It is not surprising that the best thing I’ve read on the recent death of Robin Williams comes from Andrew Solomon:
Suicide is not a casual behavior; for all that it may entail impulsivity, it is also a profound and momentous step for which many people don’t have the force of will. At one level, the suicide of young people is obviously more tragic than the suicide of older people; youths have more of life ahead of them, more of a chance to work things out. At another level, middle-aged suicide—the vanquishing of someone who has fought off the urge for decades—is especially catastrophic. It implies the defeated acknowledgment that if things aren’t better by now, they won’t be getting better. Robin Williams’s suicide was not the self-indulgent act of someone without enough fortitude to fight back against his own demons; it was, rather, an act of despair committed by someone who knew, rightly or wrongly, that such a fight could never be won.