Robin Williams

 It is truly heartbreaking. For me.

…Just another one in the million or so blog posts about him, but I’ll make it brief. I wasn’t going to say anything at all, but then I heard an interview with a “mental health professional” on NPR just a bit ago during a round-tripper to the market.

“Nobody should feel they have a right to commit suicide.”

Juxtaposed, when I shared the news on Facebook two days ago, I said: “Damn. Well, everyone gets to do what they want to do.”

But, you see, “mental health professionals” are “troubled” about the “discussion.” Suicide—especially of high-ranking humans with access to everything these “Pros” have to “offer”—exposes their utter impotence and fraud. Fuck ’em. The sorry state of modern mental health is at their doorstep, number one; and number two, almost all they ever wanted to do was make money in perpetuity at your expense. Fuck ’em for a second time.

Suicide is every human being’s rightful option 100% of the time—wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. In fact, humans are the only animal in nature—that I’m aware of—with the capacity to consciously commit suicide.

Beached whales are probably just confused.

My take? A very complex man, an incalculable soul. They don’t so much fit in in a McDonald’s world where there’s 20 menu items that you can order by number.

He probably witnessed the intransigence of human, rat-race-banality way up closer and for a lot longer than I.

That is all.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Dan on August 13, 2014 at 20:05

    I encourage people to watch this, a tribute and insight that I was left thinking, wow, just wow. An hr of your time to hear a perspective you wont get in many places.

    You’re spot on re mental health. A fucked up child hood, mental health “professionals”, women ripping chunks of him, drugs etc etc, a story that will continue to repeat itself.

  2. elmo on August 13, 2014 at 19:21

    i disagree.

  3. Richard Nikoley on August 13, 2014 at 19:45

    “i disagree.”

    …And I should give a flying fuck what your pea “thinks” where a brain normally resides, why?

    • elmo on August 13, 2014 at 20:12

      haha, i thought that’d piss you off.

      i disagree with most of what you said there but i was referring to a Bob Newhart episode where they were trying to decide town matters and just when they thought they had things settled a voice from the back of the room would shout “i disagree”.

      i care not a whit about Robin Williams.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 13, 2014 at 20:54

      Ok, cool you got me and while you may not care about him, I do.

      I can’t see that appreciating the work of Williams is an irrational value. I shit on a lot of values people hold, but steer clear of rational ones, and simple preferences.

  4. Michael44 on August 13, 2014 at 20:08

    Spot on Richard

    “Nobody should feel they have a right to commit suicide.” –

    I’m glad I’m not a client of that mental health professional.

    I heard on the radio yesterday someone say that there is no correlation between people seen to be at high risk of suicide who actually go onto committing suiceide. What I mean is that apparently there are plenty of “low suicide risk” people who actually go onto commit suicide. now, I don’t know if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me.mmmm apparently psychiatrists are a higher risk of committing suicide than the general public – doctoer heal thyself…….

    And Robyn Williams will be missed by millions. Sometimes one of a kind is overused, but he was definitely one of a kind.

    My favourite role of his is in Dead Poets Society. Brilliant serious actor and comedian in one.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on August 13, 2014 at 21:30

      fire that shrink!

      “no right to suicide” sounds very puritanical or catholic to me.

      although i wonder his choice of method.

    • Bret on August 14, 2014 at 23:53

      “Nobody should feel they have a right to commit suicide.” –

      I’m glad I’m not a client of that mental health professional.

      Same here, Michael. Reminds me of dietitians, personal trainers, etc who tell their clients the problem is their will power, i.e. their personal character. If they weren’t so weak, self-centered, and naughty all around, then they would find success in life. Success according to those same ultra wise professionals, that is.

      (Credit to Tom Naughton for the words used here, whose own thoughts I would otherwise be shamefully ripping off. On nearly every topic he discusses, he articulates so brilliantly that it is difficult to be unique.)

      So called professionals such as the one you and Richard quoted can take their “should” and shove it up their asses. And they can be grateful to their state and local governments for regulating the business of life advice so tightly–against the First Amendment, I might add–that they face insufficient competition to be run out of business by more imaginative, more empathetic, and altogether more intelligent people.

