August 12, 2014, - 1:20 am

Robin Williams: Incredibly Talented Friend of US Troops, But Suicide is THE Most Selfish Act; Pelosi Donor

By Debbie Schlussel

*** MORE: Robin Williams Wished Israel a Happy 60th Birthday (VIDEO) ***

**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****

It’s tragic that Robin Williams is gone, as he was an incredibly talented actor who could traverse comedy and drama and all genres in film. But suicide is the most selfish act a human being can commit, rivaled only by homicide. And Robin Williams committed that act, despite leaving a wife and three adult children wondering why.

robinwilliamsustroops

robinwilliamstroops

Robin Williams Entertaining US Troops in Iraq

Yes, it is true that Williams was mentally ill and apparently sought help for depression. But he had everything in the world compared to most Americans, and everything in the world to live for. Born into a wealthy family, he attended Detroit Country Day School, the most prestigious (and expensive) private school in Michigan. He had incredible wealth and fame, incredible talent, and a lifetime of terrific acting in plum roles. But we coddle those who say they are mentally ill or have depression. In the good old days of America, people didn’t have time to check into rehab and take psychotropic drugs and contemplate their “woe is me” lives in Hollywood mansions. They had to struggle to survive and support their families. And I’ll bet the suicide rate was significantly lower (along with the narcissism rate).

Just because someone is “depressed,” doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for checking out forever. We treat it as if it is, as if this selfish act cannot be condemned and we must automatically condone the action once the “D”-word is uttered. And he willingly chose to use and abuse drugs, which probably led to his depression and other mental issues. Given that my late father–who wanted to live–had his life taken from him by cancer, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be the 20-something daughter of a physically healthy man who willingly, cowardly took his own life and left everyone who loved him to pick up the pieces.







As I said on this site when former NFL player Junior Seau committed suicide in 2012,

While no one knows yet–and we may never know–why Seau killed himself, suicide is the most selfish act you can commit against those closest to you and there is no justification for it–unless, for example, you know you are about to be tortured to death, a position in which Seau certainly was not. . . .

And you can pretty much say the same thing about Williams.

Still, I’ll remember Williams for the fabulous acting range he had. While I always thought “Mork & Mindy” was a dopey show (and it didn’t stand the test of time), I loved Williams in “Dead Poets Society,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” (the sequel to this movie, in which he was set to star, is now canceled because of his suicide, a lot of money and jobs now down the drain), “The Fisher King” (probably his best dramatic role and biggest tear-jerker), and “One Hour Photo.” And don’t forget, “Good Morning, Vietnam.” He was pretty good as the creepy neighbor in the recent “The Face of Love” (read my review). Williams wasn’t only a comedy natural whose humor included all kinds of impressions and voices, but a trained, serious Juilliard actor. He won the Oscar for his co-starring role in “Good Will Hunting,” one of the most vastly overrated movies of all time (which brought us the twins of narcissistic conceit (and deceit), Ben Affleck and Matt Damon).

Although he was an avowed liberal Democrat who gave a lot to Democrats (especially Nancy Pelosi) and other leftist causes, Williams spent a lot of time entertaining the troops. If you look on Google Images, you’ll see photo after photo of Williams entertaining American troops countless times and in countless countries, from Kuwait to Baghdad and everywhere else. Contrast that to Oprah Winfrey, who was asked by the Bush Administration to just visit Afghan girls once and ask them to attend school. She refused.

Robin Williams was also pro-Israel, and in 2008, he joined a number of celebrities (including Tom Cruise) in wishing Israel a Happy 60th Birthday. The video is here.

So, I’ll remember Robin Williams for those good things. But it’s wrong for us to soft-pedal suicide as if the perpetrator bears no responsibility or reason to be judged accordingly.

Robin Williams, Rest In Peace.

**** UPDATE: Since there has been some discussion of the Jewish view on suicide, I think it’s necessary to correct the record on that issue, even though Robin Williams was not Jewish (not even half-Jewish as was rumored), and even though I don’t believe my religion’s views on suicide are relevant here.

To wit, real Judaism (not Judaism lite a/k/a “Conservative” and “Reformed” Judaism, neither of which has a clue what the Torah and Jewish oral tradition actually says) considers suicide such a heinous act–akin to murder–that those who commit suicide cannot even be buried within a Jewish cemetery (although politically correct rabbis who know on which side their bread is buttered always find excuses–such as mental illness–to do so).

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60 Responses

He was a very talented man who had everything going for him. Robin Williams was not some addict in a crack shack with nothing else to live for. He was a 1% man in terms of wealth and fame. Mr. Williams had no reason at all to check out. His departure is sad, but it was his own choice. He decided that his drugs were worth more than his very life.

