Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Robin Williams: Laughter and Sadness

posted by Linda Mintle

The news that Robin Williams had died, hit me hard. This incredible funny man was introduced to me as an alien on Mork and Mindy. Immediately, one could see the quick wit of a comedian destined for stardom. He made us laugh! Then he broadened his stage to movies and made us cry, cheer and feel intense emotions. Both laughter and sadness were emotions he managed to bring out in all of us. And now, as it appears he died at this own hand, we feel sadness as we remember his laughter.

Williams, like so many people, battled depression. We know in 2006, he checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center after 20 years of sobriety. Alcohol and drug use often co-exist with depression. He talked openly about his cocaine addiction during the 1970s and 1980s. We know that in 2009, Williams underwent aortic value replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Depression is not uncommon for people with heart disease. Depression can increase the disease or heart disease can cause depression.

We know that as late as June of this year, Williams went back to rehab once again to deal with his sobriety.  And we know that as of late, he was struggling with severe depression.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is highest among the young and the elderly. More men complete suicide than women. The risk of suicide with major depression is about 20 times greater than the general population.

Warning signs of depression include:

Sad or depressed mood

Weight gain or loss, change in appetite

Restlessness, agitation, irritability

Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt

Problems with thinking and concentration, indecisiveness

Thoughts of death, suicide attempts or a plan to die

If you know someone struggling with depression, get him or her help. Depression is treatable but less than 25% of those depressed receive adequate treatment according to the World Health Organization.

Sadly, Williams didn’t win his battle with depression and we say goodbye. He’ll be remembered for all the laughter he gave to so many.

 



  • Linda Mintle

    If someone is suicidal call 911 and get them to a hospital. There is help.

  • Linda Mintle

    Usually what happens is that people DO NOT take their medications. That puts them more at risk. In Robin Williams case, he had a history of addiction and was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Very different from your circumstances. It is always important to meet with a therapist while taking medication and work through the grief of losing your parents and how you cope with stress and loss. You want to have good coping skills, a good support group and people whom you can talk to when you start to feel down.

  • Anna

    I get scared that because i take an antidepressant and mood stabilizer that i might get that way like robin williams did . I never had a drug or alcohol problem though. I am sad that he did commit suicide. He looked depressed in his eyes and all my life funny as he was it looked as though he was not really. I was always concerned. Going back to myself, I did not have to start taking meds till after my parents died within 15 years of each other.. I have had scary suicidal thoughts before but never acted on them and got help for that .I pray alot and ask the Lord to protect me from them . I guess i get worried that I will go down the same road these other stars and people that I have known with suicide. Although their lives were different then mine.

  • http://www.fightforlivingwages.org Karla Jo

    What can you do for someone who is suicidal? I have family members who called me screaming where are you? Then that is where you would have been when I committed suicide.
    Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting.
    Seek out Professional Help. Take them to a psycho therapist.
    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

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