      And on that note, I am going to put on the movie Hook as I fall asleep, and from it learn to appreciate both my imagination and my family, for what limited time I have with both.

  5. Duck Dodgers on August 14, 2014 at 10:12

    Ugh… Robin Williams went Vegan in 2009.

    Apparently some people’s anxiety can worsen from a vegan lifestyle.

    • Gina on August 14, 2014 at 11:05

      I find this unsurprising, but it’s totally preventable. Omega-3 fats are very important for mental health, and most vegans have a terrible omega-6/omega-3 ratio. Low B-12 status is also linked to depression, and, sadly, most vegetarians and vegans have not gotten the memo on supplementing if they don’t consume enough fortified foods (or drink untreated water).

      Fellow vegans, please pop a B-12, avoid seed oils and sprinkle some ground flax on your oatmeal!

    • Patricia on August 14, 2014 at 12:26

      That explains a lot. Robin wasn’t tall–I think he was five-eight–but he was pretty muscular. He was an athlete in high school and if you ever saw him move around on stage he had that fluid grace that a natural athlete has (as a lifelong klutz I envy people like that; I trip over cracks in the sidewalk). The last few years, though, he looked scrawny. I attributed that to age even though he wasn’t that old, but now it makes sense to learn he was vegan. But no, veganism will never be blamed as a factor. It never is–everyone knows it’s healthy! /sarcasm

    • Bret on August 15, 2014 at 00:49

      The vegan propaganda makes me angry. On the one hand, I must respect people’s right to choose their own lifestyle, but on the other, the strategy is so full of logical and factual holes it’s not even funny.

      I know a guy who is a fairly strict vegetarian. He is a nice fellow and easy to get along with, but I have also noticed he obviously lacks energy, is unmotivated to do stuff by and large, doesn’t sleep well, and appears to be subject to inordinate pauses of mental struggle before making a contribution to a conversation/answering a question.

      These could all be coincidences (I am trying really hard to resist the bullshit cause-and-effect analysis that I often accuse others of), but I am suspicious. I cannot recall meeting or knowing a vegan or strict vegetarian who did not have some sort of problem or handicap on the mental front.

      It makes me sad to wonder how things might have been different for RW if he had been exposed to better dietary advice.

    • Janie Sanchez on October 29, 2014 at 10:26

      Have you ever heard of the vegetarian Albert Einstein? Or the vegetarian Leonardo da Vinci?

  6. Regina on August 13, 2014 at 20:13


    Even when I was a little kid, I can remember our family talking in hushed tones because an acquaintance of one of my brothers shot himself. They talked of “mortal” sin, blah blah. Even then, I thought to myself that (self I says) he has right to do whatever the hell he wants to himself. He didn’t want to be here. Period.

    I’m wiped out over Robin Williams. So sad to learn how much he was suffering.

  7. Michael44 on August 13, 2014 at 20:20

    Clarifiaction. I meant to say that psychiatrists commit suicide at a higher rate than the general populous -pretty widely known of course.

    2nd clarification. What I meant by recounting that there may be no correlation between those seen to be at high risk of suicide (by health professionals), compared to those who actually do attempt to suicide, is to show that it seems the mental health profession don’t have much of a clue as to who is likely to commit suicide (after 100 years of psychiatry, and it seems they still don’t have much of a clue? WTF.

    I hope I made some sense. Message to myself – try and write clearer posts in future!

    • Itchy Wmd on August 14, 2014 at 13:29

      An interesting anecdote about a former psychiatrist that I used to see about my depression.

      I don’t recall what I said to get this response, but its very relevant to the conversation.

      She asked me once, “Why do you think people become psychiatrists or psychologists?”

      I said I wasn’t sure.

      “Well we took different paths, but at the end of the day we ended up in the same room together didn’t we?”

      I understood immediately.

      She was an amazing help to me and was always thinking way outside the box. Unlike most of the professionals that I’ve talked to in either measure…

  8. Jonathan on August 13, 2014 at 20:24

    Everyone should have the right to suicide but NOONE should feel the need.

