The late actor and well-liked comedian Robin Williams was a bright spot in the entertainment business. Numerous lives were impacted by his motivational talks and poignant sayings. But beneath the laughter, he was overcome with darkness.
The world was shocked to learn that Robin Williams had committed suicide on August 11, 2014. Millions of people were devastated by the loss and were in mourning. How could someone so vibrant and happy fall into such hopelessness?
In actuality, Robin’s narrative was not as simple as it seemed. He had been suffering from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a neurological condition that impairs thinking, memory, and movement, as an autopsy later found. Given that medical professionals had previously misdiagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease, this was a startling realization.
LBD presents unique difficulties, such as shifts in attentiveness and alertness and visual hallucinations. Robin’s health started to decline in the final years of his life. The man who had little trouble learning lines by heart now found it difficult to recall on set. Anxiety and a time of intense answer-seeking ensued from this frustration.
Susan Schneider Williams, Robin’s wife, provided insight into his misdiagnosis and the consequences it had on him. Upon reviewing his records, pathologists declared that his condition was among the worst they had ever seen. Lewy bodies, protein deposits, accounted for 40% of the dopamine neurons in his brain. His brainstem and entire brain were harmed by this.
Susan described how Robin’s health began to deteriorate, first with intestinal issues and cramps in his stomach, and ending with a tremor in his left hand when at rest. His sense of smell and eyesight deteriorated, which made it harder for him to sleep and occasionally caused him to freeze in midair. LBD symptoms were capricious, akin to a game of whack-a-mole.
Robin’s pals observed a change in his appearance in the fall of 2013. He appeared more frail and lean. He was prescribed antipsychotic medications, but his mental health continued to worsen. He was aware that he was becoming insane. He could no longer handle the burden of what he was going through.
Robin Williams made the terrible decision to take his own life on that day, shattering the world in the process. Few were aware of the inner demons he battled. It serves as a reminder that the deepest suffering can be concealed by the cheeriest of smiles.
Nonetheless, Robin Williams’ legacy will live on. We will always be reminded of his sharp wit, improvisational abilities, and the several personalities he brought to life. Let’s pay tribute to him by telling our loved ones about his experience.
Peace be with you, Robin Williams. I hope you are able to find the tranquility you have been looking for.