Robin Williams as I am sure just about everyone has heard by now was found dead in his home on Monday. Apparently he took his own life since battling depression and a return to heavy drinking after 20 years of being on the wagon. He died of asphyxia which defined, is suffocation. Suffocation can come in many forms-- and in Robin Williams' case, he put as much into his suicide as he did into his work. He not only slit his wrists to bleed to death but then for good measure hung himself.
That however is not the story here…
The story is that yet another famous person, seemingly, in our observance of what their lives must be; was on top of the world. Money, fame, and not a care in the world or so it is in our minds from our vantage point. We figure they can just tell the world to go bang tar whenever they want.
Unfortunately in so many cases like this it’s really not the case at all.
Think about this for a second…
First, there are millions of people that have suffered from being down and depressed from time to time and either with or without medication bounce back and never are they the worse for the wear.
If you have ever been down and feeling sad or depressed for whatever reason, think what it was like when people came at you with questions or problems or just would not let you be.
I’ll bet it was pretty awful wasn’t it. Now put yourself in the position of a celebrity. They are being bombarded by agents, fans, the paparazzi every minute of the day. That alone to me would be something that would drive you… and I am going to be a little cute on words here… but drive you to drink!
I imagine the reason that this term, drive you to drink, was invented in the first place was because someone needed to ESCAPE their problems and unfortunately the easy way is with the bottle or in many cases, drugs.
Be it alcohol or drugs the person ingesting or injecting them loses their inhibitions, feels like they are having fun, forgets about the worries of the day as the booze or drugs affect the chemicals in the brain by releasing endorphins. In the brain, endorphins work like opioids and the pleasure centers of the brain are targeted. So you can just imagine as the old saying, if it feels good do it, becomes an escape more and more for those who are depressed, stressed beyond their breaking point and looking for a way to escape. The problem is that the increased and all too often dependency that follows creates yet more problems and more stress creating a seemingly inescapable circle. It takes a lot for anyone to seek help especially a celebrity that has so much to lose. Without strong family and friend support all that is left all too often is the permanent escape. This is the escape that Robin Williams, a super talented artist came to take this past Monday. Others like:
Actress, Different Strokes
Actor, The Man with the Golden Gun and as Tattoo on Fantasy Island
Great American writer Ernest Hemingway suffered from depression and alcoholism. He was found dead of a shotgun wound in the head at his home.
Musician Freddie Prinze died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after struggling with depression, marital problems and heavy drug use.
Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain died in his home on Lake Washington Boulevard East. he had 225 milligrams of heroin in his blood, three times the lethal dose.
The beautiful actress allegedly committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates.
It is indeed sad that once you reach celebrity status, something so many people actually yearn for, that instead of being on top of the world, you hit the bottom from trying to please so many, with so many constantly sucking the life out of you. It’s easy to say, I just don’t get these celebrities, they have it made and they turn to drugs and alcohol then kill themselves. But what isn’t easy to do is to try to imagine for a moment what is is like to not have the support of family and friends, to have your entire life open for all to see and the constant hounding to take every bit of their energy to fuel our own. Robin we miss you dearly and I hope as you once said in an interview, you find in heaven seating right up front.
Editor's Note: After publishing this column, it was revealed by his wife that Robin Williams had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.