Worry01 on August 12, 2014 at 2:00 am

    Todd bridges took a stand against suicide and the selfishness of it. Once criticized, he quickly backed down.

    Hey Todd. Hollywood forgot you long ago. You had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I am sorry you couldn’t hold your ground.

    Darrell L. Hicks on August 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I was shocked and saddened upon reading the news of Robin Williams’s death. He was a comic genius and one of a kind. He was a master standup comic and ranked among the very best.

Like his comic mentor, Jonathan Winters, another comic genius, Williams’ improvisational skills and characterizations were other worldly wonderful–but they created totally different worlds. However, they each had that rare combination of physical and verbal comic skills. They were tremendously creative and innovative comic spirits.

Jonathan Winters too suffered from depression and became an alcoholic. Fortunately, Winters was able to control his inner demons to a considerable extent. I last saw Winters perform live in 2007 and he was magnificent. He was at the Wadsworth Theater in Brentwood for a charity event that also celebrated Mort Sahl’s 80th birthday. Not surprisingly, Robin Williams donated generously to this show.

Williams was an astonishing performer on stage and he will me missed terribly by those who love comedy.

He is a reminder that there is a fine line between tragedy and comedy. Ask any of the great comedians about comedy and they will tell you–if you catch them in a moment when they’ll level with you–that comedy is simply the other side of the coin of pain. Many great comics have suffered pain, and even though some achieve great success and wealth, that does not necessarily take away the pain.

I will close with a line from another great comic genius from yesteryear who suffered from depression, the multitalented Oscar Levant. (Besides being a great comic and wit, he was an amazing musician.)

“There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased that line.”–Oscar Levant.

Ralph Adamo on August 12, 2014 at 2:02 am

We can’t judge people why they commit suicide. I recall though that its a permanent fix to a temporary problem. We should never be ashamed of seeking help when we feel like life is too much for us to handle.

Robin Williams was an incredibly gifted person and his committing suicide shows us that some people allow themselves to crash to the point where they can’t go back. What a tragedy! He and his family, friends and fans deserved a lot more.

May he RIP.

NormanF on August 12, 2014 at 4:19 am

    I think that the frustration arises when people view his background and subsequent career success. People who have experienced long-term unemployment, foreclosure, or eviction have not simply taken their own lives for the most part. Robin Williams could have reclined on a garden chair in Tiburon(very elite area)for the next twenty years without any fear of want. Most people are not that fortunate.

    Worry01 on August 12, 2014 at 4:42 am

I’d want to see his CAT Scans before concluding that he was “mentally ill”. Very sad, but his demise is a common result of effing up one’s brain chemistry with narcotics, stimulants, and/or alcohol, esp over a long period of time.

waynesteapartyworld on August 12, 2014 at 4:35 am

Clinical depression is a result of a chemical imbalance, and is as severe a medical illness as cancer.

I do not believe his suicide was a selfish act. It is a desperate act for those who suffer from this terrible illness. Even Orthodox rabbis and priests recognize the medical nature of suicide as a result of clinical depression.

I knew someone who never took an illicit drug, was a wonderful person, but suffered greatly from clinical depression. She ended her life in a mental hospital. Not selfish, Deb, just ill.

JEG: Huh? Which Orthodox rabbis are you talking about? Although it’s not relevant here (Robin Williams wasn’t Jewish), you can find a rabbi to say anything, I never mistake rabbis for medical professionals or people who always have common sense (which is why Judaism does NOT have a pope or any religious leader appointed above us and/or between us and G-d). Regardless, in Judaism, suicide is considered such a heinous act–akin to murder (which is exactly what it is, self-murder)–that those who commit suicide cannot even be buried within a Jewish cemetery (although you can always find a politically correct rabbi who knows on which side his bread is buttered to make excuses, such as mental illness to bury the person in the cemetery, but it’s not really legit). That is Jewish law. We believe that only G-d gave us life and only he can take it away. Period. DS

Jonathan E. Grant on August 12, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Well said.

    Alison on August 12, 2014 at 7:22 am

    @Jon–

    “Chemical imbalance” theory has been completely disavowed. Many, many references on this. You can start with this one:

    http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/rip-psychiatry-the-chemical-imbalance-theory-is-dead/

    Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Prometheus, a link to this web site doesn’t prove anything.

      skzion on August 12, 2014 at 10:31 am

        @skzion–

        Google the topic. There are hundreds of articles confirming what I said. And BTW–I said that was good place to START.

        Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm

          Prometheus, no offense, but Googling is not the way to handle medical questions. One should start with a Medline search. The Peanutters, you’ll recall, had web sites as well.

