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Posts tagged ‘#RobinWilliams’

Honoring Robin Williams on the 1st anniversary of his death…..

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Above photo credit, taken from Robin Williams’s Facebook page/posted on 6-6-2014. One of the few last posts on his page, prior to his death.

I knew that there would be a lot said on social media today, about today being the 1st anniversary of Robin Williams’s death.

Robin Williams’s death has saddened me, for a lot of reasons. As well as made me angry (which had nothing to do with him) , which I’ve written various blogs in honor of Robin, in the last year.

This blog will be NO different. It will be to honor the way he lived, not the way he died.

The reason will be reiterated, as I go along in this blog, as I’ve said in other blogs about him.

I think for how much he gave of himself, to others, the joy and sadness that we were able to get from his work, is what should be his legacy. Not how he died.

Not that there is shame in how he died, I’m a  mental health activist, who concentrates on suicide prevention. It just saddens me to no end, that his death is going to cast a pall , while not necessarily a negative one, but a complicated one, that it took his death, to realize, that we have a ways to go in supporting those who have complex medical and mental health issues.

That while  even though we have so much we can still enjoy from his work, as well as learn from his honesty and with integrity, in how he lived his life. How much pleasure he gave people. How in him being honest with his own demons, made it easier for others to come forward and get help for what they needed.

Both after his death, but while he was still alive, is what I want to concentrate on with him, going forward. It’s not going to change, as I was a mental health activist who concentrated on suicide prevention, before his death, as well as after.

It just makes me profoundly sad that his death, should ever overshadow his life. While normally, I’d appreciate anything that brings attention to removing stigma from mental health and suicidal ideation/suicidality , it can’t be with him being made the poster child, of why mental health and suicide prevention needs more awareness.

If you want to honor his life, as well as his loved one’s requests, concentrate on the pleasure we have gotten from his work. How at times it made you laugh until you cried. Or in his more dramatic roles, how it made you cry. How it made you think. How his work made you feel your feelings, deeply. Honor him by realizing that de-stigmatizing mental health and suicide isn’t by forwarding a meme about mental health with a picture of him, bi-annually.

Realize that everyone who suffers from mental health issues and suicidality, and their loved ones, deserves the same compassion, respect and honor, in the way they live or lived.

And in the various ways they die. No more stigma. No more shame.  No more differentiating a death from suicidality to any other medical or mental health disorder. By making a concentrated effort, to remove stigma, isn’t glorifying or promoting suicide. It’s trying with more compassion for everyone, to understand what it is. And what it isn’t.

I’ll be honoring Robin Williams’s life, by choosing to celebrate on how he lived his life and watch Patch Adams and maybe a comedy special of his, today. Because I, like most people , haven’t been able to watch any of his work, in the last year, of being so sad that he’s gone.

But I realize now, that I’d like to think he’d want people to honor him, in the way he lived. And to enjoy his amazing work.

I really have to believe, that he would NOT want people to dwell on his death. Or the way he died.

Rest In Peace, Robin

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Robin Williams’s death/ Almost 3 months later……

********Trigger Warning: I talk about suicide, severe depression and chemical dependency in this blog.Which can be a trigger for some, so if it does, please don’t read this, as I go in great detail in some matters. With great honesty and empathy but I’m NOT a clinically trained medical OR mental health professional. NOTHING I say or ANYONE says should replace in person, professional clinical evaluation and treatment. If in acute medical or mental health crisis, PLEASE call 911, immediately or go to your local Emergency Room, immediately…….*****

I did something unusual for me before writing this blog. I actually checked what’s “trending” after the coroner’s report came out, that yes, Robin Williams’s death was a suicide and NO, there was NO drugs or alcohol involved.And what people’s reactions were to it, on social media.

I’m not surprised in the slightest, that he wasn’t under the influence. He subtly made it clear that this while something he struggled with, was a very conscious choice, he was making, to end his life.

Now I discussed a couple of days ago, the need for compassion, with almost every death including suicide. The only type of suicide or death I can’t handle, at least appropriately,  is the deaths of people who kill someone else (or a lot of people) and then kills themselves.

But people are still drawing an unkind and UNFAIR differentiation between Brittany Maynard’s death and Robin Williams’s death and they shouldn’t be. While they had different diseases both had the same outcome. As their diseases progressed it caused them more pain. And both had diagnoses that can and will be terminal for some people.

BEFORE I get a bunch of HATE, let me explain something. People do NOT choose to have mental illness issues anymore than they choose cancer. We as a society, UNTIL we accept that, only can we be the compassionately supportive for those who suffer Mental Illnesses and/or lose someone they LOVE. Or the loved ones who have family members with severe persistent mental illness.

