It was a very sad day in my household yesterday as we heard about the death of someone we held in high esteem. Like most Comedians there are many people I look up too, but mainly the ones who helped me hone my skills and taught me it was ok to be me, even if the real me was a little zany from time to time. One of my biggest influences left us yesterday and that person was the inimitable Robin Williams.
This guy was actually a very big part of my childhood and was in many of my favorite TV Shows and Movies that became a part of our popular culture. From Mork and Mindy, to Mrs Doubtfire, to the Birdcage, and everything in between, I really loved it all, and his ability to make us laugh was second to none. Even though I never met him he had been in my living room often. As with many artistic people there was a side that we didn't see, the side that was sad and depressed and actually talked about it openly.
Though things have admittedly got better over the years there is still a stigma attached to Mental Health issues and in the entertainment industry there are many who are speaking out and making a difference. It is a very common occurrence for artistic and funny people to have a dark side but most seem to manage to keep it in check. As someone who has suffered with depression for most of my life I can attest to the fact that it is totally indiscriminate and is sometimes totally uncontrollable.
According to statistics provided by National Institute of Mental health (NIMH) 9 percent of Adults in the USA from all walks of life suffer with some form of depression. Women are statistically 70 percent more likely to suffer with depression than men in their lifetime. Men are more likely to self medicate with drugs or alcohol and women are more likely to seek help from friends or professionals. These statistics are steadily on the rise and it is considered to be a worldwide epidemic.
There are various forms of depression including:
- · Dysthymia. A minor but chronic depression that can last two years or longer, which affects about 1.5 percent of American adults.
Postpartum depression. Affects about 10 to 15 percent of women shortly after childbirth.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Usually occurs during winter months and is probably caused by lack of natural sunlight. SAD affects 4 to 6 percent of Americans and is more common the farther north you live.
·Bipolar disorder. Involves moods that cycle between depression and extreme excitability, called mania. Bipolar disorder affects about 2.6 percent of American adults.
·Psychotic depression. The most severe form and includes breaks with reality, such as hallucinations or delusions. It is less common than other forms of depression; according to one study, psychotic depression occurs in about 5 percent of people who suffer from major depression.