t80088: >Susan Williams has previously blamed Lewy body dementia for her husband’s death by suicide in 2014. About 1.3 million Americans have the disease, which is caused by protein deposits in the brain. Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a few months before he died; the telltale signs of Lewy body dementia in his brain were not discovered until an autopsy.
>The editorial chronicles Williams’s desperation as he sought to understand a bewildering array of symptoms that started with insomnia, constipation, and an impaired sense of smell and soon spiraled into extreme anxiety, tremors, and difficulty reasoning.
fupher: Lewy body is incredibly difficult, it can literally turn you into a different person. I’ve seen a perfectly pleasant woman turn mean, angry and abusive. She would be horrified if she knew what she has become.
matthias7600: Lewy-Body disease is more than dementia. It’s dementia combined with hallucinations. Like a bad acid trip that just gets worse and worse without end.
AvocadoOrc: As someone who is currently living with grandma with dementia watching her slowly lose herself, I can somewhat understand the pain… I sometimes wonder what it would be like when I start to lose myself. RIP Robin Williams.
Edit: Well, im glad that my top comment is about Robin Williams instead of shitty joke. Reading all these comments made me feel rather sad. I wish there was a cure for this. But one thing that I thought was nice about my grandma’s dementia is that she’s always happy because she forgets what made her sad/angry/hurt or whatnot.
JereRB: Doctor: “You have a condition that modern medicine cannot cure. It will rob you of motor functions, cognitive function, and ability to care for yourself. Your personality will slowly fade away into a gibbering mush over the course of eight years. It will take your mind and your dignity. Your family will see every step of it. And fighting it will leave you destitute and destroy anything financial you could leave for your spouse. What would you like to do?”
At that point, “kill myself” just seems like the smart, dignified play.
Avarian_Walrus: He was also a big gamer and into World of Warcraft. He has an island in the game with his genie character on it as a tribute to him.
Lilebi: I might get downvoted for this, but having worked in a nursing home for many years, I think he made the right choice.
If I ever get diagnosed with any form of dementia, I hope I have the courage to end it while I’m still able to.
SargeCycho: If you haven’t seen Bobcat Goldthwait talking about this you should check it out. https://youtu.be/JKOjZLPXLhk
OmarGuard: That’s almost a blessing that he went out on top with his mind mostly intact. Could you imagine how much worse it would have been watching him slowly deteriorate over the years? Fuck that noise.
Rest in power.
mylifewithya: His death is really the only celebrity death I think about from time to time. It is still so surreal.
SlightlyStable: This doesn’t make his death any less tragic, but it does help to understand it a bit more.
3Dartwork: Let me put this into personal perspective among other stories people have added.
Four years ago, my grandmother suffered a stroke. It was the kind of stroke that didn’t kill her, but it sent her into the hospital. Afterwards, she received numerous mini-strokes until she died.
But before she passed a year later, dementia settled in. It wasn’t like Alzheimer’s where she simply forgot anything. She instead was sent back in her mind to two points in her life: the 1930s when she was a young lady and the 1950s when my dad was a baby. I would like to think they were two points in her life that made her super happy and that’s what brought her to those moments.
When I visited her, she had no recollection that I had been born because to her, my dad was still an infant. She would frequently ask my grandfather to bring Dad over so she could hold him for a while. Of course, that couldn’t happen since he was in his 60s.
I would sit and visit with her, but to her I was a casual stranger that was friendly to her. We would talk about things, and I was exceptionally careful not to bring up anything that happened after Dad was not an infant (I never mentioned her having a grandson).
This was all because her dementia was incurable. She was never going to recover from it. As a result, I felt since she was happy with the time period she was in apparently, I encouraged her final days to remain there.
Fortunately I was knowledgeable in history and her past well enough I could talk to her as if it was 1955. I did a little research on a few news worthy events and talked to her about it, and she always would be fascinated to hear it like it was the first time.
In the end, it was a bittersweet moment. She struggled with dementia and she was *very* fortunate to have such a great memory lock because she could have easily suffered with a worse case of dementia, not believing she was living in 1955.
While I don’t encourage suicide, knowing that dementia is settling in, having experienced with Grandma went through, I would never ever want to go through it.
