Throughout his legendary career, Robin Williams was revered as both a comedic genius and a masterful dramatic actor. He will always be remembered for his electrifying performances in Dead Poets Society, Mrs. Doubtfire, The bird cage, Goodwill hunting, and many more movies. Tragically, in 2014, after battling deteriorating mental health and a puzzling set of physical symptoms, Williams died by suicide at the age of 63. The actor’s untimely death shook Hollywood and devastated fans, but also left behind a grieving woman, Susan Schneider-Williamsand Williams’ three children previous marriages.
Two years after his death, Schneider Williams writes a sincere letter scientists working to advance research on neurological disorders. In it, she revealed that Williams hid something from her during her illness. Read on to find out what heartbreaking symptom Williams endured alone.
In the fall of 2013, Williams began experiencing “a storm of symptoms,” Schneider Williams recalled. At the time, they seemed unrelated and included “constipation, difficulty urinating, heartburn, insomnia and insomnia, as well as a bad sense of smell– and a lot of stress. He also had a slight tremor in his left hand that moved back and forth,” she wrote.
Over time, the star also began to experience marked changes in her mental health, displaying periodic “spikes” of anxiety, delusions, paranoia, insomnia and fear. In May of that year, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, although his family later learned it was a wrong diagnosis.
“It was not until the coroner’s report, three months after his death, that I learned that it was diffuse LBD [Lewy body dementia] who took it,” Schneider Williams explained. “The four doctors I subsequently met who had reviewed his records said it was one of the worst conditions they had seen. .”
Schneider Williams says that at the end of each day, the couple shared their ups and downs. “We were discussing our joys and our triumphs, our fears and our insecurities, and our concerns,” she explained in her letter. This meant that as time passed and the actor’s symptoms worsened, they spent long hours discussing how they were affecting him.
However, Schneider Williams believes her husband hid something from her in the months leading up to his suicide: a particular symptom that she believes he couldn’t bring himself to share.
“Throughout Robin’s battle he had experienced almost all of the 40 symptoms of LBD except for one. He never said he was hallucinating,” she wrote. “A year after he left, speaking with one of the doctors who reviewed his records, it became clear that he was most likely hallucinating, but keeping it to himself.”
It was only after her death that Schneider Williams realized that her husband was probably had suffered from hallucinations. In her letter, she shared a heartbreaking memory that suggested the Julliard-trained actor played down his symptoms for the sake of his family.
“When we were in the neurologist’s office…Robin got to ask some burning questions. He asked, ‘Do I have Alzheimer’s disease? Dementia? Am I schizophrenic?’ The answers were the best we could have gotten: no, no, no. There were no indications of these other illnesses,” she recalls. “It now appears to me that he most likely kept the depth of his symptoms to himself,” Schneider Williams wrote.
For more health news delivered straight to your inbox, Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Although she says it was distressing not to have clearer answers, Williams’ widow doubts the actor’s life could have been saved by a diagnosis. “Even though we felt a certain level of comfort knowing the name and a fleeting hope of temporary comfort with the drugs, the terrorist was still going to kill him,” she wrote. “There is no cure and Robin’s steep and rapid decline was certain. It was like he was drowning in his symptoms, and I was drowning with him.”
Schneider Williams now sits on the board of directors of the American Brain Foundation, and works to raise awareness of the neurological disorder that claimed her husband’s life. In concluding her letter, she explicitly addressed the researchers, imploring them to continue their important work: “This is where you enter history. I hope this sharing of our experience will inspire you to transform Robin’s suffering into something meaningful through your work and wisdom,” she wrote. “I am confident that when healing comes from the experience of Robin, he will not have fought and died in vain.
“I’m sure at times progress has been painfully slow. Don’t give up. Believe that a cascade of cures and discoveries are imminent in all areas of brain disease and you will help make it happen,” he said. writes Schneider Williams. “If only Robin could have met you. He would have loved you.”
#Robin #Williams #wife #dementia #symptom #hid #Life