It’s been about two years since Robin Williams passed away –death by suicide. I was in a state of disbelief when I heard of the news. His death still haunts me, in a way, because I looked up to him, not just because he’s a comedian, but he’s a brilliant person who lived with mental illness- bipolar and he also battled cocaine and later alcoholism. I remember watching Mork and Mindy, not as reruns, but while it was still on until 1982 (I was eight years old at the time). Robin playing as an alien, observing the humans and telling his boss, Orson, what he learned about the human race was fascinating and eye opening to me.
I read a post on Facebook from a group I follow – “The Mighty” – were someone blogged about his death and him having LBD (Lewy’s Body Dementia) – It’s like Alzheimer’s/ Dementia and Parkinson’s with paranoia and hallucinations thrown in. When an autopsy was performed they found that out - it (LBD) leaves physical symptoms on the brain – abnormal protein deposits on the brain stem were it depletes dopamine and it also taps out a brain chemical – both together cause a disruption of thought, behaviors and the Parkinson’s. From what I understood it was well advanced in Robin Williams. If he was diagnosed while still alive he had three, maybe, four years to live before the disease took him. Robin had a lot to battle in his life at this point. He had two older half-brothers so he was pretty much raised as an only child, on a big farm with a forty room farmhouse to play in. Robin Williams was also a brilliant student in school, he was class president and also used his humor in his high school’s drama department.
I think that the between the LBD, bipolar, and the fact he had battled additions with drugs and alcohol, (he sometimes still fought off alcoholism- with help) combined with what they only thought was only Parkinson’s that the battle was just too much for him in the end.
I do see why he ended his life, any of those diseases by themselves is a tough fight, but the unknown LBD didn’t help his cause in staying alive. No I’m not justifying it, but understanding were he comes from as someone who lives with mental illness and has several process (non-chemical) addictions and who has a hard time identifying my role in this world. I can see something behind his thoughts. Mental Illness by itself is a very tough thing to fight off, but he had additions that he was wrestling with. I see his comedy as a coping tool, to have that taken away due to the unknown LBD/Parkinson’s I can see why he seen no way out. I’m an artist –not a famous one- but one nevertheless. I have bad hand tremors/shakes so loosing part of what I identify with as a person, and a coping tool, I relate to him in that way.
I hope that we never forget Robin Williams’s life, not only because he’s an actor/comedian but because he’s a wonderfully brilliant human who wanted to make people laugh and that he did this all the time battling mental illness. I will leave you with a couple of quotes from the late Robin Williams to illustrate the fantastic person he was. R.I.P Robin Williams, gone but never forgotten.
“ I think the saddest people always try the hardest to make people happy, because they know what’s it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”
“I used to think the worse thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worse thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”
“What’s wrong with death sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor. Death is not the enemy gentleman if we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.” – Robin Williams as Patch Adams
- Kerri Zeblisky
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.