Social Question

rockfan's avatar

Do you think Robin Williams wouldn't have committed suicide if he wasn't a celebrity?

Asked by rockfan (3296 points ) 1 month ago

I think being an actor and having depression would be an awful thing to go through. Having high expectations from fans, critics, directors, and movie producers. What do you think?

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70 Answers

picante's avatar

Depression is an equal-opportunity destroyer. I think it’s good that he found success in film—it was a good outlet for that extraordinary energy and talent. I am deeply saddened by his suicide.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

Thousands of depressed people commit suicide every year. Because he was a Celebrity people are all talking about it. If he was a regular person you wouldn’t even hear of it. The world has an obsession with Celebrity be it an actor/comedian like Williams or a no talent like Kim Kardashian.

I feel badly for him but I’m sure he would have had plenty of help at his fingertips if he would have only asked for it. money was no object unlike the average depressed person who doesn’t have the money or time to get help.

Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. I can only imagine the pain he left behind for his wife and son.

Pachy's avatar

We’ll never completely know or understand breadth and depth of the demons of this enormously talented and obviously driven man.

ucme's avatar

No one will ever know the answer to that, all the “bells & whistles” that surround a wealthy life lived in the public eye are largely irrelevant, depression doesn’t recognise fame.

Bill1939's avatar

His depression was life long. His intelligence enabled his manic comedy, which I understand he would do even if only one other person was in the room, that for the most part, if only by distraction, offset the depression. As a celebrity he had more opportunities to escape into his comedic persona. One can only tread water for so long.

elbanditoroso's avatar

We will never know. I’m not sure it matters.

If he weren’t a celebrity, no one would ever have known or cared.

hominid's avatar

As others have mentioned, we have absolutely no idea why he killed himself.

But there are a couple of interesting articles this morning that discuss the relationship between sadness and comedy. David Wong (Jason Pargin) and Jim Norton. While these are interesting, we really have no idea about Williams – or anyone. Do you think he knew why?

anniereborn's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Robin Williams had Bipolar Disorder and addictions to drug and alcohol. Those are NOT “temporary problems”. None of us know the struggles and pain he went through for years and years.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

As a man of high means he had access to the best support and medical care. He had the financial means to spend time in rehab or in a psych retreat. If anything it may have prolonged it. Depression kills, it’s insidious and can strike anyone without warning. It takes everything from you except your life. In the end it can convince you to take it yourself. If you have never experienced true depression life has been good to you.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I had an Aunt a few years back commit suicide over depression,that she had battled for years sad in the end the disease won.
And she wasn’t wealthy or famous.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat “Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem.”

No, it’s a solution to what is a long term, often life-long, problem. People who dismiss depression as temporary have never experienced it and understand fuck all about it.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I agree with @Bill1939. He was compulsive and luckily, a master at ad lib. He would have done his thing whether he’d been a gardener or a garbage man. He couldn’t help himself. But off the stage, most people wouldn’t get it and they would have marked him as a nutcase.

Guys like this don’t do well among us unless they are noticed and given the chance to take it to the masses. At the time Williams started out, we were a much different society of young people searching for alternatives from the world our parents had handed us, a world of conformity, blind loyalties, a world of unequal dichotomies based on race and religion. There was a war on that many of us felt was unjustifiable, immoral, unnecessary and blatantly imperialistic, wrong. Any innovation in the arts was welcome, any alternative lifestyle was valid. Then along came artists in music like the Beatles and the Stones, like Warhol, and cartoonists Crumb, and comics like Bruce and Williams, so different from one another, but both spoke to this rebellion of ideals and lifestyle, and they were taken in as icons.

He would have never made it if he was born before his time. Even Jonathan Winters, a member of the offending WWII generation, and William’s number one mentor, barely made it until he stopped criticizing the ambient society and hypocrisy of his generation and settled on being an inane court jester safe for the movies. But William’s time was different and he took the ball and ran with it. Winters, before he passed away, often commented on how lucky Williams was to be in his prime during the turmoil and change of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Williams had a good life, considering the shit he would have taken if he hadn’t the protection of wealth and celebrity. Guys like this are bullied all through school because their genius is misunderstood, their energy so overwhelming, or simply because they are so different. By the time they reach full adulthood, their gifts are often beaten down into a kind of catatonic silence so they may live a life unharassed by the envious, the moronic multitudes around them. They learn the hard lesson that being different will not be tolerated here. This ain’t no fucking stage and you ain’t in no movie.