1nverse: What a trooper man. I’ve heard people call Robin everything from a coward to a looney, but all i️ can think of is how brave he must have been to remain such a positive figure in the world while also fighting off his inner demons.
dmcgwhyer3: This hits close to home. My mother passed away in June, and a year and a half prior she was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia and ALS. She was too passionate about her faith to ever consider taking her own life, but I think if she had known what she would have to endure, she may have thought differently. It was awful watching her mental and physical state decline at such a rapid rate. I will never tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do with their life. But as someone who has watched someone go through the end of their life with this awful disease, i certainly would never judge someone for taking their own.
I am also at high risk for both als and dementia and will have to strongly consider my options for my future. It will be a difficult discussion for my fiancé and I, but one that I absolutely plan on having.
Please don’t be hasty in judging someone for considering such a difficult decision.
fd1Jeff: What everyone here is missing is the fact that Lewy body dementia causes erratic, bizarre, and often violent behavior!!!!! We don’t know if this suicide was a rational decision on his part or him acting out some way. He apparently repeatedly spoke of a monster in his brain before he killed himself.
Did he kill himself because of the monster in his brain, or did the monster in his brain kill him?
MahjongNucleus: Robin Williams had a form of Dementia called Lewy Body Dementia. It’s the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s and acts like Parkinson’s Disease, except in this case people with LBD often suffer from auditory and visual hallucinations. Some of the symptoms of LBD can be controlled, but most anti-psychotic medicines will make a person with this illness worse. It’s possible that Robin’s doc thought he was just suffering with Parkinsonism and gave him medication to treat the hallucinations not knowing that he had this illness.
Lineageloa: Made me come to think about When My friend Told me how his friends father in law decided to punch out.
95yrs old, worked in the woods from age 9-87.
Was at the point where he couldnt do anything himself.
He was so miserable and during a conversation he begged his son in law ”I have worked My whole life, now i have ppl wiping My ass. For the love of god let me go out on My own terms. Pick me up and drive me home, make sure My Rifle is in My tool shed. I have earned that much”
Totally understand that You would want to go out with What ever dignity You have left.
StraightFireGeery: As someone who has seen the horrors of dementia, this is why I want to sign a living will to be flown go Switzerland to be euthanized in the event I get dementia
pompandpride: dimentia – (n) a form of dementia that has a particular diminishing of abilities.
LordDestrus: Where the fuck was the media attention on this?! I was devastated the day I found out he died. It spurred a relapse in my own depressive thoughts that if even Robin Williams, the man made of laughter, cannot fight it then how can I? I’m still alive obviously and very much intend to stay that way, but these are hard things to cope with. Likewise with Cornell and Bennington. It floods you with inferiority and fear. Am I going to lose my grip on living and take myself away from all this? Am I going to one day wake up and say that my family no longer needs me? The irrationality of it those thoughts is the scariest part and the media was sure as hell quick to get their diagnosis out there and I haven’t heard a peep from them revising the info until this lady’s article. It’s a shame. His death will go down in my life as one of my lowest moments. The creeping death of depression always comes back in waves. I wish I had known that he had tsunamis built of other stuff going on, so I could have known that his situation is a little different than mine. That would have helped me. So thank you, OP.
Therealdickjohnson: This was absolutely a big part of the news story after he died. I’m a bit surprised so many people didn’t know or forgot.
Lewy body is a terrible disease.
mechantmechant: My mom had LBD. Her life was good until the last few days. She became childlike, but children aren’t necessarily miserable. She had some depression around the diagnosis, no surprise there, but like with most diagnosises, it passed.
In my opinion, the connection to suicide is probably more that LBD makes people very spontaneous than that it makes them depressed. For example, she’d eat a whole box of chocolates during a commercial break in the middle stages, or go outside naked in the later stages. The spontenaity made her a suicide risk, not misery or depression.
Life wasn’t easy with her being so sick, certainly, but caring for her wasn’t a terrible burden I resent. It wasn’t so very different than cancer or another life ending illness. I bathed her and wiped her bum, and would have if it was cancer, too. There’s nothing so shameful about needing care. She maintained a lot of her personality, just being the same person with a lower IQ, or a child. We got a lot of government help with her personal care– not enough, but a lot. I’m very glad ahe didn’t kill herself and that I got the time with her I did get.