Robin Williams dies; possible suicide

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by JWC, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. JWC

    JWC New Member

  2. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    From PBS on Facebook:

  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Wow. Completely out of nowhere. Sad to hear this.

    I am a huge fan of a few of his works, such as Mrs.Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Mork and Mindy and Aladdin.

    His family is saying that he was suffering from severe depression. It's amazing that a person who never seemed to be without a smile on his face could have such deep sadness inside him :(
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If my Facebook feed this morning is any clue, he was well loved. I can't remember another death of a public figure that so deeply affected the people I know. RIP.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Very sad indeed, to hear of Robin Williams' death. It is also sad to realize that suicide (as is suspected, but not yet proven in Mr. Williams' death) is depressingly frequent among comedians and actors.

    Not exactly the greatest source, but Wikipedia lists 221 suicides by male actors and 12 by comedians. I must confess that of those 12, the only one whose performances I have seen is the late Freddie Prinze.

    Category:Male actors who committed suicide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Category:Comedians who committed suicide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I believe that outstanding talent of this type is often accompanied by intense psychological demons.
    I am just one more person among millions, who will miss Robin Williams.

  6. BobbyJim

    BobbyJim New Member

    Johann: Agree. This could be a great teaching moment.
  7. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Best article I've read on RW's death.

    Russell Brand: Robin Williams

    "The manic energy of Williams could turn to destruction as easily as creativity. Is it melancholy to think that a world that he can’t live in must be broken?"
  8. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    His family is confirming that it was a suicide by hanging.

    I used to be severely depressed myself and I learned then that non-depressed people have no framework for truly understanding what depression really is. I've since learned that even depressed people (or in my case, formerly depressed people) have at best very little framework for understanding the depression of others.

    As I mentioned in my first post, it is amazing to me that a man who was never seen without a smile in public could have been suffering so much. I was never able to hide what I was feeling and am amazed that I was able to sustain relationships while being a dreadful person to be around. I've been blessed with true friends!

    Please forgive my rambling here, but there is a point I want to make. I think that on a societal level, there is a need to understand depression not as a weakness but as an illness that is often chronic and debilitating. When you have people that seek help and still can't find relief and people who are always smiling but are really in deep pain, we have an invisible problem that in some way or another touches the life of every living person but of which the severity and prevalence we can not even begin to quantify.

    Not that I know what step one would be to make that happen. The best I feel I can do is to try to help non-depressed people understand what I went through, but that's very limited in scope compared to what a guy like Robin Williams went through. My depression was years long, but was not life long. I never felt the need to drown my sorrows in drugs nor to kill myself. Those facts should jar everyone who reads this into reality. How BAD must it have been for him if I hated every moment of my existence but STILL never wanted my existence to end? I can't stop thinking about this, similarly to how 13 years later, I can't stop thinking about how terrible it must have been in the upper floors of the twin towers. How BAD must it have been in there for them to be driven to the windows to seek the closest semblance of peace that their circumstances afforded them?

    I don't consider the people who fell/jump out of those windows to be suicides. The more I learn of what depression does to people, the less I'm inclined to consider depressed people suicides either. By definition, sure, yes, they are technically suicides, what I mean is that I don't think that they really want to die, but are driven to it by the burning and choking of their emotions and are blinded by the thick black smoke of hopelessness.

    When we become aware of people that are suicidal, our collective tendency is to try to convince them that there is more to live for and that things will be better. What is the solution in the situation where things won't get better because they can't get better because while even if you could fix every external situation with emotional support and tons of money, you can't open a persons mind like a fuse box and reset the switches.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2014
  9. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - thanks for the info. I learned that later, yesterday, via TV news when I got home.

    I've been a long-term depressive - about 57 of my 71 years. I'm lucky. Unlike the extremely severe depression that ended Mr. Williams' life, it seems I can live with mine. This is not a matter of personal fortitude - just luck of the draw.

    One thing I know about depression for sure: it has no respect for intelligence or talent -- or Mr. Williams and many others would still be with us.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2014

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