    I’ve suffered from clinical depression myself and I can say 100% that if you haven’t experienced it then you have absolutely no idea what it’s like and what causes it.

    Everyone points to the psychological reasoning behind why people become depressed yet few people acknowledge the physiological reasons.

    The brain is our most complex organ and very vulnerable to our lifestyle. Diabetes, heart disease and cancer are all much much more prevalent than 100 years ago and yet we somehow assume that the software of the brain is at fault and not the hardware.

    From my experience and research depression is almost entirely a physiological condition that is made worse by unhealthy psychology.

    As an example of how this plays out in real life I’ll give an example of one of my experiences:

    I suffer from CF and have a very low life expectancy. I have my highs and lows (I’m thankfully very well but I still have my lows) with this condition. I remember one particular low afternoon where I confronted my mortality, accepting that I would probably die within 5 years. I was very down and it wasn’t a pleasant experience to say the least.

    Now this happened about 2 years after I cured myself from depression. How did this experience compare to when I had depression? How much lower was my mood when facing my mortality relative to when I had depression?

    The answer is I wasn’t, the experience above was a walk in the park compared to the depression I felt when I had clinical depression. When I had depression I couldn’t let any of my thoughts turn negative or else I would spiral out of control and into a deep fog of depression that would last hours. I would contemplate suicide, my self esteem would be as low as it could get and I would feel helpless.

    Now I can explore any thought I want, I can spend an hour ruminating about everything that sucks in my life and still feel pretty good half an hour later. Try explain that with psychology!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 13, 2014 at 21:02

      As with pretty much everything, problems ensue when something is banned, declared a sin, regarded as taboo.

      Everyone ought spend so e time frankly considering under what conditions they would choose to live no longer and how they might go about it.

      I have.

      For one, it would never be a display and nobody but a professional would find the body.

      Never. No show.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on August 13, 2014 at 21:55


      depression is caused by physiological causes?
      interesting idea! maybe it’s true.

      i don’t know when “feeling depressed” crosses the line & becomes “depression” (as an ailment).
      people get depressed at times but “depression” as seems totally something else. & i suspect professionals don’t know much either.

      most MDs & shrinks are clueless about how to cure it. actually most people (including well meaning friends, family) are clueless too.

      stay well,

    • Richard Nikoley on August 13, 2014 at 22:16

      I think he’s right. Physiological, and there’s 100 trillion gut bugs pumping out compounds, I snowflake difference in proportion and species amongst individuals who might have a say in the matter, too.

    • Duck Dodgers on August 14, 2014 at 07:43

      Well, it’s not exactly science fiction.


      From: American Psychological Association: That gut feeling

      With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head, new research suggests…

      …Gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity…

      …Lyte, in a 2011 BioEssays paper, proposed a neurochemical “delivery system” by which gut bacteria, such as probiotics, can send messages to the brain. Gut bacteria both produce and respond to the same neurochemicals—such as GABA, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine and melatonin—that the brain uses to regulate mood and cognition. Such neurochemicals probably allow the brain to tune its behavior to the feedback it receives from the army of bacteria in the gut.

      You can buy those neurochemicals in the pharmacy, or you can get your gut bugs to make them for you. Either way, the compounds are synthesized by bacteria. Go figure.

  9. Resurgent on August 13, 2014 at 22:12

    Respect your thoughts, Richard.

    Yes.. Robin Williams suicide is significant. The mental health professionals are perhaps one of the reason we are seeing more of these tragedies. These so called ‘professionals’ are here to maintain status quo – they are not here to allow a revolution of unique and smart minds. They want you to remain a slave of dogma, of religion, of politics and deviation from their norm becomes a mental disease.

    You are right – animals do not commit suicide; animals are not aware of life and similarly they are unaware of death, so a suicide in animals becomes meaningless.

    May he rest in peace.. forever..!

    • Lomax Zoltor on August 14, 2014 at 14:19

      I highly doubt we’re the only animals that are aware of our own existence. Both dolphins and elephants show an understanding of both life and death. For example, the elephant graveyards in Africa or:

      Anyway, you or anybody else can’t proclaim that non-human animals don’t commit suicide without being able to get in their brains and know what they’re thinking.

