THIS POST IS ABOUT SUICIDE OF ROBIN WILLIAMS, WHICH IS STILL A CONTROVERSIAL MATTER TO THIS DAY. THERE IS NO INTENTION OF HARM TO HIS FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
I dedicate this post to Robin Williams.
Robin Williams’s death shocked millions of people all over the world, and he left us without giving us any clue to why he left us so early. His suicide easily marked him as “a sad clown,” “the victim of depression,” and “the man who killed himself.” So many journalists exploited his death with exaggerated headlines and overly detailed police statements. Some people called him weak. Some people called him selfish. Some people called him a failure who managed to make people laugh but was never able to make himself happy. They were completely wrong. He was exactly the opposite.
1. Physical Condition – Lewy Body Dementia
What is Lewy Body Dementia?
Lewy Body Dementia, shortened as LBD, is one of the most common form of dementia that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s. Its symptoms include sleep disorders, memory loss, constant confusion, mood swings, hallucinations, fainting, losing senses, falling down, unexplained loss of consciousness, and alertness(paranoia).
It is very important not to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to LBD patients. They are used to treat hallucinations, which is one of the symptoms, and if taken, the drug can be fatal, specifically to LBD patients.
Physically, the patient’s brain tissues turn into Lewy Bodies. The proteins of the tissue discolor and chemically change. The brains of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy(Mad Cow Disease) and Alzheimer’s Disease patients also affect their protein in the similar way. When we cook meat, the proteins discolor and chemically change. Thus, there is no way to replace or cure the changed parts. It is extremely horrifying.
Unlike Parkinson’s, there is no cure or treatment suitable to LBD. There is no equivalent treatment for LBD while L-Dopa is available for Parkinson’s.
According to the statements from the police and the autopsy report, his brain tissues were rapidly changing into Lewy Bodies, as it was stated, “one of the worst cases.”
He was never aware of Lewy Body Dementia and his case was misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s. There is a possibility he tried to seek drugs that were used to treat the symptoms outside known symptoms of Parkinson’s. Probably any of them didn’t work very much.
But the progressive decline in his mental abilities had begun to affect him profoundly, his widow said. In one incident, a “miscalculation” with a door left him with a self-inflicted head wound, she said.
Susan said Williams was well aware he was losing his mind, and tried to keep it together until he hit a breaking point in his last month. “It was like the dam broke,” she recalled.
“If Robin was lucky, he would’ve had maybe three years left,” Susan added. “And they would’ve been hard years.”
– November 3, 2015, The Guardian, Nigel M. Smith, Los Angeles
2. Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)
What is Depression?
Depression is one of the most misunderstood and mistreated disease of all time. There are so many variations to it and tests will never really ‘diagnose’ depression. I believe it’s because doctors try to treat it by statistics and chemicals, and every single survivors don’t even know what they have gone through. Doctors don’t cure depression. They help people cope with it. One thing for sure is that the patients go through a private hell.
Most common symptoms of depression are lack of sleep or oversleeping, binge eating or barely eating, negative feelings, trouble concentrating, lack of interest, and slow or fast movements.
What to Do and What Not to Do to a Person with Depression
Do: Be careful. Avoid all possibility of offending the person.
Don’t: Trying to help the person out, judging by your prejudice.
Do: Taking the person for a walk, etc. Being active.
What Does a Person with Depression Think
Fear of losing close people
Fear of losing oneself
Fear of being a harm to people
Fear of being a worry(burden) to people
Fear of being useless
Fear of being wrong with depression – I might be messing with people; it might not be it.
Q: Worst fear?
RW: Losing your mind, your memory, your ability to think.
– Originally published in May 2009 (interview conducted in 2002). Autograph Magazine. Written by Lawrence Grobel
His worst fear came true.
His frustration with this fear creeping up but not being able to understand why and how it was happening is the main cause of his depression.
He didn’t have ADD, dyslexia, or bipolar disorder. ADD was an assumption people made because he was known for being too active and for being slowed down after having cocaine. Dyslexia was a part of a joke he did in 1982 standup. He denied of being bipolar when he talked to Carrie Fisher, who was suffering from bipolar herself. He took a test she gave him and he got them all right, but he told her he didn’t think he was bipolar(he did not have trouble for being bipolar).
There is no proof he had a history of depression but it is sure he had his difficult years. Two divorces affected him deeply not because of financial reasons, but because of the sole sense of losing his love. He was, contrast to common beliefs, insightful, introspective, introverted and caring, according to his friends and family. Introspectiveness brings some sadness to the person partly due to overthinking and being too serious, but this side effect contributes to deep thinking, which was proved in Robin’s dramatic performances and his real life.
His case with rapid LBD progress worsened his psychological state. He did not tell his co workers, or friends, or possibly his children of what he was going through exactly. No one suspected him of being ill because he tried to be himself by being ‘on.’ It took nearly a year or more. It’s a long, long fight.
In my experience, yes, suicidal thoughts are impulsive, but the days I spent with the thought came back again and again, and each and every one of those days were pure hell.
Robin’s last year was, although ironic to the common sense, courageous and respectable. He did all his work without making anyone worry too much about him, and carried on fighting against these two diseases(depression and LBD) coming at him at once until one side had to give up. It is a brutal fight, and a year with a major depression is a pretty long time.
If he knew it was LBD not Parkinson’s, everything would have turned out differently. He’d have found the best ways to deal with it and they would have helped him.
Calling him weak is a careless judgement. He fought until all his energy was drained out. And there is a possibility of his suicide not being a result of his conscious decision. It could have been caused by his LBD. People with no experience with depression equivalent to his case, or people who think depression is stupid, make this kind of judgement.
He seemed, in his 2013 and 2014 interviews, to act slower than he used to. He repeated his jokes over and over not because he was draining out of ideas, but he was spending all his time on something else, probably on coping with whatever was happening to him. He got thinner and thinner. But his smiles, his strong voices, his public persona kept living on.
One of his favorite activities was performing, as it is well known. Robin was supposed to be the Blackmail sketch guest for Monty Python O2 reunion show in June 2014. He told his best friend Eric Idle he couldn’t do the performance but could see the show. And later he told Eric he couldn’t be there at all, and said afterwards, “I love you very much.”
3. What Happened at the Time
NOT TRUE : Troubles with his wife
The most likely reason why Robin slept in his stepson’s room is he didn’t like to bother his wife while sleeping because he knew he constantly fell out of bed, and disturbed her with involuntary violent movements while sleeping.
NOT TRUE : Addictions Contributed to His Death
He was clear with addiction in 2014.
Drug addiction : 1976 – 1983 (cold turkey)
Alcohol addiction : 1976 – 1983 (gradual, whisky to wine to sparkling water), 2003 – 2006 (joined rehab)
His visit to a facility center in 2014 was to deal with his dementia, then known as Parkinson’s, but this is my guess. He didn’t reveal he was going through Parkinson’s until he died, and I assume he tried to cover it up before anything he does gains rumors. After reading the article, I learned two things. One, it wasn’t rehab or drug center he went to, it was a specialized facility that was to help him remain sober. Two, there is a possibility, knowing he was unstable, that he tried to prevent bad things from happening any further.
Robin Williams, 1951-2014, the benevolent fool.
Q: What would you like to be known for?
RW: The benevolent fool.
– 2002. Autograph Magazine. Lawrence Grobel.