Tag Archives: Mental Health

RIP Anthony Bourdain

The black dog, as Winston Churchill put it, has struck again.

On Wednesday, the dog claimed the life of designer Kate Spade. This morning, the life the dog took was that of chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain. He was 61.

He was found in his hotel room in France where he was filming a future episode for his CNN series, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.

Depression and mental illness is not a joke. At best, the person suffering lives as best they can. At worst, they take their own life, causing their loved ones to ask questions that can never be answered.

My heart breaks for those who knew him on a personal level, especially his young daughter and his girlfriend, Asia Argento. Ms. Argento is one of the woman who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.

I know what it is like to live with the black dog.  It sits on my lap all day, every day. If your reading this post and you also have the black dog sitting on your lap, please get help. If not for your sake, but for the ones you love.

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Filed under Books, Mental Health, Television

RIP Kate Spade

Depression is like a dark cloud that refuses to dissipate. Professional success, a solid marriage, happy children and supportive family/friends can often mean nothing when one lives with depression. The dark thoughts are insidious, invading the thoughts and psyche of the person suffering until for some the only way to get ride of them is take your own life.

Today it took another life, that of fashion designer Kate Spade.

Ms. Spade was found this morning by her housekeeper. While there has not been an official ruling on her passing, speculation is pointing to suicide caused by depression.

She leaves behind her husband, her teenage daughter, a fashion empire and many who will miss her terribly.

What breaks my heart is that she had every reason to live, but that was not enough in the fight against mental illness.

If you are suffering, please seek help. Whether it is through your clergy person, a therapist, a trusted loved one or another resource, please get help. You are beautiful, you are worth it and you are powerful. You deserve all of the good things that have come and will come your way.

The telephone for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. The life you may save with the phone call is yours.

She was 55. May her memory be a blessing.

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts On The Beginning Of Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

As many of my readers know, depression is my constant companion and has been so for quite a few years.

Depression or any mental illness is not just an excuse for acting up or staying in bed all day and mindlessly staring at the television. It is very real and affects millions of people around the world.

It also takes lives in the form of suicide.

If nothing else, this month encourages those who suffer to get help. It is possible to live a full life with mental illness, but we must seek out help.

Please, if you suffer like I do and you are not working with a mental health professional, I highly recommend that you do so. The life you may end up saving is yours.

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Depression and The Rock

Like any disease, depression knows no boundaries. Not even those whose have successful careers in Hollywood are immune.

Wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has recently has recently come out as living with depression.

Like many that live with mental illness, The Rock is genetically disposed toward living with depression. His mother suffered from the disease and nearly killed herself in front of her son when The Rock was a teenager.

I find comfort, as weird as it sounds, that The Rock has made a public announcement. Mental illness, even after all of these years, still carries a stigma. In coming out of the closet, so to speak, he has put another public face on the disease. If someone like The Rock can live with depression and still live a full and happy life, then perhaps the rest of us can.

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It’s More Than Mental Health

The shooting yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead reminded us that once more we must publicly grieve the loss of innocent lives due to unnecessary gun violence.

In addressing the nation this morning, you know who put much of the blame on the shooter’s mental illness. He did not mention that the shooter was able to legally purchase a weapon is meant to be used on the battlefield and not in every day civilian life.

I have two problems with this statement:

  1. Millions of people around the world (myself included) suffer from mental illness. Only a tiny fraction of us spiral down into murdering innocents, but the news reports would make it seem like mental illness is the only reason for the shooting. Unlike other medical conditions, mental illness carries a stigma. Using mental illness as a framing device for any mass shooting, regardless of the state of mind of the shooter is counterproductive in erasing the stigma and helping those who are suffering.
  2. I know it’s been said every which way for a generation, but we need reasonable gun laws now. We needed them yesterday and the day before, but some of those in power are continuing to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the survivors and the loved ones of the victims. But while they are turning a deaf ear to the voting and grieving public, they seem to have no problem accepting money from the NRA.