I personally think he would have been a suicide risk much earlier in life if he’d been forced to live the road much traveled. Or, in this case, travailed.

RIP, you bloody fucking genius.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Darth_Algar Depression can many times be fixed with medical treatment, but dead is dead.

I think you know what I was referring to but you have a way of being argumentative a lot. I’ve had people in my own family with depression so I think I just might know “what the fuck depression is” YOUR WORDS NOT MINE. I don’t usually respond to you but I’ll do it just this once.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Anyone can get these problems and kill themselves. He just touched a lot more lives.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Darth_Algar @anniereborn
you both might find this ten second quote very interesting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aebsLSu3Igk

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat

Depression can be treated, to varying degrees of success, with medication, but never fixed. And sorry, just because you might know people with chronic depression (or other mental illness) doesn’t necessarily mean that you understand a thing about it, especially if you think it’s a temporary thing.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat

Is that 10 second quote suppose to prove anything?

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@Darth_Algar I guess Robin Williams didn’t know “what the fuck he was talking about either”. I’m done, I wasted enough time of my life that I can’t get back today. There is nothing like the real world off the computer.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat

Or it means that throwing up short soundbytes with absolutely no context proves nothing.

anniereborn's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat I have suffered with depression for 25 years. Bipolar Disorder surfaced for me 15 years ago. I’d say I know something about it. Robin Williams was 63, I’m guessing he had a lot of experience with it. Some people are NEVER able to be stabilized.

Bill1939's avatar

The patrons of a few establishments in New Orleans where my folk singing sister performed and some nurses in Chicago, now likely retired, with whom she worked as an inhalation therapist before moving into Cajun country, might have cared if they had known of her suicide at age 43.

She suffered from paranoid-schizophrenia that likely had its onset before she was 17. After three psychotic breaks that required lengthy hospitalizations in the Chicago area, the last break delivered her to a mental hospital in Austin, Texas, where, after a few weeks, the overcrowded facility sent her on a home visit with her husband.

The evening of the day she came home, her husband went out to visit with some friends and she hung herself. Had her hopes to be the Chicago Joan Baez been successful, she too, having access to the best medical care available, also might have endured to age 63.

anniereborn's avatar

@Bill1939 ((hugs)) what a tragic loss for you.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ Hugs to both of you.

cazzie's avatar

No words…. I am so sorry. I’m currently facing the fact that the father of my son is refusing to eat again and threatening suicide and I don’t know what to do other than feel helpless and protect my son. I only hope that if things get bad for him, the people around him will ring the hospital in time.

mazingerz88's avatar

One-! One more dead entertainer that I love-!

That’s it. I’m done counting for the day. :(

To answer the OP, I can only imagine what Williams’ answer might be. “Would I have not killed myself if I wasn’t in showbusiness-? Heck, I probably would have killed myself sooner if I didn’t have that much people to drive insanely haaaaAAAPY-!!!”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yes, that’s probably true. I hadn’t looked at it that way. GA

kritiper's avatar

The results/probabilities would have been the same. People who commit suicide were walking a thin line between sane and insane before they fell off.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Yeah, sad but true.

rojo's avatar

No, because he was a celebrity you know about it, that is the only difference.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve known a lot more regular people who killed themselves than I do celebrities.

Coloma's avatar

No. Has nothing to do with it, if anything it shows the insidious nature of depression.
Celebrities have resources that far surpass the average person and even they cannot buy off their issues with all the expensive rehab and therapy and comfortable surroundings they enjoy.
Healing from personal issues and addiction is an inside job and one that money cannot buy

Robin Williams has suffered from heart trouble, addiction trouble and, he is also in the demographic most likely to commit suicide, white males in their 60’s.
Aging and addiction and depression are all high risk factors for suicide, and, the trend is upwardly mobile as well in all middle aged people that have been wiped out in this economy with the suicide rate for people in their 50’s and 60’s skyrocketing by 28% in the last handful of years.
Celebrity has nothing to do with personal problems.

Nobody wants to die, what they want is to be relieved of their suffering, however it shows up and death is often the choice between the lesser of two evils.

