Robin Williams suicide brings to the forefront the serious issue of depression.
On Sunday August 10th, Robin Williams was found dead in his home in Mill Valley California. The official cause of death has been called “death by asphyxiation” according to Lt. Keith Boyd, chief deputy coroner for Marin County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Williams’ personal assistant found the 63-year-old actor clothed, with a belt around his neck in the bedroom of his home in Tiburon, California, Boyd said. He was found in a slightly elevated seated position. Williams also had recent “superficial cuts” on his wrist and a closed pocket knife with possible blood on it was found on the floor near his body. Toxicology reports are pending.
The actor’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, told ABC News that the actor had been battling “severe depression of late.” Williams has reportedly been seeking treatment for depression. It was also reported the Williams had recently undergone rehab.
I, along with the rest of the world am shocked and saddened by this artistic genius’ untimely death. How do we make sense of this high profile suicide?
Suicide and Depression or Bipolar Disorder
There have been reports that Robin Williams suffered from Bipolar Disorder, a condition in which sufferers experience cycles of mania and depression. Whether he suffered from Bipolar depression or unipolar depression, the fact is that he suffered greatly.
A normal reaction to suicide is, “How could he do this to his family?” Having worked on a mental health center crisis line, I know that he probably wasn’t thinking about his family. His pain was so great, and he battled it for so long; he may have just wanted the pain to end.
In addition, people tend to equate success and wealth with happiness. Depression doesn’t discriminate. It can besiege anyone regardless of their economic or social status. It also greatly impacts the family. Symptoms of depression include:
- Depressed mood
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Sleeping too much
- Loss or increase in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anhedonia or no longer enjoying activities previously enjoyed
Depression isn’t experiencing just one of these symptoms and it isn’t just for a day or two. Depression is an illness that people can battle for a lifetime. It’s important to note, there is a difference between human response to sad or troubled events and depressive disorders. Grief can also look like depression.
If you experience these symptoms for an extended period of time, you may benefit from professional help. People who experience severe depression may have thoughts of suicide. This doesn’t mean they are going to act on them, but they do need to seek professional help.
Update on Robin Williams’ Suicide!
It has recently come to light that Robin Williams was suffering from Lewy Body Dementia and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. For more information, here are some resources on this condition:
- People Magazine article about Robin Williams’ LBD revelation
- Lewy Body Dementia Association
- Mayo Clinic Lewy Body Dementia
Are you Triggered By Robin Williams’ Suicide
Many of us have experienced the suicide of a friend or loved one and have been triggered by the news stories of Robin Williams’ suicide. If you are feeling anxious, depressed or are in need of support, call me at (303) 444-2003. I can help you work through your feelings and regain your equilibrium.
Suicide Prevention Resources in Boulder County
Sadly, Colorado is among the top ten states with the highest suicide rates in the US. Here is Boulder County, there are a number of resources for suicide prevention:
- Mental Health Partners 24 hours / 7 days (303) 447-1665
- HOPE Coalition of Boulder
- Second Wind Fund
- Colorado Suicide Hotline 24/7 (800) 784-2433
You Don’t Need To Live With Depression and Pain. How I Can Help: