There was an article in today’s Aiken Standard, my local paper, via the Associated Press wire. The title was “Robin Williams’ autopsy found no illegal drugs”. Aside from my annoyance at the misuse of the possessive, I did think about some things after reading this article.
The autopsy showed that Williams did indeed have evidence of therapeutic levels of his prescribed medications in his bloodstream. It is not a secret to anyone now that he had struggled for years with both mental health and addiction issues, and was in treatment at one time or another for both. He was being prescribed medications to help him with these conditions, and it appears that he was taking them.
He did not have any alcohol or illegal drugs in his system at the time of his death.
His wife, according to this story, was most likely home when he decided to kill himself and completed the act. He killed himself by hanging with a belt.
Even those with money to burn, success, achievements, loving family support, and ongoing treatment and medications can feel terribly isolated, alone, and hopeless. Depression can be devastating. Help can seem light years away.
I see so many hundreds, even thousands of people who struggle with addictions. Life on drugs and alcohol is sometimes overwhelming, fraught with relationship problems, legal problems and financial ruin.
On the other hand, sometimes life without drugs is just as hard to bear, maybe even more so if you have been addicted for years. The raw emotion of it, the demands and stresses and trivial annoyances of daily life seem just too big, too complicated, and too much trouble to deal with. They seem unsolvable.
For Robin Williams, even with treatment, fame, fortune, and family, it was all just too much. He decided that he could not go on.
I cannot and would never judge him or anyone who committed suicide. I have not been inside their heads, and I do not know what final thought they have right before they decide that they must die.
I do know that if someone needs help, if life is just too hard and whatever they are doing is not enough to sustain them, then action is imperative.
Sometimes still waters run deep.