          Incidentally, a Google search will also yield all sorts of “evidence” for competing wrinkle creams.

          skzion on August 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I’ve always thought Robin Williams was a manic depressive. In his “high” state he was incredibly quick witted and inventive. So, when he said that cocaine “slowed him down” then it was a dead giveaway to me. I think he used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. No lithium, no SSRIs, and no ECT, which I think is very tragic. His depressed brain saw only one option — death. This is extremely common with clinically depressed people.

      Gizz on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Debbie,

    I agree on the religious aspect and Christianity also retained the Jewish view about suicide being a grave sin.

    No rabbi or priest can validate human defiance of G-d. He is our judge and only He can decide how long we are entitled to live. Our bodies and souls are not ours; they belong to our Maker.

    That said, suicide is judged on the person’s actions not on whether he is ill. He has to be willing to do that which is expressly forbidden and after being warned ahead of time it is is a sin. If those conditions are not present, its not suicide because then its a result of illness and not born out of a desire to turn against G-d.

    The circumstances of Williams’ demise do not mean suicide is ever legitimate, moral or just or that should we allow others to freely take their own lives. Human life is an obligation, a blessing and and an honor and we must treat it with the utmost respect.

    Unlike Islam, Jews and Christians do not see death as something noble and even martyrdom is considered to be of a very limited nature. Life is for the living and we live in this world and not in the next one. The House Of Man is the earth.

    NormanF on August 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Contrary to a lot of the people posting here, clinical depression is a Medical condition resulting from a chemical imbalance of normal endorphins and the brain. I studied biology and chemistry, and know a little about the subject matter (not much, but more than most people posting here). Do not tell me chemical imbalance has been disproved, because you are wrong.

    If in fact a person is wired to commit suicide, and given that it is a medical condition, and not a means, for example, to escape a trial or a difficult life, Orthodox rabbis, or at least those with knowledge of the medical condition (and a number of rabbis are also doctors, lawyers, etc) will allow for a Jewish burial.

    JEG: Fact check: Jewish law (real Jewish law, not that of Conservative or Reformed “rabbis”) treats suicide the same as murder, and those who commit murder or suicide are NOT allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. However, there is no shortage of politically correct rabbis who know on which side their bread is buttered, who will make excuses of mental illness to bury murderers and those who commit suicide in cemeteries. Doesn’t mean it is permitted. I am an observant Jew who has studied Jewish law in its original Hebrew and Aramaic texts for years. And this is simply not true. But I’m not exactly sure why this is relevant. Robin Williams was not Jewish. DS

    Jonathan E. Grant on August 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      If a person is mentally stable, no Orthodox rabbi will bury the person. Again, if a person is mentally ill, with clinical depression, they do not have control over their actions.

      Judaism is a kind religion, and a scientific religion. Given our greater understanding of the brain, yes, someone who is so clinically depressed who commits suicide can be buried as a Jew even by Orthodox rabbis.

      As an example Rabbi Bogner, of blessed memory, studied under Sigmund Freund. He was an Orthodox Rabbi in Silver Spring, and a brilliant man. He acknowledged the facts as stated.

      JEG: No, Jewish law treats suicide the same as murder, and those who commit suicide are NOT allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. However, there is no shortage of politically correct rabbis who know on which side their bread is buttered, who will make excuses of mental illness to bury murderers and those who commit suicide in cemeteries. Doesn’t mean it is permitted. I am an observant Jew who has studied Jewish law for years in its original Hebrew and Aramaic texts. You haven’t, and this isn’t the first time you’ve made incorrect statements on Jewish law, such as when you commented that I was wrong for saying that Jews believe in an afterlife, when we absolutely do. As I noted then, “Olam Habah,” or the Next World, is exactly that, and is a major theme in Judaism. I never heard of this Bogner person (or why Sigmund Freud, who was very much NOT an observant Jew, is relevant), but whatever he said is NOT Jewish law. You were brought up outside of Orthodox Judaism. I don’t claim to know everything on Jewish law, and the great rabbis even disagree on many issues. But on this, you are simply wrong in claiming that this is the position of Orthodox Judaism.

      To quote Maimonides, one of THE most respected authorities in Judaism (in contrast to this Freudian Bogner person), from the “Mishneh Torah”:

      For one who has committed suicide, we do not occupy ourselves at all with funeral rites, and we do not mourn for him nor do we eulogize him.

      Again, though, I’m not exactly sure why this is relevant. Robin Williams was not Jewish. DS

      Jonathan E. Grant on August 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm

        @Jon–

        By that logic, every suicide is a medical condition, right? Again, please search the “chemical imbalance” thing. Absolute rubbish.

        Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      @Jon–

      What is a chemical imbalance of endorphins? What is the “normal” blood titer for endorphins?

