Several months ago we lost Robin Williams. We continue to miss him, and to wonder why he is gone.
Robin Williams loved the troops, and took part in USO tours for more than ten years. He delighted and inspired men and women serving his country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.
As beloved as he was by most Americans, Robin was even more adored by the military. The Commander-in-Chief offered comments on their behalf when the news came of his tragic death.
Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.
He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.
Mr. Williams is gone, but much of him continues to touch our lives through his work. Many of our patients continue to openly grieve his loss, but we suspect everyone misses him.
Shortly after Robin Williams died Dr. Mark George of the MUSC Brain Stimulation Lab delivered a lecture to a packed house at Neurology Grand Rounds. Although his remarks had been prepared before news of the suicide came, what Dr. George said could not have been more timely.
Probably the most important thing to realize about depression is the fact that it is a brain disease. This is vital information to anyone suffering from depression, and to anyone concerned about this heartbreaking illness.
Eighty percent of people who commit suicide have depression or bipolar depression. Even though there is much more to learn, we continue to improve in our understanding on these illnesses, and treatments become more and more effective.
Help is available!
Robin will be loved as long as his work survives. We continue to hope that his death will provide all of us with a long series of teachable moments.