8/11/2017-THINKING / R.I.P.-Robin Williams

-Here’s another one of my “retro” posts due to lack of time on the day in question. Unlike some of the others, this one is three years overdue. Great huh? Better late than never right?

-Three years ago on this day Robin Williams was found dead after committing suicide via hanging. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. Robin Williams was such a brilliant comic and actor. In my opinion, his improv skills were second to none and seemed inexhaustible. I’ve watched him in various roles as an actor and comic for many years. And, while nowhere near his level, I do wonder if, subconsciously, the times when I’m on stage and / or on set where I’m rattling off joke after jokes isn’t some slight nod to him. While in a league of his own as a comic, he was also great with drama-as his various acting awards prove. Many quotes I see online that are attributed to him came from lines his characters said in various movies.

-Reading about the hardships he had to endure throughout his life made me admire him even more. I have had, and continue to have from time to time, battles with depression-which started just as I was hitting 9th-10th grade. I never turned to drugs and alcohol, but instead internalized it, which-some might argue-caused as much damage in a way-if not more. It would seem that, while he could make so many people happy, he couldn’t give that to himself-at least not for long. Depression is such a cruel and insidious disease. However, unlike what many believe, it was not depression, per se, that caused Robin to take his own life-although what did brought it along for the ride.

-Below is a link to an article written by his wife, Susan Schneider Williams, about what was discovered-as well as detailing events that lead up to Robin’s suicide. It’s a tragic read-especially for me-and similar, in a way, to my reactions and post about the death of Glen Campbell a few days ago. The similarity was this-both men were slowly, and literally, losing their minds; Glen with Alzheimer’s Disease and Robin with an unusually severe case of Lewy Body Dementia (DLB), which had been initially misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. You can read the full details via the link to the article below…

THE TERRORIST INSIDE MY HUSBAND’S BRAIN BY SUSAN SCHNEIDER WILLIAMS BFA

-In both cases, with Glen and Robin, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to slowly lose your mind-in many ways becoming like a reverse quadriplegic. Here is a quote from Susan from that article…

β€œRobin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating?”

-I can’t even imagine that horror of having to fight thru something like this-and I hope I never do. Like Alzheimer’s, there’s no cure for DLB. Also similar, the life expectancy of the affected, once diagnosed, is around eight years (AD can be from 3-9 years). I’m not sure where I read this from, but I did see an article (from his former wife?) where it was said that Robin was losing control of his mind and his suicide was a way-in part-of regaining that control. I don’t know.

-As an aside, I will admit to having suicidal thoughts throughout a good chunk of my life-mostly “flirtatious” ones. It’s like a bad habit that keeps waiting to be triggered. I have had to deal with multiple heavy hitters though, the last one being in November / December 2016. I do a number of things to help me recover from “the funk,” but like an alcoholic-it never fully goes away. There have also been medium sized “attacks” as well that seem to hit me every few weeks / months for a time. In a sad way, the suicide of a person I’d worked with for over ten years, Charity Bagalonis Potter-who committed suicide almost three years ago (it’s already been that long?) via hanging herself-taught me a valuable lesson. Specifically, what the result of a suicide can have on those who left behind to live life. That’s one of reasons depression is so insidious. It causes one to focus so much on what is happening within that you’re not thinking about what your actions can do to others on the outside. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. It’s just that one’s focus, on your own pain and emptiness, becomes so strong that nothing else can come in-and that’s where the time comes to either give in to the disease or fight for another day. There’s a popular saying-“When does depression end? When it ends you.” I don’t know how much I could have helped, but I so wish I could have talked to her-to try and help her. I was at the calling hours and it was heartbreaking, but I’ll never forget the aftermath, on that day, of what her suicide had done to those who were her friends and family. I didn’t know her that well (mostly work buddies, but we did hang out out outside of work a few times), but I knew her enough that I know if she was fully aware of how much pain they would all being going thru (and, I think it’s safe to say for many, still going through), it would’ve been enough for her to stop that action-at least that time. But I also know that one can’t fight forever-and maybe Robin had reached that point. The article above (via that link) highlights that and it’s so sad that such a talent was taken away before his time.

-The clip above is taken from an episode of “Inside The Actor’s Studio”-almost the entire episode. An awesome example of Robin’s exceptional talent and quick mind. One thing that I did take away from this when I recently watched the whole thing was that, whenever the questions got personal, more often than not he would just go “ON” and-at times-avoided the answer-at least for awhile. One comment on that clip states it perfectly…

“You could see how hard it was for Robin to be honest about his true self without joking about it. I have always done this too, its easier to make people laugh than let people in on how sad you truly are.ο»Ώ”

-This is a defensive move and I can relate to that to a degree. There have been many times where it seems I’m quite happy on the outside, but quite sad / empty on the inside. I’ve had a few people tell me they can tell, at times, because of my eyes. I don’t know. It may not seem so, but there is a side of me that’s quite private. Maybe when I finally write “WAYNE-THE BOOK”….

-I’m three years late, but still…R.I.P. Robin…

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About Wayne W. Johnson

Hiya-this is WWJ & thanks for dropping by to my site! I hope you enjoy your visit to my home away from home online. If you have any questions, comments and /or concerns about this site, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thanks & best wishes to you & yours!
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