      Hint: there isn’t one, since they are produced per need, or in reaction to a variety of stimuli. The entire notion of relating biochemistry to depression was simply a “scientific” way of pushing drugs.

      Much has also been written about how psychotropic drugs are little better than placebos.

      Yep, people are depressed because there’s not enough Abilify in their brains.

      Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Jonathan:

      There is no medical condition that says someone is “wired to commit suicide”. It seems evident (I long suspected) that Williams was bipolar. That doesn’t mean he was suicidal.

      Medical science would say he was at a higher risk of suicide but unless he told a physician he was considering it, there was no reason to put him on suicide watch. Even if they had done so, his suicide was HIS decision for which he is accountable to Hashem for.

      Some of our best actors and especially comedians have bipolar disorder. Some people who are “workaholics” and appear to have super-human strength have bi-polar disorder. I have long suspected Pete Rose was bipolar. Many athletes have it; it’s the source of their super-human strength and energy. They don’t commit suicide.

      Robin Williams had all the resources one could wish for to treat and beat his mental disorder. That he didn’t have the discipline to do so or the strength of belief in Gd was HIS responsibility.

      Yes! We see people struggle with mental disorders. They fight the good fight and can’t beat it. I see soldiers come home from war who fight it after witnessing horrific brutality. I see it in policemen who must witness the dark side of humanity every day. And every shrink I ever talk to has told me the same thing: “When all the tools we have fail us, belief in Gd saves our patient to fight the disease another day.”

      It’s rare that I say “Debbie is right”. Usually, I say: “I agree with Debbie.” But here I say “DEBBIE IS RIGHT!”

      Nobody is pre-wired to commit suicide. Mental disease can be remarkably painful; so painful it can overcome the human instinct for self-preservation. We know that even though we don’t know the precise mechanism. But we also know this: “Gd forbids us from taking our life.” That is because Gd can only heal us if we allow ourselves time to heal. Truncating our lives prematurely cheats ourselves and violates Gds commandments”.

      Those who commit suicide usually abandon Gd first; THEN they take their own life.

      I don’t know what I’d tell someone who told me they were contemplating suicide. I know what I once told someone a year before they did it; perhaps I delayed it for a year. I’ll never know.

      Yes, there are mental diseases that make people more at risk, but there’s no pre-destiny in the human body. It takes a conscious decision and there’s no room in Gds commandments for committing suicide.

      There is NO Santa Claus on August 13, 2014 at 7:18 am

        Suicide is the ultimate act of bravery, despite what you twits peddle about “cowardice” and “selfishness”. Mental illness is a permanent, uncurable condition and suicide is the ultimate act of defiance against the tyranny of a miserable life. Only a coward would continue living under the yolk of such a tyrant, merely for the sake of living. Suicide goes against every survival instinct we have wired into us, and is a venture into the great unknown.

        And Debbie, life is not a “gift” from some benevolent creator. Living with severe mental illness, ALS, cancer, etc, is not a gift. And if indeed it were, then your gift giver is a sadist unworthy of worship.

        Roger Causwell on August 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Johnathan:

    The specific mechanism by which someone commits suicide is still unknown to neurologists and psychiatrists. To this day, suicide remains a decision of the individual for which Hasham holds that individual accountable for.

    I get the whole “mental disease” thing, but these diseases are not nearly as well understood as physicians would like us to believe. I would also point out a general rule that someone who holds a strong faith in Gd is less likely to commit suicide.

    Also, for some reason nobody has fully explained, suicide is rare among poor people.

    There is NO Santa Claus on August 13, 2014 at 6:46 am

Jon, I agree there are different kinds of depression.

I do not believe for a moment he sought to take his own life. Some forms of mental illness are not under any one’s conscious control.

And death can come as a relief for people suffering from a prolonged illness. My father was physically very ill and I don’t believe he wanted to die. But I couldn’t bear to see him suffer and I felt a sense of overwhelming relief when he finally passed on.

Robin Williams was ill and not selfish and in the absence of other evidence, he put a great deal of suffering behind him and also for his loved ones, friends and fans.

That’s why I don’t judge him because I’m not in his shoes and I know how terrible it can be to watch someone die painfully and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Williams was one of a kind of comedic and acting talent and we shall not see his likes again. He gave us a lot of joy and light-hearted moments and in my opinion, that is how he should be remembered.

NormanF on August 12, 2014 at 6:59 am

In spite of some physiological manifestations, depression, like alcoholism, is, all too often a device for people to avoid personal responsibility for their actions.

Er um, it wasn’t me, it was really the alcohol. Uh, I didn’t really mean that — I just did it because I was depressed.

Cause and effect for physiological manifestations of depression is extremely complex, and defies simple generalizations. It also is not an all or nothing situation — even with chemical manifestations, a person is not relieved of responsibility for his actions. It isn’t as though once depression is diagnosed (leaving aside the increasing range of symptoms now considered as depression) somehow responsibility vanishes.

