KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Robin Williams had the ability to make people laugh, but, as we learned this week, he also battled depression and took his own life.
It’s an illness that affects many people, especially performers.
Kansas City comedian David Naster knew Williams. Naster also battles depression.
“I'm looking into the abyss of sadness, rejection, self-worth, suicidal thoughts, and I went holy, I'm there,” Naster explained.
Dr. Jeremy Burd, a psychiatrist at St. Luke’s, said it's much more prevalent than people may realize.
“The numbers say it's about 20 percent of all people in this country will experience severe depression at some point in their lives. So one in five people will have a depressive episode; you don't hear one in five people talking about it,” Burd said.
In the 37 years Naster has done comedy, he's found these feelings are even more common for people in the spotlight.
“You have to remember, and I'll say it, comics and actors are egomaniacs with inferiority complexes, that's what gets us on stage to go,” Naster said.
Naster was able to come out of his darkness. Now, with the help of people including someone who Robin Williams even portrayed, Dr. Patch Adams, Naster helps others.
Naster's new series, “You Just Have To Laugh,” brings to light stories of people suffering through tough times including depression.
“At that moment the laughter snapped me out of it and now I can joke about the whole thing but I couldn't at the time.”