Coloma's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus Excellent sharing and I agree, the very bright and different suffer greatly in trying to fit their square pegs into round holes. It’s pretty obvious to me that the brighter amongst us suffer more simply because they see the world very differently along with the traits of giftedness, high energy, quick minds, great sense of humor, sensitivity, passion.
He was a very gifted man and I think the focus should remain on that.

trailsillustrated's avatar

My sister was married to a celeb catering coke dealer in the early 80’s. I met him over there and he was indeed 1000 miles a minute, made all the funny noises and talked very, very fast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a feeling he may have been drunk or high or both when he did it…..

To answer the question, being rich probably prolonged his life. Had he been poor, and had access to fewer resources I’m sure it would have been over a long time ago.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It’s something to puzzle over. @Dutchess_III I wonder about what you’re saying. I was thinking just the opposite. To me it seems that if you’ve had a brilliant and successful career, and want for nothing financially, and yet still find yourself depressed…

Coloma's avatar

I think the way you do @stanleybmanly .
I am a 50 something that has been wiped out by this economy and never, EVER, in all my life have I contemplated suicide, until this last year. I am not doing it, but have certainly kept it as a last resort, plan B thought if things get too unbearable.
it is hard to understand how someone with zero survival concerns and resources beyond comprehension can still manage to be suicidally depressed.

You could afford to have live in help, therapy, expensive rehab, you could hire someone to be your personal assistant and be with you during the rough spots, hire a chef to make you detox meals, a personal trainer to drag you out to the pool for an invigorating morning swim, the best medical care money can buy, your own guru…it’s a mystery.

trailsillustrated's avatar

^ it is a mystery. I agree, the only time I have ever considered suicide was when facing homelessness and starvation.

Coloma's avatar

@trailsillustrated Exactly, that’s my line too, maybe terminal illness someday.

johnpowell's avatar

Good for him. It sucked for him and he got out. He was rich and had every option to seek help. No pity.

After I saw this news I went down to put some stuff in the dumpster. There was a 60 year old lady in my dumpster looking for cans to recycle. Where is her front page story on CNN? At least she is trying when the odds are stacked against her.

And yeah, Michael Brown.

Blueroses's avatar

I think every very successful comedian carries a tragic hero inside.

We see them as relief from the darkness we all feel. We forget they are also human when they become a larger public figure.

The saddest thing, to me, is the thoughts of people who are on the edge and thinking that no amount of success will ever make a difference.

jonsblond's avatar

Being a parent and having depression would be an awful thing to go through. Celebrities aren’t special

This is my mother. A ruptured brain aneurysm a year after I asked this question finally put her out of her misery.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Do people still not understand that money =/= happiness?

anniereborn's avatar

Do people still not understand that clinical depression is not the same thing at ALL as a temporary depressive episode? Not only that, but Robin Williams had Bipolar Disorder, that is way different even from unipolar depression.
For those who do not understand….please, please read this article.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/aug/12/robin-williams-suicide-and-depression-are-not-selfish

Bill1939's avatar

@Darth_Algar the false hope, by reaching the next goal that one’s depression will be mitigated, which it is, initially, as the wave of satisfaction washes over consciousness, drives pointless pursuits. Eventually, either failure or fatigue reveals the futility, and endless sleep seems sensible. Sadly the suffering forces one’s focus away from the feelings of others. Otherwise one would never intentionally inflict the pain that their suicide will cause them.

anniereborn's avatar

@Bill1939 Please read the article I posted above. I do not agree that the person is intentionally inflicting pain on their loved ones.

scratch that….I think we are actually on the same page. I didn’t read your response correctly.

hominid's avatar

I just discovered that it was not depression that led to his death. It was his ‘leftist world view’.

Bill1939's avatar

@anniereborn I thought I was saying that but for their depression (which, like any form of pain, draws their focus of attention to their emotional state) they would see the harm suicide would cause. I have attempted suicide three times. My first attempts were at ages 7 and 12, when unable to grasp the effects they had on others. The last was when I was 21. Fifty some years later I still have periodic thoughts of killing myself. However, I honor a deal made with myself so many years ago. I give myself permission to have these thoughts and their emotions, but deny myself permission to act on them.

anniereborn's avatar

@Bill1939 Yes you did say that. I read it incorrectly.
I’m so sorry that you have gone through so much. Especially to be affected starting at such a young age. ((HUGS))

Bill1939's avatar

Thank you @anniereborn. Sadly it ran in the family on my mother’s side. I can only hope that the genes that made us so vulnerable have not been passed on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I saw a documentary about Richard Pryor last night. When I used to see him doing his schtick on TV, I always noticed that often times, when he was laughing, it almost sounded like he was crying. I always wondered about that. Last night I learned that he had a pretty horrible childhood.