Little Al on August 12, 2014 at 7:46 am

It is an irrational act, how could one leave one’s body behind to be discovered by loved ones or stangers? It is terribly ironic that the movie I liked him in most were ‘What Dreams May Come’ which addressed the situation he is now in. Lord please send your Holy Angels to be with Robin and help him find his place in Heaven and also send your Holy Angels to be with his family in this time of grief and bewilderment.

Bronson on August 12, 2014 at 7:53 am

Robin Williams was an extremely talented actor and comedian and will be truly missed. Unfortunately, it looks like the cause is extreme Depression. He came from wealth, but he still had a lonely childhood. But who knows for sure how or when the Depression started. People take their own lives thinking everyone is better off without them and they are doing the world a favor by permanently exiting it. My heart goes out to him and his family!!

Lee on August 12, 2014 at 8:10 am

If he was taking anti-depressants many of them have black box warnings on the label for adverse effects such as suicide. I wonder…

Caryn on August 12, 2014 at 9:26 am

In most every case I agree with Debbie’s articulate and rational perspectives
In this case-NOT
She has no right to judge others-has NO idea what demons the wonderfully gifted Robin Williams was and has been dealing with throughout his life. Suggesting he “had everything” from early childhood appears to be a jealous commentary-and has NO relevancy with his adult life. I’ve always lived by the mantra-“If You can’t say somehting nice about someone-DON’T”
Debbie S should look into her heart and feel empathy for the Williams family-and throwing Judiasm’s views on a non Jew makes no sense
Out of balance combinations of medication can also cause incredible side-affects-including massive depression and suicidal thoughts-and given I did not see an M.D. next to Debbie’s name she is out of line here
Jerry

Jerry on August 12, 2014 at 10:20 am

    @Jerry–

    ” throwing Judaism’s views on a non Jew makes no sense..”

    Wow! Are you really that stupid? You mean the Ten commandments don’t apply to non-Jews?

    Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

      As a Christian who believes in the Ten Commandments, yeah, sure, there are commandments which would make no sense to certain people. Like observing the Sabbath. There are people, especially Atheists, who have no use for that one. God? There’s a God? Who says? So, that leaves out the ones about observing one God, honoring His Holy Name and not making graven images. Even people who supposedly believe in God, such as many “Christians,” have industries based on graven images.

      Then, there are the ones about honoring your mother and father. Suppose you grew up in adoption, and your adoptive parents were a couple who drank, took drugs, cursed, beat you and the other kids, and almost set fire to the house making meth? Can’t talk someone like that in to honoring their father and mother that easily.

      Stealing? Well, if it’s to achieve some semblance of “reparations” let’s say, you’re going to get the liberal response of it depending on the totality of the circumstances involved. Same with killing and coveting. And as for that one about adultery, c’mon, . . .

      A HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE USA DON’T BELIEVE IN MONOGAMY ANYMORE!!!

      So, yes, there are people who will question even the applicability of The Ten Commandments.

      Alfredo from Puerto Rico on August 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        @Alfredo–

        The point is (so to speak) that even if you don’t understand math, the laws of mathematics still apply. Whether or not you are Jewish, certain fundamental moral laws apply. You can choose to ignore them—to your ultimate peril.

        Also, the virtue of prudence (more important in Catholic than Jewish theology) would prevail in such matters as whether or not to honor *your* parents.

        Prometheus on August 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm

          I personally agree with you totally Prometheus, as I am not a purveyor of the type of spin you were addressing your point to. But I, as you and a lot of other people, am a student of the culture of society, especially that which is directly around me. I have broken bread and smoked joints with geeks, gangsters and everyone in between.

          Whole lotta spin goin’ on. LOL!!!

          Alfredo from Puerto Rico on August 12, 2014 at 2:35 pm

This is from the announcement of Robin Williams death:

The Marin County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that Williams was found unconscious and not breathing in his home around noon. The statement said the investigation into Williams’ death is ongoing, but the coroner “suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia.”

Often people who are depressed will try to do anything that will help them feel better to get out of the depression.

If one has just gotten out of rehab, and is determined not to fall back into substance abuse, then one avenue of intense pleasure and distraction he might consider, could be auto-erotic asphyxiation.

This practice, if miscalculated, can easily lead to full asphyxiation and death, and, if not considered by the coroner, can lead to a conclusion of suicide.

In the absence of conclusive proof surrounding his death, and in the presence of so much kindness and good he did in his life, it would be better to judge him favorably, or not judge at all.

Many of his films had suicides (Dead Poet’s Society, Jakob the Liar, Patch Adams, and most famously, What Dreams May Come), and in all of them, he was against suicide.

