The death last Monday of the famous actor/comedian, Robin Williams has opened yet another opportunity to discuss depression.
Robin Williams had died from an apparent suicide last Monday morning (PT) at his Bay Area, CA home. He was 63. He was dealing with financial problems, and also was dealing with his cancelation of his TV show, The Crazy Ones, likely due to low overnight ratings. Other reports claim he was dealing with an onset of Parkinson’s (unable to confirm that here.) He was in many films from Jumanji (which apparently according to the Union Leader, was filmed in Southwest NH), Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, voiced over the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin , and many more movies and will appear in 6 more films ready to be released in the coming year. Older readers may recall him in the 70s TV series Mork & Mindy, which was the catalyst to his career.
Williams had said in the past he was dealing with depression and went into rehab 8 years ago. He dealt with drugs and alcohol. A month ago, it was confirmed he was going back into rehab, citing “tuning up” his sobriety. In any case it was likely too late, as something caused him to kill himself last week.
It would not be appropriate to discuss – or speculate why he did it nor mentioning if he was a coward or not to do that. I’d like to turn the focus on to the topical status of depression.
Whether or not depression is part of autism, or autism causes depression, or it’s a similar but different, or it’s caused genetically (like from your crazy uncle – literally) or not, the fact is depression and autism can go in tandem. There is no doubt about that, despite how many PhD hacks you talk to. Depression and ASD can be caused by various factors, becoming an adolescent, coming to a realization that you are “different” or just the poor execution of your support system’s ability to help you.
I know people who are in their late twenties in some level of depression. I myself have dealt with this on and off at least for the last 15 years. If you had followed this blog for the last few years, I’ve really held “the system” accountable for lot of the damages caused to me.
There is a taboo in the developmental disabled and the mental disorder community whether or not both practices should merge. Psychiatric, mental disorders and developmental disorders 3 different things traditionally. There are various methods in treating them, but they are all different. That doesn’t mean that they should come together or be recognized as dual issues. Because these disorders are so separate, the delivery system for services and support are separate. Whose to say someone with severe autism is also dealing with depression? Whose to say someone with Down’s could be bipolar? Also why are we so focused on the disorder and so worried about going to the right agency to get services or should I say the best services since in some areas, mental disorders and developmental disorders are handled by two different services?
Also its been a cliche all week long about how mental health services are not addressed properly. I’d go even further and say mental health services for people with autism are also limited too. In my area, there are a handful of psychologists that ether specialize in autism, or has a working knowledge of autism. (The other handful focuses on ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome, which I’m leaving out because people with AS can choose to not be a odd, weird talking liberal moonbat, and act like everyone else. Sorry I don’t respect people with AS.)
Despite the contrary, New Hampshire in the downstate region is part of the Greater Boston metro region, and even in the most world class cities in the world, this area and probably even the Mass. Merrimack Valley also lacks in mental health services for dual dx’d mental and developmentally ill clients. I blame part of the Boston snobbery that insists civility doesn’t exist north and west of I-495.
In closing, there needs to be a national discussion with trying to eliminate the stigma of depression; and another track to discuss why so many people with autism or other related disorders are falling into the cracks and why so many arrogant leaders are not realizing there is a depression problem with the autistic community. Especially in the twentysomething crowds, where many grew up in the dark ages of autism being a mysterious and unknown disorder and had parents not knowing where to go and school districts not putting focus on them. If we can’t take this opportunity to discuss this problem, there will be another tragedy that won’t get mentioned because they aren’t a celebrity.