I also always noticed that Robin Williams always had a sadness in his eyes and in the set of his mouth….something childlike and sad. However, I learned way, way back, in the late 70’s that he suffered from depression so I thought maybe I was just seeing something that wasn’t there because I knew about the depression.

I wonder if people would still commit suicide if they knew there was nothing afterward? No other life, no heaven, no hell, no consciousness….nothing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@hominid I saw that, what Rush Limbaugh said. The ass wipe.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III Sometimes nothing is better than the pain. :(

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t…..imagine….

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I wonder if people would still commit suicide if they knew there was nothing afterward? No other life, no heaven, no hell, no consciousness….nothing.”

I really doubt that factors into it one way or the other.

Coloma's avatar

Well…personally, I sure hope there is nothing on the other side, that’s the whole point, to cease existing, not end up in some fresh new hell in another dimension. This is why death is called eternal REST! haha

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma Oh god, that would suck. I’ve had enough pain, I off myself, and I end up in Hell. Fuck.

Coloma's avatar

^^^ haha..I know, then what? You think you are going to your eternal rest but it’s burn baby burn! lol This sardonic humor is for you Robin. :-p

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma He would like that. GA. Way to keep your sense of humor.:)

Coloma's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Here ya go, this cup of Kool Aide is for you. lol

Bill1939's avatar

@Dutchess_III wrote “I wonder if people would still commit suicide if they knew there was nothing afterward? No other life, no heaven, no hell, no consciousness….nothing.” I can assure you that this is exactly what I want. No feeling means no pain. If the myths of Heaven and Hell have any truth to them, the Ruler of Heaven should understand why I reached the wrong conclusion about immortality.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish they were true. I wish I could hang around as a ghost and watch my kids and all my descendants be born and live, then hang out with them when they die.

Bill1939's avatar

@Dutchess_III being able to witness the lives of loved one would be a blessing, but it would also be a curse. Imagine that you can see something horrific about to happen to them, and the agony at not being able to intervene or even give warning.

cazzie's avatar

@Bill1939 you are describing most parenting situations.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Life after death does not really factor into suicide. It’s all about ending suffering. Nobody has mentioned yet that real, bonafide depression is usually much more than deep sadness. It’s also great physical suffering and actual pain. That level of depression usually includes horrible anxiety, nausea and other physical manifestations.

kritiper's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I don’t think afterlife has all that much to do with it either, but I have always wondered if no belief in afterlife would stop some suicides.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me makes the best and most solid point. All of us can become depressed when life hands us setbacks. The problem with clinical debilitating depression is that it is something which the vast majority of us never experience, and therefore lack the empathy that comes with experience. But empathy aside, when someone among us who apparently has everything, finds living so intolerable that he deliberately heads for the exit, the mere thought of such an affliction scares the sh*t out of me.

Coloma's avatar

Well…in light of the revelation of his Parkinsons diagnosis, apparently he has been living with symptoms and the depression and anxiety of that condition as well. Parjinsons also effects the brain so this condition can certainly be factored in. Goes to show you can’t judge before all the facts are on the table.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Still waiting on the tox reports. I had an acquaintance who made a half-assed attempt at suicide because she was a little bummed out over something. Then one night she was drinking heavily and got SUPER bummed out and took a bunch of pills. Then got scared and called the hospital. She was sent to rehab for a week.

She would not have made the attempt if she hadn’t been drinking.

Bill1939's avatar

@Dutchess_III, I hope you are correct in your belief that the alcohol made her attempted suicide possible. Even if true, however, and you could prevent her from drinking, eventually a seemingly innocuous occurrence will trigger the impulse to kill herself and she will find a way to try. Only a competent professional can help her uncover the source of the impulse. Meanwhile, medication may moderate the impulse’s intensity.

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