May all the wonderful deeds he did, and all the joy and laughter he brought to others throughout his life, protect him.

exdemexlib on August 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

According to the fire department scanner in his area, he reportedly hung himself at his home. Hence the death due to “asphyxia.”

I’ve read that Robin Williams was bi-polar, which I believe shows through clearly in his work. His manic behavior when on camera, and reports from co-workers that when he was “in the mood” he would go on and on being hysterically funny for hours, jumping from one topic to another, one joke to another, never shutting up.

He had a long-time relationship with drugs and alcohol, specifically cocaine. I remember years ago he said that cocaine was God’s way of telling you you make too much money. I will not say he “battled” his illness and addiction, because it appears he willingly gave in to them. I suspect the drugs and alcohol were his way of self-medicating for the illness. Not an excuse though.

He went through repeated stints in rehab, most recently last month. Like most people, the rehabs were not successful, and he would always go back to drinking and drugs.

I don’t know if he was taking medication for the manic-depression. Many people who do say that they hate the way the drugs make them feel, and they love the way they feel when they are in the manic phase. Perhaps Williams was one of those people. He felt creative and powerful when manic, and supplemented those highs with cocaine. But the lows that come when someone crashes can be lower than any of us can imagine. Supplementing those lows with booze will take you even lower.

I feel for his family, who were probably put through hell while he was alive, and now have to endure the pain and humiliation of his suicide.

MIGirl on August 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

    As a retired mental health professional it does appear that personal responsibility has vanished from the effort to comprehensively understand
    addiction and depression driven choices like suicide. It is certain that “Big
    Pharma” has been a driving force as well as treatment programs that want
    to entice rather than invite their clients into admission. There is, I believe a
    place for individual choice and responsibility that has nothing to do with or
    be confused with religious values.

    john w. on August 13, 2014 at 3:38 am

This morning on my way to work I was listening to the local talk radio station. The host just like everyone else on TV yesterday was talking about Robin Williams. He asked people to name their favorite Willimas movie. I’ll get to my picks in a minute but let me just say this. Robin Williams was a gifted comedian who had a range quite unlike others in his field. He was funny back in the day on Happy Days when he turned out to be more powerful than the Fonz(Fonzie for those of you who watched the show was the man). Williams was so good in that episode that Mork and Mindy was made. Could you guys think of the kind of report that Mork would’ve given Orson on the state of the US right now. He’d probably think that our POTUS and VPOTUS were aliens. Anyway Williams was also good in his many movies but my favorites were Bicentennial Man, Mrs Doubtfire and Dead Poet’s Society. He also was the funniest part of Alladin and his standups were hilarious. Everytime the O’Clown goes and plays golf I remember Williams’ take on the sport and I crack up everytime. His helping the homeless with his Comic Relief with dudes Billy Crystal and Whoopie Goldberg was good along with his support of the troops. The fact that he was a big liberal who supported Nancy(BatShi’te)Pelosi makes me say about him that nobody’s perfect.
About his apparent suicide all I will say is this. I’m a Christian so to me it is a sin. I know that he suffered greatly from depression and had drug and alcohol problems but what of his wife and children. Sure his kids are grown but I know that they would’ve rather had their dad in their lives. Like I said Williams was a great comedic talent and from what I hear a good man. May he finally be at peace.

Ken b on August 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

I saw Jonathan Winters in Houston circa 1979. The venue was full of youngsters and ‘hip’ college students. The show was bombing horribly and people were talking in the audience. It was just terrible. Then, out of nowhere Robin Williams came out and the place exploded in laughter. I remember he walked out with a bottle of Heineken, and seemed like he had a few under his belt. But he managed to salvage the performance. I remember reading where Williams was with John Belushi doing lines of coke the night Belushi died. I believe that scared him sober for nearly 20-years. His brain never seemed to stop. I can see why he turned to chemical substances in an attempt to slow the world down. Such a waste

#1 Vato on August 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Interesting story, #1 Vato. If I remember correctly, Jonathan Winters was a big comedy hero to Williams, and he and Williams became close.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on August 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm

The Psych drugs made him do it. People were better of 50 years ago without these EVIL medications.

bed bug on August 12, 2014 at 2:43 pm

While I regret Robin Williams’ death, I think the media coverage is ludicrous. Nonstop! Reminds me of Princess Diana, the Runaway Bride, Casey Anthony, Hurricane Katrina, etc.

Little Al on August 12, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I agree with you, Little Al. During the space of this morning, arriving on line about 9 a.m., I have watched the progress of the media coverage. Within the past hour or two, it has reached the level of the death of a sitting American president, or 90 year old, two time Oscar winning, internationally beloved, mega-philanthropist movie star.

