it’s the only solution they think they have.”
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
Robin Williams: A career in pictures
1/30 Robin Williams
1980: Robin Williams in the world-famous Mork and Mindy series that launched his career.
2/30 Robin Williams
1984: Williams in 'Moscow On The Hudson'. The actor earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his turn as a Russian circus performer in this 1984 hit.
3/30 Robin Williams
1987: Williams in the critically acclaimed 'Good Morning, Vietnam'. Williams ad-libbed all the radio broadcast scenes from this 1987 film about a radio DJ sent to Vietnam to entertain the US troops serving out there.
4/30 Robin Williams
1989: Robin Williams appeared with Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles in 'Dead Poets Society' as English teacher John Keating - or the “slightly more daring O Captain, My Captain”.
5/30 Robin Williams
1990: Williams and Robert De Niro in Awakenings, an emotional film that saw Williams portray a British neurologist who administered a drug to catatonic patients that briefly awoke them from decades of catatonia.
6/30 Robin Williams
1991: Williams appeared as an adult Peter Pan forced to return to Neverland to rescue his children in 'Hook'. The film received mixed reviews but proved popular at the box office.
7/30 Robin Williams
1992: Williams in 'Toys'. The film followed a military general after he inherits a toy factory and decides to produce war toys.
8/30 Robin Williams
1993: Williams appeared in one of his best-loved roles in Mrs Doubtfire, where he played an actor disguising himself as a female housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children.
9/30 Robin Williams
1995: Williams appeared as man released from a board game after being trapped for decades inside it in the blockbuster 'Jumanji'.
10/30 Robin Williams
1996: Williams starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in 'Jack', a film about a young boy who ages four times faster than other children.
11/30 Robin Williams
1997: Williams appeared alongside Matt Damon in 'Good Will Hunting', a film that won him an Oscar for his portrayal of psychologist Sean Maguire. As he accepted his award, a touched Williams warned the audience: "Oh man, this might be the one time I’m speechless".
12/30 Robin Williams
1997: The box-office hit Flubber saw Williams take the role of Professor Philip Brainard, who creates the unstoppable green goo Flubber in his bid to produce a new energy source.
13/30 Robin Williams
1998: Williams gave a poignant turn as Dr Hunter 'Patch' Adams, an unqualified doctor who treats patients with laughter in 'Patch Adams' .
14/30 Robin Williams
1998: Williams stars alongside Cuba Gooding, Jr in 'What Dreams May Come', a film that follows American physician Chris Nielsen's journey through the afterlife after he is killed in a car crash.
15/30 Robin Williams
1999: Robin Williams, Bob Balaban (left), and Armin Mueller-Stahl star in the movie 'Jakob the Liar' about a Jewish shopkeeper who uses his imagination to engender hope throughout a Polish ghetto in 1944.
16/30 Robin Williams
1999: American Science Fiction drama 'Bicentennial Man' followed an android (Williams) as he experiences emotions and becomes more human
17/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams took a more sinister role as reclusive crime writer and murderer Walter Finch in 'Insomnia'.
18/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams undertook an unsettling, psychopathic role in One Hour Photo, where he played a photo lab technician obsessed with a family who frequented the store.
19/30 Robin Williams
2002: Williams starred alongside Danny DeVito in 'Death to Smoochy', a film about a corrupt children's television host disgraced by an FBI sting.
20/30 Robin Williams
2005: Robin Williams stars in 'The Big White', a film about a financially struggling travel agent trying to make a bogus life insurance claim in order to pay for his wife's Tourette treatment.
21/30 Robin Williams
2006: Williams and Ben Stiller star in 'Night at the Museum'. Williams will appear in upcoming film "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," playing the statue of Teddy Roosevelt who comes to life at night.
22/30 Robin Williams
2006: Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels and Cheryl Hines star in roadtrip comedy 'R.V.', which followed the tribulations of a dysfunctional family.
23/30 Robin Williams
2006: Williams took the leading role in the political comedy drama 'Man of the Year' about a comedian who decides to run for President and finds himself mistakenly elected.
24/30 Robin Williams
2007: Robin Williams and Freddie Highmore in 'August Rush', where Williams played a homeless musician who teaches children living on the streets music and employs them as performers.
25/30 Robin Williams
2007: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and John Krasinski starred in 'License to Wed'. Williams played a reverend who places a couple through a series of tests to see if they should marry in his church. The rom-com was poorly received by critics.
26/30 Robin Williams
2010: Robin Williams and John Travolta star in 'Old Dogs', a comedy that sees two friends and owners of a sports marketing firm struggle to deal with seven-year-old twins placed in their care. The film was nominated for four Golden Raspberry Awards.
27/30 Robin Williams
2013: Susan Sarandon, Robert De Niro and Robin Williams star in The Big Wedding
28/30 Robin Williams
2013: Williams starred as President Eisenhower in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'.
29/30 Robin Williams
2014: Robin Williams with his Mork and Mindy co-star Pam Dawber in The Crazy Ones series. It was axed after one season.
30/30 Robin Williams
2014: Rob Williams stars in 'The Angriest Man in Brooklyn', the story of a bad-tempered man mistakenly told he has 90 minutes to live.
The tragic news was made worse by the fact that the last words he had exchanged with his father had been ones of “anger and hate”, after the pair argued on the phone on Boxing Day some months before.
“If I ever see you again I’m going to knock you out,” Stephen had told him.
“I would give anything to change that,” he wrote. “I never got a chance to say a proper goodbye or tell him that I loved him.”
“Communication is a big problem with us men,” he continued, going on to discuss his own problems. “We don’t like to talk about our problems; we think it makes us look weak. There have been times when I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression. I even had cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and, although that didn’t work for me, I did find that talking about things out loud to someone helped the problem seem much smaller than it was in my head. It’s important to let things out and not to bottle them up.
“Society likes to tell you that you have to be happy all the time, and it’s easy to think that if you’re not happy then there’s something wrong with you. But happiness isn’t permanent, it’s not something you can feel all the time – and neither is sadness.”
He goes on to cite that over 6,000 people took their own lives in 2013, with the most at risk being men between the age of 30 and 44. His father was 43 at the time of his death. His uncle had killed himself two years previously and the youngest of his uncles had died after “allowing himself to fall into a diabetic coma”.
“What happened to my dad and uncles makes me want to deal with things,” Stephen concluded. “I wrote the song “Lullaby” about my experience of depression and how it has affected my life.
“The most important lyrics are the final two lines: ‘Things always change, as long as you give them the chance to.’
“Know that is true. I just wish my dad did.”
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