If you wouldn’t tell someone who lost a loved one to cancer, that it is too bad that they didn’t fight harder, why couldn’t they snap out of it and be happy for everything they had, WE HAVE TO STOP SENDING MESSAGES TO SURVIVORS AND SUFFERERS, that the person they lost, that their death was in the realm of anyone’s control. Some of these are NOT preventable deaths.

I’m all about Suicide Prevention, which is a part of why I do the Mental Health activism that I do. But anyone dealing with either their own mental illness, loved one’s mental illness or work in a clinical capacity ALREADY knows that NOT everyone can win their battle with depression. That doesn’t mean we aren’t gonna fight for anyone who’s drowning in depression and is acutely suicidal, we just know that while some lives can be saved, some cannot be saved.

I’ve discussed ad nauseaum about suicidality, other mental health issues and chemical dependency. If you read my last blog which was REALLY wordy and ranty, I discussed an E.R. visit recently, where I’ve been labeled as a drug seeking hypochondriac. Part of that I do get, because I did abuse narcotics for a couple of days prior to my suicide attempt. And I used narcotics as means to try and die. I took almost a month’s worth each of Vicodin, Xanax and Miltown/Equanil.

Let me explain something that might help others have empathy towards those who have CD/MH issues and/or die from them. Those 5 days proceeding my suicide attempt in 2008, when I was abusing meds were FUCKING AWESOME (my kids were already with my parents) . Severe manic depression will never make sense to someone who’s NEVER had it. You could have everything in the world, as far as people (the best family and friends), money and possessions and do so much for others, but one has a feeling of EXTREME worthlessness, despondency and isolation. Those of us who have it, feel grief stricken (sometimes for NO reason, but it’s worse in those who have reason, i.e. loss of loved one, relationships end, etc) for NO viable reason. While I’ve never experienced a sense of euphoria, in my life, those meds allowed me to feel comfortably numb about all my physical and emotional pain.And I was grateful for the respite from my agonizing emotional pain.The agonizing physical pain and loss in ability was hard enough.

I’m not saying that I advocate for abuse of prescription and street drugs and alcohol. I AM saying I understand why people use them, if not abuse them and get addicted. I’m really lucky that I haven’t gotten addicted. But certain circumstances did help me. I got violently ill off of IV morphine when I first had my gastric bypass. I’ve also experienced both opiate and benzo withdrawal when being PERFECTLY compliant, about 3 years post suicide attempt, in  2 different occasions . It WAS awful and at the time, I made a conscious effort not to have either a physical dependence or psychological one (which I do have a slight emotional dependence to my meds) but I don’t take them everyday, even with daily severe chronic pain. Going through withdrawal even though I wasn’t abusing, probably helped me realize or just reinforced something that I’ve always known.

I DO have an addictive personality. I’ve been using food as a coping mechanism (and for many other reasons as stated in other blogs) since I was a toddler. I started smoking when I was 15. I was raised in anti-prescription family doesn’t have a history of alcoholism and/or drug abuse. That there is only so many vices one can rationalize and that’s probably the reason why I am rare person with persistent mental health issues that doesn’t have a CD component. It also helps if I drink too much, I get violently ill (projectile vomiting ) and I do get unpleasant side effects from a lot of prescription medications. So I’m not trying to say I’m a better person then someone who’s struggled with Chemical Dependency issues, just saying, how I’ve managed to escape having substance abuse issues.

But to get back to the point I’m trying to make. It’s that we shouldn’t be questioning on who we have compassion for when people battle diseases and when they lose their lives from them. And we need more therapies available both in medical and mental health realms. Most of the treatments out there to fight serious disease and symptoms have side effects that are bad as the diseases and symptoms they are having.

Don’t be surprised if you utter words verbally or on social media that’s the equivalent of “Being Happy is a conscious choice” or some other ridiculous crap, like that or you talk about a suicide to the equivalent of “what a waste”, why people who suffer from Mental Illness will NOT confide in you. You are NOT safe person to come out to, no matter how nice you are in EVERY other aspect of your life. In NO WAY shape or form am I saying if someone dies from mental illness that it’s one’s fault for them dying. If one wouldn’t rationally blame themselves of a loved one dying from cancer, you CANNOT blame the person who dies from suicidality. Or their loved ones.

The point I’m trying to make is you blame NO ONE and have COMPASSION for EVERYONE …….

Addenum: I want to add the following….Celebrities or “privileged” people are NOT immune to mental illness/cd issues.       They are people not superheroes. I had a special place in my heart for Robin Williams. So I get people’s sadness. Out of the top 2 people I would’ve loved to meet, he was only #2, because I’d love to meet Oprah to both thank her and yell at her for how messed up women are about their bodies, given how she and stupid Dr Oz and Dr. Phil have profited on other people’s pain. Mental Illness issues though is a great equalizer.  It effects anyone regardless of gender, race, religion, socioeconomic and education level. But we owe it to their families to be able to grieve in privacy. And without stigma or judgement.

