By Bobby Keating
The original title: Robin Williams: A Case Study Where to look to fill the void
With the recent loss of Robin Williams to a depression induced suicide a stupefying question can’t find it’s way out of my head: why does someone with seemingly everything decide to end it all? A comedian, no less. What could be so bad? One resounding answer continually whispers a response: something was missing.
There was a book Robin couldn’t find to fill his bookshelf. A chapter he couldn’t write to complete his book. A home run he couldn’t hit to complete the cycle. So what was missing? Could it be that one more elusive blockbuster smash hit? It couldn’t have been as he racked up four Golden Globe awards, an MTV Movie Award and four Oscars, not to mention the five Grammys that he also collected. Is it possible that he didn’t feel admired enough by the general public? Impossible, he scored three People’s Choice Awards alongside of a Kid’s Choice Award. The only reasonable explanation for that missing piece to Robin William’s puzzle is the same elucidation that many of us normal, un-famous citizens of the world come to ponder: no matter what I do, there always seems to be some sort of internal void. So what is this internal void? Where does it come from? Let’s delve into the life of Robin Williams and try to find out. Williams, who ironically made a cameo in Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” music video, was a self-described shy kid. He didn’t feel comfortable around other people for whatever reason.
He told NPR that he didn’t break out of his shell until he immersed himself within the drama department at his California high school, and that’s when the purpose for his life was discovered. He was trying to fill the void that left him nervously shy. The male Mrs. Doubtfire was so exceptional at his craft that he was one of the mere twenty freshmen to get into the Julliard School of the Arts. Moreover, he was one of the exclusive two to be a part of Julliard’s Advanced Program. From Julliard, William’s career took off and never stalled out. Trying to fill the void of his life, the voice of the Genie turned to drugs in the form of cocaine which he quickly became addicted to. Years later after one of his friends died from the malignant narcotic he sobered up. Still desperate to find true joy, Williams took to alcohol in the mid 2000’s which ultimately drove the comedic legend to rehab.
Following his first six years in the industry Williams decided that he needed someone to share his life with, so he married Valerie Velardi who bore his first son. Again, he was trying to fill his unfulfilled void with a woman’s love. This emotional style of love was obviously not enough to fill this emptiness in William’s life as he took part in an affair with a cocktail waitress while he was married. Eventually, this mistress sued Williams for passing along a certain disease (use your imagination), and his wife inevitably divorced him. Soon thereafter Robin married his son’s nanny who was already pregnant with his next child. They eventually divorced as well. In his final act of marriage oh captain my captain married Susan Schneider in 2011. The Good Morning, Vietnam star even tried religion to fill the void in the form of the Episcopal Church. This attempt at supernatural glee seemingly didn’t work as he later described his religion as “Catholic Lite- same rituals, half the guilt.”
The ultimately fatal problem in Robin William’s life is now abundantly clear: there was something missing that kept him from experiencing ultimate joy so much so that it drove him to depression which in turn resulted in his death. He tried so many different things to find this deeply desired happiness, but none of them worked. What else is there to turn to? The complex answer is so simple that one word will cover it: Jesus. Jesus is the only entity who embraces people’s problems saying that he has already taken care of them all. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that he ultimately wants everyone to find peace in him. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The metanarrative of Robin William’s life is a classic example of a person not quite putting his or her finger on the pulse of life, and wherefore not unearthing utter joy, happiness, and peace. There’s no doubt that the man who once said “words and ideas can change the world” would want his life to mean something everlastingly important. So make it important to you, and realize where to look to fill the superficially unshakeable void that is at the center of your life.
Bobby Keating has blonde hair and blue eyes. He is a legend because he once ate a jellyfish right off the beach. He writes regularly on aproposwalk.com.