Monday, September 3, 2007

Why are comedians so depressed?

In light of recent news that Owen Wilson, the Hollywood actor/comedian who allegedly attempted suicide, I began to wonder about depression and how to spot it in friends or family. I’d like to use this as an opportunity to be more aware of those around us, and to motivate us to give an extra hug or smile. To do some small thing to let those we care about know we love them.

I see this as an example not all depression may be recognized through classic symptoms like withdrawal, fatigue or heightened emotional levels of sadness and anxiety. It’s interesting to note that former comedians like John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Richard Jeni had problems in life that some believe were linked to their depression. At the same time it seemed that friends and family felt that because their loved ones were so happy and playful that nothing was wrong.

I’ve been surprised in the past that many former comedians have suffered from drug and alcohol abuse, suicide attempts and other problems. I think many people, including myself, see these people as funny, smiling and always happy. If we have friends and family that are this way, we may miss signs that something is wrong. Perhaps we will brush off our uneasiness by thinking that they are having a bad day, maybe they are tired or overworked.

Here is a web site with a list of comedians that suffer or have suffered from depression. I was surprised by the list. Even if everyone you know seems fine, you may want to reach out to someone to let them know you love them. There’s no time like the present! I’ve hardly ever regretted sharing a kindness or doing something for a friend, but there have been many times I have regretted NOT doing it. Let’s take some hope from a possible tragic event and turn it into a positive. To help you get started here are some great web sites with tips on just that. Now go give your loved one a hug!
70 simple ways to brighten someone’s day.
101 ways to ways to make someone smile and make yourself feel good.
Ideas and stories of how kindness touched the lives of both receiver and giver.

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