The  news of the loss of Robin Williams is saddening. I however can't help feeling that it is the shared delusion of a better place to go that was likely the cause. This is not a new idea as suicide to speed along the journey to "heaven" that caused the church to announce that it was a sin. Those who say religion isn't harmful if practiced alone I believe are mistaken or have never lost a loved one who was alone with their ideas of a better place. Maybe this idea is ill timed, but I have seen many instances where life was lost due to someone hoping for the promised land because their ideas were allowed to manifest unchallenged.

Just my thoughts


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Some states actually have laws prohibiting suicide. The legislatures must think, Gee, we can punish them for so unchristian an act simply by making them die a criminal.

Unfortunately suicide is common among academics and I have lost many students, friends, and colleagues to suicide over the years.

You are right that each case is individual, but I would argue that there is a difference between young people who kill themselves and older people. If prevented, young people often turn their lives around and live productively. If older people are prevented from killing themselves, they try again later.

Among the older suicides I have known were a retired professor of English, a retired dean, and a physician—all facing difficult illnesses. With the young suicides I have known, I would say they all had a false sense of hopelessness. One tried to elicit sympathy by faking his death, but went too far. On the other hand one student who tried suicide three times, got the help he needed and has had a very successful career since. 

My conclusion is that with the young, intervention is called for, but with the old assistance should be provided.

My conclusion is that with the young, intervention is called for, but with the old assistance should be provided.

Offering intervention is important for anyone.  Anyone can have boxes around their thinking that make suicide seem the best choice.

I viewed Robin Williams as a manic/depressive. He was a great talent but throw in some drugs and alcohol and there is your problem. As he got older his productive manic phases got less and less which threw him more towards depression. This would produce feelings of "not good enough" but it would be a false feeling. In other words, the "Mork and Mindy" days were over for good and he longed for this kind of recognition. He left no note behind because he did not want to be stopped. His days of going on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and taking over  the whole show was over, would never happen today, and this was what he longed for and things like this drove him and put him on a roll. You might say he lost his joy.

What I keep wondering about RW is, if he was so unhappy in his career, why not start a new one?  How about becoming a scientist, say? 

There's so much to life besides being an entertainer. 

@ Dr Clark.....Very  well said......I agree there is a huge  difference between the young  and the older  when dealing  with  suicide....The  young  are still vulnerable  and confused and need  adult guidance and love...So many  young people feel so alone when  confronted  by  peers, such as bullying.....If they could go to someone  they could trust who is older and wiser, it could be a life saving  event.....Older people, many  past their prime, with severe  health problems, mental or physical, may no longer feel they can live  a meaningful life...These  people  may not be deterred from suicide, and in some cases  should be allowed  a painless way to end their life..

There is also all the antidepressant pharmaceuticals advertized on TV that are being pitched by doctors via pharmaceutical companies for unruly children who grow up with maybe ADHD.

Perhaps kids today should spend more time with family and friends than on computer social networks

Robin WIlliams was in the early stages of Parkinson's - and apparently Parkinson's often causes depression.

Not just because the Parkinson's diagnosis is depressing - but the disease process in Parkinson's causes depression along with the motor symptoms.

Poor guy!  It sounds like the depression from Parkinson's on top of his longstanding depression, pushed him over the edge. 

Luara, I think you are right....other factors may have been his last film flopping at the box office, and other types of professional stagnation.  And his age....comedians, like professional writers rarely retire (Think of George Burns).  They can't; it's not part of their vocabulary.

This was my initial point: suicide is seldom any one thing. A bunch of problems can coalesce and bring on a depression that can't be shaked off. Months if not years prior to his suicide, the person I am writing about told friends, "I feel like a rat in a trap." No way out.

I think some people have complex medical problems that are unfixable and they just give up.

The novelist Ernest Hemingway, who enjoyed writing, big game hunting, fishing, and travel to exotic places, learned he could do none of the above after a plane crash left him close to death. He fell into depressions, and his poor wife, misled by the psychiatric community, recommended shock "therapy." This made Hem even more despondent, to the effect that, one morning, he got up, went downstairs, and blew his head off with a shotgun. To me, this is an honorable death. Hemingway was an atheist. He did not take "the easy way out" -- killing yourself takes enormous courage -- but simply discontinued consciousness because he no longer could live a life with meaning.


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