Two years ago Robin Williams died. He was one of my favorite actors and his passing affected me deeply. I’m sure many of you can relate. I wrote about his death at the time here. The idea that a man who was responsible for so much joy for so long would die the way he did tore my heart to shreds and it led me to pursue therapy for my own depressive symptoms. (I’ll do an update for that situation soon)
Fast forward to yesterday when I came across this message from Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider Williams. She wrote about the disease that killed him. It seems depression itself was not responsible itself for his suicide as I first believed. It was only after his death that he was correctly diagnosed with Lewy body disease, a condition I wasn’t aware of until reading Williams yesterday which apparently involves the build up of protein deposits in the brain. I was first introduced to the concept in a tv special on Robin Williams where the autopsy examiner (is that what you call them?) revealed that deposits were discovered in Williams’ brain. At the time I assumed that this was proof of Parkinson’s. Apparently the difference is that, unlike Parkinson’s disease where deposits build up in one area of the brain, with Lewy body disease these deposits exist throughout the brain.
Reading about Robin Williams’ struggles in his last year broke my heart all over again, and yet it is almost comforting to know his experiences and medical issues. The idea that somehow Robin Williams felt so sad that he took his own life is quite different from the idea that his brain stopped working to the point that he likely couldn’t have made the final decision to die. Not with mortal culpability anyway. Maybe. Hopefully?
I don’t have any further commentary here. I was just moved when I read this story and wanted to share it with you guys. Let’s go out on a high note with one of my favorite Robin Williams scenes from one of my favorite Robin Williams movies. One which, apparently, no one likes except for me.
Until next time, Internet