Zak Williams, son of the late actor Robin Williams, has spoken up about his father, revealing information about the star’s struggles with mental illness. On Wednesday, the same day that Zak’s father celebrated his birthday, Zak participated in an interview for the podcast “The Genius Life.”
Lewy body disease is a rare condition that has symptoms that are similar to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Both Zak and the host of the podcast, Max Lugavere, have experienced the loss of a parent to this disease.
Williams took his own life in 2014, when he was 63 years old, and died. He had been given a diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease; however, an autopsy revealed that he suffered from Lewy body disease.
According to Zak, who is 38 years old, “what he was going through didn’t correspond one to one [with] the experience of many Parkinson’s patients.” “He felt frustrated.”
According to Zak, “he didn’t feel fantastic from a neurological standpoint. There was a focus difficulty, which annoyed him. There were challenges related to how he felt.” “There was just more anxiety and despair in addition to the things he was experiencing, and talking to me about that made me know that he was uncomfortable.”
According to Zak, “at least through the lens, I was looking through, what I observed was someone who was having difficulties doing his profession, and I could tell that this was incredibly annoying for him.” “When you’re a performer, it’s not just a matter of pride in what you’re doing—your it’s livelihood,” said one.
Susan Schneider Williams, Williams’ wife, penned a paper that was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology that explained her husband’s diagnosis of Lewy body dementia.
Robin Williams didn’t kill himself pic.twitter.com/YDQw6U6rX7
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She writes, “As you may know, my husband Robin Williams had the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease (LBD). He passed away from suicide in 2014 at the end of an intense, confusing, and relatively swift persecution at the hand of this disease’s symptoms and pathology,” and she mentions that the disease caused him to be persecuted by the symptoms and pathology of the disease.
She stated that Williams had several symptoms, some of which came and went, one of which was a minor tremor in his left hand. She added that the symptoms that a person displayed first determined whether or not they were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or Lewy body disease.
Williams was first given a diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease because he exhibited physical symptoms of the condition.
“Prior history can further confuse a diagnosis,” Susan adds, adding that Williams had a history of depression that had not been active for six years but returned a few months before he passed away. “Prior history can also complicate a diagnosis,” Susan says.
Robin Williams didn't kill himself. pic.twitter.com/JLXs1HfTdB
— Cherrelle (@LoyalToSpeakOut) August 21, 2020
According to the Mayo Clinic, those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease frequently have several alterations in the brain.
The presence of Lewy bodies, which are clumps of certain compounds found inside brain cells and are microscopic markers of Parkinson’s disease, is one of the probable changes that could take place.
Researchers think that the presence of Lewy bodies could provide some insight into what causes Parkinson’s disease. On the other hand, Lewy bodies can potentially produce a form of dementia known as Lewy body dementia. An autopsy performed three months after Williams’ passing revealed that he did not have Parkinson’s disease as previously believed.
She argues that “clinically he had PD, but pathologically he had diffuse LBD.” The pathology more than backed up that the major symptoms Robin had were not physical. Regardless of how you look at it—the presence of Lewy’s bodies cost his life.”
According to Zak, receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease marked the beginning of “a period for him of tremendous searching and frustration.”
“I really wanted to be there for him on a daily basis because it can be incredibly isolating, even if you’re among family and loved ones,” Zak said. “I wanted to be there for him because it can be really isolating.”
In addition, he discussed how the death of his father via suicide had an effect on his own mental health. He explained, “I was using alcohol as a form of self-medication to get over the traumatic experience.” After the passing of his father, Zak reported consulting a physician and being given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
He stated that he participated in a 12-step program as well as group therapy sessions. He explained his decision by saying, “I was just sick and weary of trying to rehabilitate myself via dangerous measures.”
In addition to this, he discussed the stigma that is associated with mental health, particularly for men. He stated, “I think many [guys] feel lonely; many don’t have the outlets needed,” and he added that many lack access to cheap mental health facilities. “I think many [men] feel isolated; many don’t have the outlets needed,” he said.
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Zak started doing volunteer work for groups that focus on mental health, such as Bring Change 2 Mind. This organization produces youth programs and engages in multi-media campaigns in order to foster talks about mental health.
“I really found myself committing time to mental health activism as a form of healing that trauma,” he added. “I think it’s important for people to talk about these issues.” “It was incredibly therapeutic for me,” I said.
On Wednesday, Zak used Instagram to wish his father a happy birthday and shared the post with his followers. He said, “Dad, on what would have been your 70th birthday, I would want you to know that your wonderful spirit lives inside us,” and he sent the letter to his father. “Dad, on what would have been your birthday,” Our family will be honoring you and your memory today, and we want you to know how much we love and miss you forever!
On August 11, 2014, the devastating news that Robin Williams had committed suicide rocked the entire world.
The actor, who is best remembered for his work in Mrs. Doubtfire and Good Will Hunting, was a household name in the entertainment industry and was renowned throughout the world for his wit and humor.
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