Robin Williams’ suicide explained? A Moving Update: ‘I felt a hand …’

(HEADLINE HEALTH) A day after our coverage of the possible explanation for Robin Williams’ tragic death, we learned that Williams had a previous encounter with the subject of suicide.

We bring you that touching story here, and our original story published 1/3/2018 right below it …

When Robin Williams Comforted Me in the Airport After My Husband’s Suicide; ‘I felt a hand on my shoulder …’ 

(Kate Osher, TheMighty.com) On August 11, 2014, I was sitting with my kids playing when a text from a friend came in. It was heartbreaking news. Robin Williams was dead.

“He was a gentle soul. He made us laugh, and he made us cry. He was as kind as he was funny.”

Let me share a story I haven’t told anyone before — not my best friend, not my sister, not anyone. Because it is too precious to me. But now is the time.

After my husband died by suicide, I went on a travel quest, scattering his ashes where he requested and trying to piece my soul back together as best I could. I spent quite a bit of time flying.

It’s not always easy to get a Tupperware of ashes through TSA. At LAX one afternoon I found myself on the receiving end of an agent with a power trip like no other.

After threats telling me I was going to have to toss the ashes and me going ballistic and falling into hysterics, I made it to the airport bar crying and clutching my little container.

As I sat in a corner table facing the wall, I felt a hand on my shoulder.

A soft voice stated, “Miss, I saw what happened, and I just want to be sure you are OK.”

Through my tears I could place the voice but couldn’t actually believe Robin Williams would take the time to stop to see if I was OK.

And he said to me, “I’m so sorry for the pain you are in. But it sounds like you have family and friends and love. And that tips the scale a bit, right?”

He was a gentle soul. He made us laugh, and he made us cry. He was as kind as he was funny.

Rest in peace, Mr. Williams. Thanks for being there that day for me. You were the angel I needed. See the full post at TheMighty.com.

 

Science may have found the reason we lost the much-loved actor 

(HEADLINE HEALTH) Millions of fans have been puzzled about why beloved comedic actor Robin Williams would have taken his own life in 2014.

New research connects the dots between stress hormones and depression. Scientists say that stress can actually damage your DNA, and that these changes may lead to suicide.

Williams was wealthy, successful, popular, and in apparent good health.

Now science may have found ‘a possible culprit’ that not only explains this particular suicide, but may be at the root of many cases of depression and other health problems.

It turns out that stress causes cause genetic changes that may put people at a higher risk for suicide.

So if reducing your stress levels is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve made a great choice.

This fascinating article from the International Business Times may provide you with added incentive to keep this resolution and enjoy a safe, stress-free 2018.

 

Suicide Risk May Increase As Stress Changes Your Genes

(Elana Glowatz, International Business Times) Stress might cause genetic changes that put people at a higher risk for suicide.

PREVIOUSLY ON HEADLINE HEALTH: Forget Risky Rx; We Found 3 Safe Remedies That Are Proven Stress-Busters

The idea comes from a study in the journal EBioMedicine for which scientists compared blood samples from people who had attempted suicide and from adolescents at different risk levels for psychiatric illnesses.

They found evidence that people who had made the most serious suicide attempts and adolescents most at risk for their own mental health problems were both more likely to show changes caused by environmental factors to a gene called CRH.

The environmental factors the scientists referenced could include things like high levels of stress early in life.

Stress hormones linked to mental health 

According to the study, the genetic changes that the team observed fall in line with other research pointing to a certain stress system in the body as a possible culprit of mental illness — a system that is linked to CRH.

Some scientists have asserted that a dysregulation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a set of interactions in the body’s hormonal system that is activated as a response to stress, could be linked to mental health.

The CRH gene could play a role in that because of how it controls the production of corticotropin-releasing hormone, which triggers the axis.

Scientists found that when stress changes a gene linked to the body’s anxiety response, it could put someone at a higher risk of suicide and mental health issues.

“Since psychiatric illness is a serious and growing public health problem, it’s important that we take early signs of psychiatric illness and suicidal behaviour into consideration in suicide prevention,” study leader Jussi Jokinen said in a statement from Umeå University in Sweden.

“Our environment affects our genetic expression, which is usually referred to as epigenetic change. Even if we aren’t able to draw distinct parallels between the findings in these cohort studies, our results still point towards the importance of an optimal regulation of the stress system for psychiatric illness.”

This is not the only recent research that links the CRH gene to mental health issues like depression and suicide.

Another study found that low levels of a protein called KCC2 in the brains of pregnant women and new mothers might be linked to postpartum depression because KCC2 regulates the release of the CRH hormone.

Although the body has a mechanism for reducing stress during and after pregnancy, with less activity from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, women with postpartum depression may operate differently.

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Displayed with permission from International Business Times via Repubhub.