Robin Williams – Another Life Lost Through Mental Illness

Another Life Lost Through Mental Illness

I recently wrote about “Celebrities and Bipolar Disorder,” many of whom are also drug addicts, alcoholics and suicide victims – but the recent death of Robin Williams has brought the issue of other mental health disorders including depression – and suicide to the front of my mind once again.

Of course, you know that Robin Williams died of “asphyxiation” – notable suicide by hanging. At first we were shocked, then sad as a great talent was lost. In a few days, many people will become angry at him. Many people don’t understand depression; some don’t even believe it exists.

Robin Williams - Depression KillsRobin – and I call him that purposefully rather than the more proper journalistic reference “Mr. Williams” or simply “Williams” – has made an impact on my life and that of my children. Like many people, I felt like I knew him. I haven’t seen all of the 80 movies he was in, but my personal favorites were the movies that were not comedies. He was a gifted actor and a tremendously funny man.

I said I “felt” like I knew him – but I didn’t. My children “feel” like they knew him – but they didn’t. I don’t know much about his childhood – other than that he was raised in a family where, though there was probably plenty of money, he spent most of his time with nannies or alone. He obviously had a brain that never quit – which leads me to believe he may have had ADHD, he certainly had troubles with substance abuse and he had periods of severe depression, one of which led to his death.

People are already questioning why such a talented man – who had given so much – would “go and do something like that.” Many of those people will feel like he was selfish – as many people feel like suicide is the ultimate in narcissism. Under all that hilarity, under all that spectacle, under all that talent, was a seriously sad man.

Never mind what we don’t know about his childhood, over the course of his life he had great success and tremendous loss, with the making of fortune and fame and the loss of loved ones and money. He ultimately chose to end the pain himself.

Metally Ill - Robin WilliamsDepression is not something that can be shared and Robin was a “smiler.” Even in my life, though I am not a “smiler” – when I am having great difficulty, I do not contact the people who matter. I do not call my friends; I do not call my family; I sit in my difficulties alone.

Like many comedians, Robin learned to be funny to cover pain and to cover loneliness – and to get attention that he craved. Mental illness is difficult to understand and even though we mourn his loss – we should reflect on who in our lives might be feeling the same pain.

Maybe – likely not, but maybe, if he had the kind of support he needed, if he had not felt like he always needed to be “on” he would not have felt the despair so strongly. Maybe if mental illness and substance abuse weren’t still stigmatized, maybe he could have gotten the help he needed.

Maybe, but maybe not.

Another famous actor – once said in a famous movie – “Momma says that dyin’ is a part of livin’… I wish that it wasn’t.” Unfortunately, some people feel they must choose to die early. Robin did.

Melissa Lind

Another famous actor died because of mental illness

7 thoughts on “Robin Williams – Another Life Lost Through Mental Illness

  1. […] trigger a recurrence. Failure to comply with medication carries a high risk of recurrence, as do alcohol or drug abuse. Other risk factors include poor support systems. For example, the lack of caring friends or […]

  2. […] friends, as well as the addict themselves. This is especially true when it comes to women who are addicts, because narratives about women are more likely to center on how their families are impacted by […]

  3. […] people might suspect (themselves) that they have a mental illness, but are too proud to admit it, and for that reason not seek help from a counselor. They will […]

  4. […] It is cold and flu season in the Northern part of the world, and though that isn’t the only time people get sick, it brings up an issue common in Bipolar disorder and other mental disorders. […]

  5. […] trigger a recurrence. Failure to comply with medication carries a high risk of recurrence, as does alcohol or drug abuse. Other risk factors include poor support systems, i. E., lack of caring friends or relatives or an […]

  6. […] Rarely does depression only influence one`s moods. Those suffer from a diagnosable case of this mental illness, usually experiencing other symptoms. If feeling down is accompanied by changes in appetite or […]

  7. […] Robin Williams is proof of that.  May he rest in […]

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