I don't have anything to say about Robin Williams the performer or public figure. That's been well-covered all over the say. But I'm a little troubled by all the posible reasons given for the depression that led him to commit suicide: He had money trouble, his career was sputtering, he had survivor's guilt, his drug and acohol abuse caught up with him. Michael Levine, a publicist who knew him for 30 years, gets it right:
Veteran Hollywood publicist, Michael Levine -- who knew Williams for 30 years -- noted that while he often talked about his depression publicly in an attempt to help others, he very much suffered in silence.
"Very few people in this world reach the level of fame Robin Williams did and could understand the type of depression he dealt with,” Levine added. “There tends to be a lack of compassion -- 'So what ,you’re famous' -- and it’s hard for people to then empathize. People like Robin often feel like they have to completely isolate themselves from the fishbowl they live in, and are so isolated they are afraid to ask for help."
It's not just "people like Robin," though who are prone to completely isolate themselves and suffer in in silence instead of asking for help. Few people understand the kind of deep, dark depression Williams suffered, and there always tends to be a certain lack of compassion. And while ther may be triggers for it. clinical depression doesn't depend of environmental factors; it's its own little bitch, relentless and remorseless. I've seen the effects of depression, and it is about as ugly as it gets. Those people suffere deep emotional pain as real as any physical pain, and those of us who have never had it just can't fathom it.
I've seen the effects of suicide on survivors, too. Williams probably killed more than one person when he hanged himself. His friends and family are going to be saddled with guilt for the rest of their lives over not seeing it coming and doing more to prevent it.