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on August 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

As I said on the other post, I just didn’t care at all for him.

Like most, when he first came on the scene I thought his manic act was funny, but after awhile it wore thin, especially with the constant Christian bashing and conservative bashing.

He was on my Must Ignore List after Popeye. His acting was just like watching Oprah. Just something about him that just made me want to smack the smirk off his face.

Dead Poets Society? The name alone made me roll my eyes. Ms. Doubtfire…blecch! Same level as your typical chick flick.

Just like the typical liberal Hollywood jerk, I found him unoriginal and boring.

Jeff_W on August 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I’ve disclosed a deep secret in my blog posting on Robin Williams: you can click on my alias to get there. But I shall share this with you anyways.

In the past I had contemplated suicide. I was unemployed, confused, recovering from addictions and taking stock of my life to the point of grieving over my failures.

Even today I thought that I have become irrelevant and expendable in this existence, that maybe things would only get better had I removed myself from the equation altogether.

What keeps me going, though is not the fact that life is beautiful – it is, of course, but not necessarily all the time – but the reality that all the problems I’m experiencing will not go away if I were to do away with myself. In fact, suicide would make matters infinitely worse, because who would take care of them when I’m gone.

I, for one, decided to stick to the good old 12-step tenet of “one day at a time” and take solace being granted the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Even though I no longer go to my GA, AA, NA, whatever-A meetings unless I really have to (because, free will), I keep thesm in my heart because I know that I can make a better life, in spite of my faults.

Suicide isn’t just a selfish act, it’s a cowardly act. It’s a sign that someone has lost the will to confront the demons and their sources on their own. Ever since I sought help for my addictions and other personal issues (long story – TMFI), I realised that I’m not alone in my pain, that there are people who are just as worse off as I am. I chose to live in this world than die for the next. And I have my trusted advisers and and health-care workers to thank. Had Robin Williams been treated rather than coddled and cocooned in ignorant bliss, he would still be having us ROFL.

I know that everyone is different and results may vary, but for shit to get done, I prefer to be above ground than below it.

’nuff said. Love, Jacques.

The Reverend Jacques on August 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    The best is yet to come. The adventure that tomorrow will bring keeps me in the mix today. Half-measures availed us nothing.

    #1 Vato on August 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm

I’ll say this for Williams: in addition to doing some very good things in his life, he at least waited until his children were full grown. As I suspect he has had suicidal urges for decades, perhaps he did therefore show some unselfishness after all.

skzion on August 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm

When I was younger my views on suicide were pretty much identical to yours. As I have gotten older, now I’m not so sure anymore. It doesn’t really make sense to us why Robin would do such a thing given that he was not terminally ill, under extreme, no-way-out, financial pressure and so on. What we do know is that he took cocaine and other drugs which produce intense feeling of euphoria. Coming down from such drugs can cause severe depression. We will likely never know why he took his own life but, as I said, I can see certain cicumstances where one would think that suicide would be the least painful way out. I don’t know.

maybeso on August 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Dutch, that link doesn’t go where you think. Anyway, why would we care about Jonah Goldberg? He is no more than Hayek with a lobotomy.

    skzion on August 12, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Like the other person who posted, I too was suicidal. As incredible as this sounds, when your brain chemistry/
personality/or whatever drives you to think this way, suicide actually seems like a reasonable solution!! It was only with G-d’s grace that something clicked and I realized that it was extremely abnormal to be thrilled that the solution to my pain and problems was suicide. When I was in the grips of this horror, I honestly thought that nobody would care if I was dead! I was certainly NOT being narcissistic. If anything, I considered myself a burden to others and felt I would be doing my loved ones a favor. It’s years later and I am so grateful I got help, changed my life as well as my perception of my life and am still here. But, in my heart, I know that at that time, G-d did for me what I couldn’t do for myself and showed me how wrong I was. I do not judge Robin Williams. He was not as fortunate. G-d rest his soul.

Been There on August 12, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Freddie Prinze. Cocaine.

John Belushi. Cocaine.

Marvin Gaye. Cocaine.

Need I go on? Three massive talents right there. Yes, I know, they all did other things, so have I. I’ve done it all, snorted coke and speed, snorted and shot dope and other (incl. pharmaceutical) opiates, drank too much a couple dozen times, acid 180 times, etc.

But in all my experience and observation of people who got sucked in to the vortex of full blown addiction, I have never seen such a psychologically debilitating drug as cocaine, and that includes base, crack, cocaine in any form. BAD STUFF. Perhaps the worst, at least in my generation, and from what I’ve seen, in the succeeding ones. Neth might be equal.