    • Resurgent on August 14, 2014 at 21:57


      I am not condemnatory towards animals.! Just saying that they do not possess the awareness of life and death.
      Perhaps you are confusing instinct with consciousness.
      I will be curious to know how do you think otherwise.

  10. Barbara on August 14, 2014 at 05:26

    James Hillman wrote a GREAT book titled “We’ve Had 100 Years of Psychotherapy – And the World’s Getting Worse.” The “mental health professional” noted above is certainly the perfect example of what Hillman meant. Whenever I hear/read this kind of judgmental bowlderdash I know the speaker has never experienced clinical depression – and has no idea the pain the depressed lives in. I hold that “helping professional” in disdain.

  11. Brian on August 14, 2014 at 05:39

    One thing that drives me absolutely crazy with discussion around depression is that no one ever talks about improving a diet, especially fats, to help reduce symptoms. Of course we can give all the money we want to the pharma industry. For they have all the answers. Maybe we need meds in the short-term, but everything seems to think they are a long-term solution.

    • Richard S on August 14, 2014 at 12:46

      Exercise, diet, sleep, social connection, sense of purpose, spirituality (however personally defined) – all targets of intervention show to be at least as effective as antidepressants.

      There is a lot of good mental health service out there, also a lot of crap, especially on the pharma side, but to be honest, a lot of you are overestimating the challenge of preventing suicide.

      The “freedom” to choose suicide in the libertarian sense is bogus to me. There are depths of depression that cloud judgement beyond the point of “rational” decision making.

      Richard S.
      neuropsychologist and depression researcher

    • Richard S on August 14, 2014 at 12:47

      Dang – I meant “UNDERestimating” the challenge of preventing suicide

    • Bret on August 15, 2014 at 00:06

      But Brian, if we tell them to eat more fats, then they’ll contract heart disease! Then we’ll surely have hurt them more than helped. 😉

      It’s 2014, I know, but the vast majority of both the shepherds and the sheep in our midst are still convinced that the state religion is feeding them good advice.

      Despite examples of the media promisingly beginning to discuss the emperor’s patent genitals, I would not expect to see significant promulgation of the overt advice to eat more unprocessed fats for another decade, five years minimum (and I feel even that is ridiculously optimistic).

      Hopefully, by then the mainstream of academia, science, medicine, the media, and society in general will not have relapsed into Atkins-style VLC/ZC dogma. Perhaps we can find a way to be just crazy enough to appreciate fat, starch, and every other naturally occurring food–including ‘weird’ foods like offal and tiger nuts–and pin the blame where it belongs on all the highly processed junk.

  12. John D on August 14, 2014 at 06:12

    Richard: My brother Tom died the same way Robin did, about a year ago. He also suffered in much the same way over a long period of time. Tom was 59, he lived with me at the time. As a matter of fact his death led me accidentally to your site, as I have been researching the role of gut dysfunction (and permeability) as a critical aspect of mental health ever since. Interestingly there is a new vanguard of explorers in Psychiatric Medicine who are focusing on the gut/brain connection. I suspect we will know a lot more in the coming years but it appears the epidemic of suicide we are seeing may to some extent be caused or precipitated or exacerbated by three events: consuming standard american diet, triggering gut dysfunction and permeability of gut and brain barrier; onset of initial mental health issues such as anger, poor socialization, add, depression, etc; and psychiatric pharmaceutical intervention which we now know increases suicidal ideation.

    I have seen enough cases where intervention in gut health changes behavior to know this is a big deal.

    Anyone who is chronically angry or depressed is dealing with a physical health issue first and foremost, it appears.

  13. Gina on August 14, 2014 at 06:14

    I am now even more firmly entrenched in my belief that the best thing for suicide prevention is to avoid mental health professionals, psychiatric medications and 12-step programs. Williams went back to Hazelden (the supposed best rehab in the country) this year and is now on the very long list of celebrities who died shortly after a rehab stint, either due to overdose or overt suicide.