My heart breaks for the survivors and the victim’s families. There are no words we can use to bring back their loved ones and dry their tears. But there are laws that can be put on the books and enforced to prevent another mass shooting and we can stop using mental illness as a crutch for mass shootings.

The question is, are we willing to do so or will we continue to see lives lost for no reason?

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Rick Springfield Opens Up About His Battles With Depression

Depression knows nothing of boundaries. It doesn’t matter where you grew up, where your family is from, who you go home to every night, etc. Not even fame and success in Hollywood can ward off the demons of depression.

Rick Springfield is one of the millions around the world who suffer from depression. The musician and actor recently opened about his own bouts with depression and his attempts to take his own life.

I found his story not only to be meaningful, but also relevant. One of the things I have learned about depression is that those of us who suffer from the disease tell the same story. We may use different phrasing and talk about our battles with depression from our own individual perspectives, but the stories are the same.

I find that very comforting because we need to talk openly about depression and other mental illnesses. Talking open and honestly opens doors, helps to diminish the stigma, brings comfort to those suffering and will hopefully prevent the loss of life due to suicide.

 

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This Is What Depression Feels Like

It can be said that one cannot understand another until they walk a mile in another’s shoes.

Especially when it comes to depression.

I could describe how it feels to live with depression, but I think the video below basically says it all.

It’s a cold, lonely feeling that never ceases to go away, akin to sitting in a empty bathtub, shivering cold with no clothes on, without light or heat.

It is the saddest, scariest feeling anyone can experience. Millions of us suffer from it and too many die from it.  I think the most important thing to remember is that we are not alone. If we remember that, then we can somehow find a way not just to live, but to thrive.

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I Got Out Of The House Today

Do. Or do notThere is no try.”-Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

One of the more common signs of depression is how easy it is to stay home and do nothing.

The weather in New York City for the past few days has been frigid. Walking outside is akin to walking into an icebox. No amount of layers can protect against the freezing temperature.

I could have stayed in today after completing some minor errands. It would have been easy to say that the weather makes for an excuse for staying in.

But I knew I couldn’t stay home. I couldn’t let the depression win. Not today at least.

It took a lot for me to get out after completing my errands. More than I expected. But I did it. I know that my depression will never go away. But if I have the courage and strength to fight against it, then maybe one day, it will not have the stranglehold it does on my life.

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Carrie Fisher-Gone A Year Today

 

A year ago today, Carrie Fisher passed away.

Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.

Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.

After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood.  She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.

The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.

For that, she will always be my hero.

RIP Carrie. A year still seems like yesterday.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Mental Health, Movies, Star Wars, Writing

If Not Now, When?-Thoughts On The Texas Church Massacre

One of the most famous questions that the philosopher Hillel the Elder asked is:

“If not now, when?” Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14

Every time there is a mass shooting in this country, decent minded citizens have asked when we can finally talk about gun control. The answer, the last few years, have been predictably that this is not the time.

Yesterday morning, there was a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.  26 people were killed, many of them children.

My heart hurts. My head hurts. We say the same thing in the aftermath of every mass shooting:”Our thoughts and prayers go to the victims and their families.” But at this point, the phrase has become meaningless.

I will not state the killer’s name on this blog, he’s receiving enough press. I will only say that mass shootings will continue to be the average news story in America until real change is made.

Back in 1996, there was a mass shooting in Australia, 35 people were murdered. Instead of waxing and waning (and giving into the gun industry, lobbyists and the NRA), the Australian government enacted sweeping and strict gun laws.  Since then, the Port Arthur massacre is the only mass shooting in recent Australian history.

Whether or not the gunman’s mental health played a part, only time will tell.  I’m just tired of hearing of another mass shooting and the loss of innocent lives.

P.S. I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice that Donald Trump’s responses to shooting are different based on the shooter. He called for the death penalty for the accused and the removal of the diversity visa program in response to the murder of 8 people in New York City last week, but his response to this shooting (where the killer was white) was markedly different. Just an observation.

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