Anyone can be affected

Why do we feel so lost when the man who made us laugh so hard – Robin Williams – is dead at his own hand?

How can a man who loved to make so many laugh to the point of tears be so depressed?

We all follow our favorite TV and movie stars, even more so now with social media. We just assume we are a part of their lives.

But, just like our neighbor or fellow worker, we really don’t know the demons they are facing.

It was no secret that Williams suffered from substance abuse and depression. He was like many in our daily lives. Williams recently was battling severe depression.

Nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from some form of mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. About 13 percent of the adults who suffer some form of mental illness are receiving treatment.

Williams also suffered from substance abuse. He had sought treatment in 2006 after a relapse following 20 years of sobriety.

Williams, always the comedian, joked about it during a comedy tour, saying, “I went to rehab in wine country to keep my options open.”

Williams functioned well with his problems. They never had an impact on his talent over the years.

There are many functioning alcoholics out there. Friends and neighbors would be shocked to learn the truth. But substance abuse and mental health problems left unchecked can lead to a tragic end.

Williams made his demons part of his comedy act, trying to find a way to expunge the demons.

He knew what he was facing, but many afflicted with mental health and substance abuse issues cannot face their own demons.

So while we mourn the tragic ending to a very talented man, let it be a lesson that even the funniest can be severely depressed or addicted to alcohol or drugs. Mental health and substance abuse problems affect everyone, whether it be personal or a family member or friend.