On Suicide and Mental Illness

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If I remember correctly I have addressed mental illness briefly in this blog after a tragedy.  I had hoped, in vain, that maybe, possible there would be a real discussion about the mental health issues in society.  Obviously, this is not the case.

People are still stigmatized by their mental illness.  People are still isolated.  Even the people who have access to the best medicine has to offer, are over powered by these diseases.  These diseases (and that is what they are: diseases- just the same as diabetes, asthma, cancer- and just as deadly) are powerful.

It is not cowardly to commit suicide (it is an act of desperation) it cowardly to call a sick person names and judge them.  The illnesses are powerful and scary, they can take over and rip lives apart.  The illness is in control not the individual.

A person with depression or mental illness has as much choice in the matter as someone with any chronic illness. Would you tell someone with kidney failure to just think positively, or to make their kidneys work?  No (and I certainly hope not). Then don't do it to someone with a mental illness.

Robin Williams was a genius, a gifted man.  Sadly, he was also a tortured soul as so many geniuses are.  His dramatic roles in (Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting are two of my favorites) changed lives.  His comedy was brilliant. He brought joy to so many people. He was able to reach into peoples hearts and touch them. The world has lost a great man.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
 Walt Whitman

Patch Adams and his character's suicidal feelings seem all that much more poignant now

She really is just a kid

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The kids have had to learn a lot of hard lessons about life since I was sick.

They have had to learn that sometimes even mothers get sick.  That sometimes as much as we want them too things just don't go as planned.   This summer has been great as I have not been sick much at all and have had lots of time to spend playing with kids and enjoying the summer.

A lot of times they are incredibly mature.  They are compassionate and empathetic to everyone.  Which, sometimes leads me to forget that they really are just little kids.

Then they do something that just reminds me that they really are just kids.  Most recently, this was the ice cream truck.

All of their maturity in the world goes right out the window the second they hear the ice cream truck.

The fun of childhood is pretty great.