    The late Seth Roberts put forth much better options for treating depression in ways that are safe and inexpensive. Anyone suffering mood problems should probably check out the posts tagged “mood disorders” on his blog.

    • rob on August 14, 2014 at 08:53

      But for psychiatric medications and mental health professionals I would cease to exist within the next 18 months.

    • Harriet on August 14, 2014 at 17:14

      If I had stayed with the psychiatric medications and mental health professionals I would have ceased to exist within 18 days.

    • Heidi on August 15, 2014 at 08:12

      ive had very bad experiences with them. i dont trust them at all.

  14. sassy on August 14, 2014 at 06:45

    I’m 60 years old. Amongst people I’ve personally known that have died, suicide is far and away the most common cause. That includes my sister. I can’t say I’ve ever had a suicidal thought or been really depressed for very long. I don’t take the shit of life seriously or personally – I guess maybe a saving grace for me?? More than anything, probably just damn lucky. I can’t possibly know what that dark place must be like and I have no theories or cures.

  15. Patricia on August 14, 2014 at 06:57

    Robin Williams was always very open about his various issues, and when I heard about his suicide I was saddened … but not surprised. I’m also not surprised at the millions of armchair psychiatrists that have come out of the woodwork over it.

    No one has the right to commit suicide? Three words–World Trade Center. I guess it was better for all those people to slowly and painfully roast or smother to death rather than to say “fuck it, I’m dead one way or another” and jump. Notice that the media always says “they fell” and not “they jumped.”

    • Bret on August 15, 2014 at 00:12

      Not trying to be contrarian, Patricia, but I can’t fault the media for preferring ‘fell’ over ‘jumped,’ for the simple reason that there’s not any evidence (that I am aware of at least) that they jumped on purpose.

      They might have been sticking their heads out the windows, gasping for air, and pushed out by others behind them trying to do the same. Or maybe inching further and further out to escape the unimaginably horrible heat, until they went too far, perhaps in a state of delirium.

      It’s all speculation, I know, and that is all the more reason why I find it more appropriate to use the word ‘fell.’ Just a humble opinion.

      With that said, I completely agree with your point, that people have the right to direct their own life in whatever way they choose, including suicide. Anything else, as Penn and Teller might say, is bullshit.

    • Patricia on August 15, 2014 at 09:47

      I won’t deny that getting pushed out or falling out unintentionally might have been some people’s fate, but a lot of the jumps were deliberate. There were people who were photographed holding hands on the way down. As someone who’s not unfamiliar with falling, I can say that the first instinct when you feel yourself going is to try to shift your center of gravity backwards as fast as you can. I didn’t see too much of that on that day.

    • elmo on August 15, 2014 at 21:37

      What do you think happened – they jumped or they fell?

  16. rob on August 14, 2014 at 08:51

    I’ve been dealing with clinical depression since 1981, my reaction to Robin’s death was to feel really good about him for having hung in there until the age of 63, it was no small achievement. I feel pretty good about myself for having made it to 52 and he went 11 years beyond that.

    • Harriet on August 14, 2014 at 17:18

      Don’t give up hope rob. I was depressed from the age of 3 until just over 60 – sometimes mild, sometimes severe. Then it lifted – a combination of diet and 5 HTP. It hasn’t come back in 2 years since.

    • Harriet on August 14, 2014 at 17:20

      Clarification: the depression lifted with the diet and 5 HTP. After a couple of years on 5 HTP I was able to stop it 2 years ago. I continue with the paleo diet modified with RS.

    • Bret on August 15, 2014 at 00:40

      Rob, I am glad that you are here, both in this world and at this blog. I know that might sound cliché, but I mean it. I think this blog is so wonderfully unique and uniquely wonderful. The untrained eye might mistake the occasional abrasiveness for a lack of compassion and genuineness, but I see it as the complete opposite.

      While the faceless nature of blogging/commenting is certainly a disadvantage in many respects, it also peels away any disincentive to be relentlessly honest, at least for me, and I would venture to guess the same for you too, given your openness and honesty on what you just described.

      I look forward to chatting with you here for another 52 years, man, and maybe more.

