Zak Williams is sharing new details about his late father Robin Williams.
The 38-year-old sat down with writer and “The Genius Life” podcast host Max Lugavere and opened up about his own mental health struggles, as well as his legendary comedian father’s.
Zak and Lugavere bonded over losing a parent to the debilitating neurodegenerative disease that is dementia with Lewy bodies.
“What I saw was frustration,” Zak said of his dad, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years before his death in 2014. It was later revealed, through an autopsy, that Robin and his medical team had been treating the wrong illness.
According to Zak, the dementia took a toll and started presenting Robin with “challenges performing his craft.”
“Lightning-quick recall — that was his signature [onstage],” he said, adding that the wrong diagnosis “was a period for him of intense searching and frustration… it’s just devastating.”
Following his father’s tragic death, Zak admits he began to struggle with his own mental health.
“I was self-medicating through the trauma using alcohol,” he said, adding he soon found help, “I was just sick and tired of trying to treat myself using harmful means.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.