Sunday, August 24, 2014

Old News

I heard the news of Robin Williams death while I was on vacation.

Good people die when I'm on vacation.

I'll never forget hearing about Princess Diana's death; sitting by the front window in my father in laws cottage; rocking Evan to sleep.  And it's not only 'celebrity' good people that die while I'm away.  People I've known practically my whole life; people who have shaped me and nurtured me have all passed while I've been away.  I've come almost to expect some kind of sad news.

The news of Robin Williams death was a shock.  It's always a shock when someone takes their life.  Immediately the news catapulted me to the moment I heard of my own brothers passing.  I thought of Robins family and how they might be taking the news.  Then my thoughts turned to how easy it was for him to be silly and cultivate laughs in others.  He made it his lifes work to make others happy even and I'm guessing especially when he himself was having a hard time getting out of bed.  I thought about what kind of pain that would cause someone.  To be so good at providing laughter for others and yet not be able to find it for oneself.

All of this musing pointed me directly to the times in my own life where I've 'grinned and beared it' for the benefit of others.  No one wants to hear MY complaints (my brain reasoned) after all hadn't I heard many people say in passing 'it doesn't do any good to complain?  I've hidden my tears from my husband and sons on many occasions.  The rare time that I let them fly and put my whole emotional self on display I felt ashamed; weak and afraid.  If you read through our cottage journal you will read all about our fun times; not once will you read about the countless panic attacks that gripped me while we vacationed.  No one wants to read that stuff.

But maybe we SHOULD read that stuff?  Maybe I should put the 'truth' into that cottage journal.  Right next to the 'Fish Tales' portion where we list who caught what and how big it was.  Maybe I could dedicate a section of each visit to how many hours my panic attack lasted while we were on vacation?  How many times I threw up or how many times I slept through most of the vacation because I was living on Gravol?

I think the only way to combat most mental illnesses like depression is if we talk about it.  The fact is that life sucks sometimes; sometimes it's too much and we are mentally and physically exhausted just thinking about it or trying to figure it out.  I think that's what is missing in society today; the ability to connect with others and have others help you in your time of need.  I imagine a society where people are comfortable sharing their challenges with others and those others showing up with a casserole or an outing planned for the kids or even an afternoon in their schedule where they listen quietly while those who are challenged get to talk it all out.  Unfortunately, we are more apt to look the other way hoping that whatever it is isn't contagious.  God forbid something interrupt our own version of the perfect life.

I wasn't sure I was going to blog about this.  I knew by the time I got to a computer enough time would have passed that Mr. Williams death would have been 'old' news.  But I couldn't help but think about all of the people I know; myself included who deal with this everyday.  All of the people I know who deal with the loss of a loved one to depression or other mental illness situations.  So, whether it's old news or not and whether you've heard enough about this or not; here I am opening the wound again so that we can take another look at it.

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