  17. Energy! on August 14, 2014 at 13:38

    There’s no doubt in my mind depression and many if not most mental illnesses have a dietary aspect. It may be relatively minor or it may be huge, it depends. Though I never had major depression, any degree of it is awful, especially if you can’t get rid of it. Every dietary change I’ve found to improve a down mood has also improved everything else…energy level, focus, weight control, etc. It’s all connected, and the gut is definitely a major player. It’s sad that most people, including a wonderful man like Robin Williams never hear about the nutritional connection. Or worse, they hear the wrong thing. I know several people who have or are ruining their health with vegan, macrobiotic, or other illogical, useless regimes. Sad.

  18. sassy on August 15, 2014 at 04:43

    No doubt that diet effects all aspects of health, but many of the habits of being a vegan or vegetarian are not that far removed from a ‘paleo’
    diet. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, legumes, ect…….(probably lots of RS)

    Plus, people that label themselves as vegan or vegetarian are probably extremely health conscious and eat a diet that is WAY better than the SAD.

    Equating veganism as having much to do with William’s suicide is stretching the bounds of reason!

    And no, I’m not a vegan!

    • Gina on August 15, 2014 at 05:14

      Thank you for that, sassy!

      Turns out he had Parkinson’s.

    • Dan on August 15, 2014 at 05:23

      suggesting its not a contributing factor to mental health is also outside the bounds of reason. 90% of this blog is around the complexities of human health.

      Playing we veganism is playing with fire.

  19. sassy on August 15, 2014 at 05:57

    Lighten up Dan.

    Reread my post. What did the first sentence say?

    Of course diet effects things.

    I’m on the same blog as you are!

    • Dan on August 15, 2014 at 15:14

      Well if you must, lets point out the error in your logic.
      “No doubt that diet effects all aspects of health, but many of the habits of being a vegan or vegetarian are not that far removed from a ‘paleo’
      diet. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, legumes, ect…….(probably lots of RS)”

      So if you eat “Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, legumes, ect” it doesn’t matter what else you eat or don’t eat?

      You’re suggesting that a vegan diet has crossover with a paleo-esque diet therefore what exactly?

      I put it to you that by your same logic the crossover between a SAD diet and a paleo-esque diet (there is some meat in a hambuger…) makes a SAD diet and a Vegan diet on the same footing in terms of health.

      Its that narrative im not lightening up about sorry. A vegan diet may or may not be healthier than a SAD diet (plenty of variables) but that doesn’t make it healthy…and you can’t rule out the effects of a vegan diet on mental health, the pieces are right there…

  20. Michael44 on August 15, 2014 at 20:06

    Hey Bret.

    You said – “And they can be grateful to their state and local governments for regulating the business of life advice so tightly–against the First Amendment, I might add–that they face insufficient competition to be run out of business by more imaginative, more empathetic, and altogether more intelligent people.”

    Yep, aren’t they lucky that they’re actually not measured on performance like a lot of us are.

    Just imagine if “health”professionals actually had to obtain KPI”s like so many of the rest of us do. Yeah, how about a little KPI such as “cure rate obtained”??? Oh no though, we can’t have medical doctors actually being measured on performance, can we?? Heaven forbid that the truth may come out into the open. Why why won’t/don’t more people wake up to this?…although, having said that, more people are actually waking up to this.

    ….I didn’t know Robyn was vegan. Well, that explains at least some of his issues to me. What a waste….

    Heres the ABC CATALYST special on gut microbes and health that was just aired on Australian tv. I haven’t watched it myself , but it’s good to see at leat some of this info getting onto MSM.

    ps. Just a reminder that it was Catalyst that brought out a programme a while back which questioned the role of cholesterol in heart disease, and they later were ordered to pull the programs if I remember correctly.

    Here was Richard’s take on the situation –

  21. Michael44 on August 15, 2014 at 20:15
  22. Michael44 on August 15, 2014 at 20:16
  23. elmo on August 15, 2014 at 21:40

    is it true he was a jerkin his turkey?

    • Joe on August 20, 2014 at 06:43

      Ahh, didn’t get enough reaction from your first comment did you. Go on, get back under that bridge

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