Robin Williams' son, Zak, has admitted there were similarities between his and his father’s struggles with addiction and mental health.
Williams previously acknowledged having an issue with substance abuse before he died from suicide at age 63 in 2014. Zak has also confessed to having a drug and alcohol dependency and believes it could be genetic.
"There's a generational issue going on. I've experienced mental health issues my entire life," he said during an appearance on Prince Harry and Oprah's new Apple TV+ docuseries, "The Me You Can't See," according to Daily Mail.
Zak, 38, explained that, as a child, he had obsessive-compulsive disorder that left him obsessing over things, like counting out certain actions, before going to bed.
"I had really bad insomnia, a lot of energy, and a racing mind — and I inherited that to some degree," he said.
This led him to experiment with, and depend on, drugs and alcohol in his adolescent years as a way to calm his racing mind. As his substance abuse worsened, Zak said he began noticing elements of himself mirrored his late father.
"My anxiety, my bouts of depression, OCD, drugs, drinking like him," he said, adding that if he was not "self-medicating," he would feel completely overwhelmed. Drugs and alcohol became part of his identity. They were a way to "get through the day," he noted.
"The weird thing for me is I would use uppers, cocaine, and the like to calm down. I talked to my dad about it, he was similar," Zak continued. "He would use uppers as a way of focusing, relaxing. [When] we began to have a deeper, more profound understanding of one another is when he decided to stop drinking, which is around the time that I first realized I had a problem."
In a way, the similarities led them to bond.
"So we engaged around that," Zak said. "I wanted to be able to get to know him better; I didn't understand what he had been through."
Last year, Zak opened up about Williams' mental health during an appearance on "The Dr. Oz Show," saying that he knew his father was in a dark place.
"I was acutely aware of my dad's struggles with depression, it manifested in addiction at times, and he took great lengths to support his well-being and mental health, especially when he was challenged. It was something that was a daily consideration for him," he said, according to People.
"The main thing for me was noticing how he went through great lengths to support himself while he could show up for others," Zak continued. "It was clear that he prioritized his mental health throughout most of his life, at least that I experienced with him."
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
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