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Robin Williams (dementia trigger warning)
3/11/2009 10:22 am
From Swedesboro, NJ
Posts: 46
Random I know, but came across this today. I wasn't aware that he had a degenerative brain disease and I've never even heard of "Lewy Body" until today.

Pretty gut-wrenching stuff. He, essentially, was completely aware that he was losing his mind and it absolutely devastated him.

The first article from the Post pulls a lot from the letter his wife wrote at the second link.

https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/how-an-i ... obin-williams-final-days/


Lewy body is the second-most common progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike Alzheimer’s, in which sufferers have issues forming new memories, people with Lewy body dementia can form new memories but have a hard time retrieving them. It’s as if the very essence of Williams was still there — he just could no longer access it.

“He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day. It was horrible. Horrible,” makeup artist Cheri Minns recalled. “He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri. I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny.’ ”

(Billy) Crystal described seeing his old friend after a four-month absence, finding him frail, skinny and, most disconcerting, “uncharacteristically quiet.” When they said their goodbyes after dinner, Williams burst into tears.

“What’s the matter?” Crystal asked.

“Oh, I’m just so happy to see you. It’s been too long. You know I love you,” Williams said.

“I never heard him afraid like that before,” Crystal said. “This was the boldest comedian I ever met — the boldest artist I ever met. But this was just a scared man.”

No one can truly understand what Williams faced during those final days, but Crystal provides some insight into what it must have been like for such a high-functioning mind to unravel so violently.

“I put myself in his place. Think of it this way: The speed at which the comedy came is the speed at which the terrors came,” Crystal said. “And all that they described that can happen with this psychosis, if that’s the right word — the hallucinations, the images, the terror — coming at the speed his comedy came at, maybe even faster, I can’t imagine living like that.”

An excerpt from his wife:

While I was on a photo shoot at Phoenix Lake, capturing scenes to paint, he called several times. He was very concerned with insecurities he was having about himself and interactions with others. We went over every detail. The fears were unfounded and I could not convince him otherwise. I was powerless in helping him see his own brilliance.

For the first time, my own reasoning had no effect in helping my husband find the light through the tunnels of his fear. I felt his disbelief in the truths I was saying. My heart and my hope were shattered temporarily. We had reached a place we had never been before. My husband was trapped in the twisted architecture of his neurons and no matter what I did I could not pull him out.

In early May, the movie wrapped and he came home from Vancouver—like a 747 airplane coming in with no landing gear. I have since learned that people with LBD who are highly intelligent may appear to be okay for longer initially, but then, it is as though the dam suddenly breaks and they cannot hold it back anymore. In Robin's case, on top of being a genius, he was a Julliard-trained actor. I will never know the true depth of his suffering, nor just how hard he was fighting. But from where I stood, I saw the bravest man in the world playing the hardest role of his life.

Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of, or understand? Neither he, nor anyone could stop it—no amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.

Posted on: 5/7 12:16 pm
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Re: Robin Williams (dementia trigger warning)
Grant Ave. Warrior
1/17/2011 8:42 pm
Posts: 1102
So, so sad. It's somewhat like drowning, knowing you are one inch away from oxygen and there's nothing that can be done to save you. Must have just been horrible on so many levels.

Posted on: 5/7 3:19 pm
Individuality, liberty, property — this is man. Frederic Bastiat
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