*Crisis Resources*
http://www.nami.org
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/
http://www.211.org
http://www.211us.org
http://www.samhsa.gov/
http://www.save.org
http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/helphttp://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres

http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

The Mental Health World According to um, EVERYBODY……

Sigh….

I wrote my last blog in tribute to Robin Williams and published it, within an hour or so of learning about his death, when it started to trend on Facebook.

6 days 1/2 later and everybody now wants to talk about his Medical and Mental Health issues. And yours. And mine. The media shitstorm that this has created, lasted about 4 days longer then I gave all that is and makes up media and social media credit for. And everyone in the whole entire world’s need to express something. And I can’t honestly tell you that it’s all good. Even if it’s well intentioned. And I’ll explain why.

I don’t like being an “angry” activist. And normally, when I’m upset and angry it’s not a good idea for me to tackle subjects that need the sensitivity that mental health, severe depression, severe chronic medical illness and suicidality requires.

I know that, because Mental Health and Medical activism, is something I do everyday. Not just because it’s the cool thing to do, now. Just like living with mental, medical and cognitive disabilities is something I do everyday. And sometimes it’s a major battle. While I can have a sense of humor on occasion about my own disabilities including mental health, severe chronic depression is one of the things that is most unfunniest matters that exist. Sometimes my medical, mental health and cognitive disabilities feel like a sentence, even though I realize in a lot of ways that it’s nothing short of a miracle I’m still alive and that’s more because of medical and bizarre circumstances. Not because of my mental illness issues. But bear with me for a second, because I’m about to make a point.

This is also not the blog for me to go into what I do when I experience severe depression. This is the blog to explain why mental health issues needed and should’ve garnered attention before Robin Williams’s death. And in my opinion why it probably still wouldn’t have saved his life. Keep in mind, again, I’m not a professional mental health clinician.

We live in a society that is supposed (for good reason) to value human life over everything else. When people die, if it’s people we love, it’s a tragedy. Regardless of how they die. We live in a society that couldn’t be anymore health conscious as it applies to physiological health. We realize now, we have a ways to go when it comes psychological health. And suddenly the whole entire fucking world is now realizing the compassion we’ve been lacking as a society in regards to that due to Robin Williams’s death. That should be a good thing. Here’s a few reasons why it’s NOT.

It’s not fair to put on Robin’s memory or his surviving family and friends, or anyone for the matter that he becomes the poster child for why mental health issues need more attention and we need more resources. Even though his family has said they appreciate the support. But they’ve also asked for privacy, too. What we don’t need is everyone picking and choosing when to talk about this because his life meant more then compared to another. Or to prioritize because Robin Williams was a celebrity that a lot of people could relate to and because he brought us a lot of pleasure. The problem is that when we prioritize value of human life, because he was a celebrity that was globally adored, it will have negative effect on people who are fighting severe depression because it shouldn’t have taken his death, to help eradicate stigma. Or for people fighting for their lives because of mental illness issues right now, will give up thinking that if he couldn’t survive his mental health issues, how the HELL is someone who lacks resources and has no support supposed to??? I’m not saying if there are suicides as a result of this, that it’s his or societies fault. I am saying that it’s justifiably a concern of mine and other MH activists as well as mental health professionals for the reasons I’m saying that his death getting so much media attention is starting to be counterproductive although there are some activists and mental health clinicians who I’m sure will disagree with me.

And in people trying to honor Robin, for those who are in crisis they may not be able to differentiate the attempt to remove stigmatization is starting to resemble glorifying sucidality for those who are vulnerable. Because people are still confused on whether or not this is actually a choice. And in his case though, it’s being considered compassionate to accept that he died this way, but not the same compassion is shown for everyone who battles severe and persistent chronic depression. For those of us who are working on suicide prevention awareness, it’s getting scary just how much attention this is getting and this is a MAJOR reason why it’s not all good.

I am a mental health activist and advocate for a lot of reasons. Which I’ve gone into more detail on other blogs. I, again, definitely advocate for suicide prevention awareness. I also am an activist because to help dispel if not eradicate stigma that comes with all mental health issues. I’m an activist and try to give a voice to those who’ve died due to mental health issues, for those who tried to die because of mental health issues but still are with us but don’t have voice and to be supportive for those who’ve devastatingly lost loved ones in death or who’ve tried dying due to mental illness. Or their quality of lives for those who suffer and their loved ones, is poor to non-existant but people can’t talk about it due to being scared of being stigmatized.