But then if meth is equal, guess what we’re talking about, the most powerful “up” heads. Stuff that can keep you up for days, and make you an idiotic fool. I not only studied about sleep but was doing studies on my own sleeping habits, and the resulting mental and physical effects over 40 years ago. Loss of sleep continuously will damage your mental health. Adding drugs that can give you the “up” effect of over 100 cups of coffee several times a day is going to make you a mixed up fool. Cocaine sucks, meth sucks. I always hated the “up” heads. What goes up, . . .

must come down.

HARD.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on August 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

I agree with Debbie. It’s also interesting that the Finnish word for suicide, itsemurha, means literally, ”self murder”, backs up her pov that I share.

Kenneth on August 13, 2014 at 3:13 am

I am a psychiatrist, practicing in a State hospital.

Here’s my take: suicide is a selfish and vicious act. His family will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives.

Both chemical dependence AND mental illness are treatable and stabilizable. But non-compliance is high, as it is with diabetes and hypertension, among other chronic illnesses.

I had concern for Mr. Williams when alive. In death, my concerns, condolences and best wishes to his family, who are suffering now.

Psychotropic medications work.

Occam's Tool on August 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Why do you all care about how he died. Why are you all judging him? None of you knew him. He died. It’s sad. That’s about it.

Greta on August 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm

@skzion–

No offense, but as in all things, prudence must be your guide. Medline will give you great access to conventional publications, and that’s fine—as long as you don’t want to peer beneath the world supported by Big Pharma.

Yes…there’s lots of crap on the open Internet, and Surprise!!–there’s also lots of crap in the conventional journals.

Prometheus on August 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

It’s sickening to read all the “experts” here on depression and it’s causes, and why Robin died. So much terrible and callous information.

Gizz on August 14, 2014 at 11:26 am

    @Gizz–

    And pray tell…

    What information would be Un-terrible and non-callous? How *should* such matters be discussed?

    Prometheus on August 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Normally I think Debbie is insightful, but suicide is the end outcome of untreated/improperly treated bipolar disorder the same way as death can be the outcome of untreated or improperly treated asthma.

When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And what Robin Williams died from was the end outcome of “Depression”.

The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who commit suicide…

But, just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone commits suicide as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to commit suicide). But considering that one person commits suicide every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigmas that continue to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focusing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.”

As for the other poster above: “Chemical imbalance” is an over- simplification. Certain parts of the brain in depressed individuals are underactive and/or smaller. The hypothalamus and limbic system, for instance. Basically this means the brain is not producing the normal levels of all the neurotransmitters. So, it’s not really an “imbalance” but rather a lack of certain neurotransmitters.

But depressed people most definitely have brains that differ from non-depressed people. It’s not scientific fantasy. It’s proven on CT and PET scans.

Jewish law teaches suicide is a sin, however, compassion is also a trait highly regarded in the torah.

Dr Doodle Von Drake on August 15, 2014 at 2:37 am

He was noted to have Parkinson’s Disease, which can exacerbate an already existing mood disorder. Still and all, a cruel act towards his family. My compassion and condolences to them.

Occam's Tool on August 18, 2014 at 10:56 pm

The writer here is a judgmental idiot who obviously knows nothing about severe depression. In addition, suicide should be the private and personal choice of anyone who feels that their quality of life is compromised due to illness or disease, or maybe even just living in this greedy, violent world where nothing ever seems to change. For sensitive souls that in itself my be reason enough! We will never know if the Parkinson medication that Williams was taking exacerbated his long-standing battle with depression as Rob Schneider has suggested, or if he simply felt that he didn’t want to experience the deleterious effects of disease in his later years. Robin Williams was a rare and special individual who gave us unprecedented joy for years. Every one of us will die eventually. Love your life and the people in it now. Wake up.

Dwk on August 19, 2014 at 12:50 pm

As a person who has seen the very real temptation of suicide, I’d like to point out that it is not the person who commits the act that is selfish, but rather the people that call him selfish.

If there is a suicidal person who feels so much pain that they long to leave this world behind, and there’s the people who want to keep him here purely so they don’t have to face the grief that will surely follow.

I view the latter as the selfish party.

Jordan on September 10, 2014 at 7:49 am

What credentials or personal experience do you have to speak on this matter? Nothing, you dumb broad. You don’t know what depression is and are just basing your statement on falsified schema. I don’t care who it is that committed suicide but to call the act selfish? If you weren’t so ignorant and had strong evidence to back your weak claim then I would maybe, just maybe, take a look at this putrid trash. Not everybody in the world is exactly like you, I for one, am glad of that.

Source: my own personal long term struggle with depression.

P:S: It’s okay to let this show on your website. You don’t have to filter every comment just to make yourself seem less of a b*tch than you already are.

Really? on October 7, 2014 at 2:58 am

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