Insights: Why Robin Williams?

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Contemplating why such an extraordinary actor such as Robin Williams would end up dying at a reasonably young age from his own afflictions sometimes is hard to understand.

Here was an incredibly talented man who was successful in so many ways, and yet struggled to find purpose in his life.

Difficult to understand for so many of us who have so much less than him. Yet, I guess it proves the point of money, career, or children do not keep people from struggling with a mentally healthy self.

With having my doctorate in psychology, I think through how much of what Robin was struggling with. Was it his issues with depression, or substance abuse? Was the depression what caused the substance abuse, or visa versa?

Questions we may never have answered.

We are exploring Mars, the depths of the ocean and quantum physics (which are all wonderful and important), yet we still strain to understand the mind. It is complex, I know that for sure, but it does not help that there are also many stigmas about struggling with issues such as anxiety, depression or PTSD.

People often come into my practice feeling embarrassed, weak, ashamed or afraid that I will judge them because they battle with a mental health issue.

Do we look at physical issues the same way? This is such a complex issue that runs deep for me personally in my own family, in my circle of friends and what I see in our community. People at times are terrified of others knowing that they have depression or PTSD.

I personally believe Mental Health should be treated with the same respect and importance as physical health. They are not separate; in fact, they feed off each other.

I often get referrals from doctors who have sent me patients who have had issues such as back pain, upset stomachs, migraines, sexual issues, insomnia, and joint pain. These doctors had exhausted their ability to fix these problems with medications, only to be reasonably quickly fixed with finding out what was going on emotionally. Often emotional issues, be it grief, depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, low self-esteem to poor attachment and family history issues have manifested as physical issues. The same can be true with physical issues manifesting in emotional issues.

I so often hear that people think psychology is unscientific, and an unnecessary field. I beg to prove them wrong. Yes I am a little biased due to my education, but talk to anyone who has found seeing a doctor for mental health useful and you will hear the stories of how it has made a difference in their lives.

You see, we work with the physical body as well. It is not always about exploring one’s childhood. For example, someone who is struggling with anxiety, we teach them how to be aware of their sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and how to regulate it so they can manage their anxiety, along with understand what creates the anxiety.

It is easy in this day and age to be disconnected from the self, disconnected from people and from a sense of purpose.

We are taught that having is more important than being. These along with the biological predisposition lead people to struggle with some form of mental illness.

I help people get back to their core being, to their true self that has often been lost in this world that is often hard to keep up with, hard to find purpose.

I do not have room in this article (you can research it for yourself), but psychology and mental health is key to living a productive life.

Each day we are told to eat well, to exercise to take care of our physical well being, yet it is also essential to take time each day for your mental health and if you know you are struggling, do not hesitate to reach out and find a doctor to talk to.

I am sorry we have lost Robin Williams to mental illness. If anything good can come from this, maybe it is bringing light to the importance of taking care of our mental health. Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or

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