If I actually thought I’d be getting the last word in, I’d call myself out on my being a hypocrite. I don’t think I will be getting the last word in, though. I think out of respect for Robin Williams’s family that the media and social media doesn’t make another 9 trillion comments, stories and memes. That’s the reason why I’m chiming in.

Think about it this way. What if this was your family mourning a loss of a loved one and had to spend the initial days after a tragic death of a loved one, hearing about it EVERYWHERE??? And in this case, sadly his death will be considered newsworthy for the wrong reasons for a longer period of time compared to other celebrity deaths. Again, realize I was a big fan of his, too. I get the sadness, that we are feeling, but it needs to be said how it’s potentially going to fail people. Think about all the people who’ve kept silent for so long because they’ve lost loved ones to severe depression and/or other mental illness issues because it’s been stigmatized for so long.

If you want to honor Robin, the best way you could do that, is by honoring by his survivors wishes, at this point. And to honor people in your life, asking of those who suffer from mental health issues or have lost loved ones due to mental illness issues of what they need in support.

Note: Respectful disagreements of my writings are welcomed in comments. Any comment that can potentially be triggering to another or is disrespectful to another person will not be approved.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

I was on Facebook for about an hour, when it started to “trend” that sadly the brilliant actor and comedian, Robin Williams has died due to suicide.

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I’ve had things to say but I didn’t have a way or the right words to say it. My own suicide attempt which tonight is the eve of the 6th anniversary of my suicide attempt (I tried to commit suicide early morning of 8-12-2008, and actually my 1st blog was on my 5th anniversary, a year ago, here on WordPress), went into great detail about it. On my first blog.

While Robin had been forthcoming about his personal demons and battles with depression, alcohol and drugs, news of late, seemed like he was on top of things.

I can’t speak for him. I can only hypothesize, and again, I’m not a clinical trained and/or credentialed Mental Health expert. But I do understand why people lose their battle with depression, and with that comes losing their will to live. And sadly some people will lose their life to suicide, no matter how much resources they have for help, they can’t see that. It’s the nature of the disease and I know that better than anyone.

I’m not being pro-suicide when I make comments like that. It is just debatable on whether or not “suicide” can completely be prevented. My answer is absolutely NOT.

Whether or not, Robin’s family will divulge any details, obviously remains to be seen. I do hope that the media (highly unlikely, tho) will respect his family’s right to privacy in such a tragic time.

In my past blogs, I’ve discussed mental health and chemical dependency issues as it applies to the end result in people dying of suicide or accidental overdoses as it applies to famous people as well just people who are not in the public eye. I’ve likened severe depression as an “emotional cancer”, and for some people it’s helped them make a little bit of sense of things that are not rational, but I know no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be able to make people understand if they haven’t experienced severe and persistent Mental Illness and a severe chronic depression of what an uphill battle it is. Most of us who are fighting it, usually at best will always take a few steps forward, and a couple back. For the rest of our lives. Then there is one end of the spectrum of people who find methods and treatment that do work for them, wonderfully and are in remission. The other side of the spectrum is the people who end up dying due to suicidality. For some, sadly it IS incurable.

In NO way am I saying that people should give up. I am saying though I understand why they do.

If I have to repeat this a million times, I will. We need to remove the stigma from Mental Health issues. We need not to shame those who’ve tried to commit suicide and those who’ve unfortunately lost their lives to it. I’m not saying that it should be glamorized but it doesn’t help anyone to demonize those who commit suicide, especially in this day and age where there are so many homicide/suicides. And the loved ones they leave behind.

I’ve wanted to write for awhile what it’s truly like, even 6 years later, to live with severe and chronic depression. Because sometimes for some of us, while there are many things that I’m grateful that I survived to see, even I can’t say with absolute certainty that I will not die from this. I’m not remotely suicidal, but I know how brutal this disease can be.

We need more treatment options for Mental Health issues. We need to be able to speak about what’s hurting us without judgment and stigmatization. And we need to understand that we can NEVER walk in another’s shoes. Don’t judge what you don’t know. If you can’t be a part of the pro-active solution, don’t be a judgmental stigmatizing shamer.

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams. Thank you for wonderful work you did that made people laugh so hard and your amazing acting ability for drama, that made us cry. The world was a better place because you were in it. And luckily we have so much of your work, that is immortalized you, that’s in film for many generations to enjoy and laugh from. Thank you for your honesty about your trials and tribulations. You were much more forthcoming then you had to be.

Robin, you will be dearly missed…………

*Resources for those who are suffering from mh issues and their loved ones*

*Crisis Resources*
http://www.nami.org
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/
http://www.211.org
http://www.211us.org
http://www.samhsa.gov/
http://www.save.org
http://bornthiswayfoundation.org/help http://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres
http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

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