Why did Robin Williams commit suicide?
A star has fallen, not the first, not the last, but this one is so special. Yes I say “is” and not was, because he will be alive forever, in our hearts and in our memories.
We grew up watching his movies, identifying ourselves to this wonderful man. It was enough to see his name as an crore in any movie to make it one of the best.
Robin Williams died at age 63. Too early for someone as brilliant,loved and successful as him. There are multiple reports that he took his own life. If true, and there is no reason to doubt the reports, he succumbed to depression.
Williams was so multi-talented and so brilliantly funny that it is hard for most of us to imagine him sad, much less depressed.
Part of it, of course, is that he was a movie star, far removed from our “normal” lives. But it is not only his celebrity status that makes Williams’s depression hard to imagine. It’s also that his energy level always seemed higher than that of anyone else.
The news of Robin Williams appearing all over the internet the last two days recall not only his humor but also his cocaine and alcohol addictions, as well as his pain and depression. In many ways, Williams is a tragic reminder that appearances can be deceiving and that even humor—especially humor—can be used as a mask that shields both the wearer and those around him, from the pain underneath.
Dr Alex Lickerman from “psychology today” magazine, had posted previously an article about suicide citing the 6 following reasons why people attempt suicide:
1) They’re depressed.
This is without question the most common reason people commit suicide. Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense. They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain: it’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.
2) They’re psychotic.
Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression, and is arguably even more tragic. The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1% and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, never fulfill their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be treated for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all. Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission to a locked ward until the voices lose their commanding power.
3) They’re impulsive.
Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. Substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.
4) They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it.
These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who’s hurt them, but they are sometimes tragically misinformed. The prototypical example of this is a young teenage girl suffering genuine angst because of a relationship, either with a friend, boyfriend, or parent, who swallows a bottle of Tylenol, not realizing that in high enough doses Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage.
5) They have a philosophical desire to die.
The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision, often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless.
6) They’ve made a mistake.
This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far. The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.
The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain.