Lisa Jakub of 'Mrs. Doubtfire': Robin Williams ‘Made Me Feel Less Alone’

By Victoria Kim 08/15/17

Three years after his death, one of Williams' former co-stars is opening up about how he shaped her thoughts on mental health.

Image: 
Lisa Jakub
Lisa Jakub Photo via YouTube

A former co-star of the late Robin Williams is all grown up and embarking on her own quest for greater mental health awareness. 

At age 15, Lisa Jakub appeared in the 1993 comedy Mrs. Doubtfire as Lydie Hillard, the reserved teenage daughter of Williams’s character. Jakub also played Alicia Casse in the 1996 film Independence Day.

Now 38, Jakub has made it her mission to open up the conversation about mental health, building on her own experience with depression and anxiety. She visits schools and talks about having recurrent panic attacks since age 11 that have “intensified and lessened in various phases” over the years.

“When I do these talks I always discuss the fact that I have anxiety—it is just something I feel better being honest about,” she told MarketWatch. “Although our lives may look very different, and anxiety manifests itself differently, so many struggles are the same.”

Jakub is now promoting her book Not Just Me: Anxiety, Depression and Learning to Embrace Your Weird, which chronicles her journey across the U.S. and conversations she’s had with people who are suffering from anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. “I realized people feel very alone and very isolated,” said Jakub.

In the interview with MarketWatch—published three years after Robin Williams died by suicide—Jakub recalled how Williams shaped how she thought of mental health. “When I worked with Robin, he was very open with me about his struggles with addiction and depression. I’m trying to be just as open as he was,” she said

“[Robin] helped me by talking about these difficult issues,” said Jakub. “He made me feel less alone because I knew that he was struggling too. And I hope to do the same for others.”

On the day of Williams’s death on August 11, 2014, Jakub wrote a blog post in remembrance of the late comedian and actor. “None of us really know what fights Robin was battling, but I know his struggles were not uncommon,” she wrote.

Leaving show business didn’t mean the panic attacks stopped for Jakub, but she said that practicing yoga and meditation has given her a “transformative” experience.

“It’s been my experience that depression thrives in the darkness of shame,” she continued. “Just talking about it won’t fix it, but it is the first step in making life a little easier.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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