Extra Dosage | Robin Williams
This podcast and these show notes talk about suicide. If you are thinking about taking your own life or are worried about a friend or a loved one, call your suicide prevention hotline. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Canada. Call 1-833-456-4566. In the United States, it’s 1-800-273-8255. Please ask for help. Reach out and talk to somebody. Your life is worth living.
This is a special bonus episode of the When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast called “Extra Dosage.” Full episodes of Season 2 are available every other Wednesday.
On Monday, August 11, 2014 Robin Williams died by suicide. While he had has demons in drugs, alcohol and depression over the years, those are what killed him. Williams, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in May of 2014, was suffering from severe symptoms that would later be determined to be from Lewy Body Disease.
In this Extra Dosage episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s we discuss the life and death of Robin Williams. We discuss his roles, friends, diagnosis, symptoms, decline, suicide, and the impact he’s had on all of us.
His final year is details in a REELZ documentary in the U.S. called “When the Laughter Stops: Robin Williams.” Award winning Entertainment Reporter and the films Executive Producer, Dylan Thomas, is interviewed in this Extra Dosage episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s. We talked about how Robin created a mask so realistic no one knew he was suffering. “We never saw it. It wasn’t in front of our eyes. And that’s the great irony of the situation. Someone could achieve so much. He was a winner of an Academy Award, six Golden Globes, two Emmys, five Grammys, more than perhaps anyone could have ever imagined in a career. Yet at the same time, behind the scenes, there were issues in his private life that we didn’t really know about. And that was, you know, his health condition, the fact that he had Parkinson’s and that he had Lewy body syndrome.”
His widow, Susan Schneider Williams, penned a letter to Nuerology.org titled “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain.” In it, she details some of the darkness Robin was facing. “Robin was growing weary. The parkinsonian mask was ever present and his voice was weakened. His left hand tremor was continuous now and he had a slow, shuffling gait. He hated that he could not find the words he wanted in conversations. He would thrash at night and still had terrible insomnia. At times, he would find himself stuck in a frozen stance, unable to move, and frustrated when he came out of it. He was beginning to have trouble with visual and spatial abilities in the way of judging distance and depth. His loss of basic reasoning just added to his growing confusion.”
No one can bring Robin back. But his films and specials live on and make us laugh so hard it feels like exercise. That’s probably Robin’s last poke at Parkinson’s. Even in death, he produces as much natural dopamine in brains with and without Parkinson’s than anyone or anything else.
If you are thinking about taking your own life or are worried about a friend or a loved one, call your suicide prevention hotline. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Canada. Call 1-833-456-4566. In the United States, it’s 1-800-273-8255. Please ask for help. Reach out and talk to somebody. Your life is worth living.
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Special thanks to…
Paul Mayhew Archer, writer & producer http://mayhew-archer.com/
Neurology.org – Read Susan Schneider Williams full letter “The Terrorist Inside My Husband’s Brain.”
Dylan Howard, American Media
CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, Fox News
CBS This Morning
Thanks also to our content and promotional partners
Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation
Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease.