Great comedians like Chris Farley and Robin Williams have died from poor mental health and addiction. Comedians look happy as they are making other people laugh, but are still struggling on the inside. More comedians need to have the courage to seek help for their mental health to avoid turning to drugs for that help.
The Mix Between Comedians and Poor Health
When people choose to do stand-up comedy, it is an endorphin rush. Telling jokes that audiences are responding well to with eyes all on you makes you feel like you can do anything. Comedian Jim Gaffigan says that when you have a mic in your hand, you have control. There is also a sense of no control in that you have no idea how the audience will react to your jokes. Comedian Jim Mendrinos said that comedians face isolation, going on tour without a support system, and easy access to drugs and alcohol. Gaffigan also has suffered from poor sleep from having to wake up at the same time every morning while on tour. His wife also suffers from poor sleep and diet writing jokes until three in the morning and having to order in food. The person they are onstage may not reflect the depression they are feeling offstage.
How Comedians Get Help
Comedian Mona Shaikh is a survivor of physical and verbal abuse that led her to suicidal thoughts. She says that therapy is what saved her life. Comedy is a safe space for her to share her trauma and pain with her audience. Gaffigan says that his wife helps keep him grounded. Comedian Ian Fidance says he uses medications and counseling as treatment for his alcohol abuse.
What Needs to Change in the Comedy Community
Comedian Stacy Kendro feels like she would see a therapist if she could afford one. She wishes for health insurance to be more affordable for artists who are on the road and work in clubs. If comedians feel like they do not have access to affordable healthcare, they will take matters into their own hands and self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Doctors need to personalize their advice for these comedians that travel a lot and work late nights. It is important not to be fooled by the light-hearted nature of a comedian onstage as everyone suffers. Comedians have a better chance of receiving treatment with affordable resources offered to them.
Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alta Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse inpatient center. Alta Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is willing to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.