Tag Archives: mental illness

Robin Williams: Five Years Later and it Still Hurts

Mental health, like any disease does not discriminate between rich and poor, black and white, celebrity and non-celebrity.

Five years ago today, mental health took the life of one of our most beloved performers: Robin Williams.

He was more than a comic who could do impressions. He could play drama, he could play comedy and everything in between. Underneath all of his performances was a huge heart that was evident to anyone in the audience.

This past week, his eldest son, Zak, spoke to CNN about his father.

When it comes to those who are no longer with us because of suicide, there are always questions that start with what if. While the question is certainly valid, at a certain point, we need to ask other questions. I firmly believe that we need to not only accept mental health issues as a valid disease, but treat it as a valid disease.

When confronting a problem, the first and hardest step is to ask for help. The issue with mental health is that many are afraid to ask for help because of the backlash they may receive.

Mental health and the diseases that fall under the categories of mental illness are real. The sooner we accept that, stop stigmatizing mental illness and open the doors to treatment, the better our country and our world will be.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

I Have a Mental Illness, I Didn’t Shoot Anyone Yesterday

This past weekend, as we all know, was one of the bloodiest in American history. Two mass shootings killed 31 people (as of Tuesday) and injured many more. One of the first questions that many ask is why this happened.

Some may state that the accused shooter was mentally ill.

I, like millions of others around the world am mentally ill. It has been my unwanted companion for far too long. I have yet to (and it is unlikely that I ever will) purchase a gun for the sole purpose of killing innocent people.

I wish our leaders would stop pointing fingers and ask the hard questions. At this point, as a nation, experienced too many mass shootings to point fingers at outside influences. That is taking the easy way out.

Video games are not the cause of mass shootings. Neither are the Internet or mental illness. It is our lax gun laws that cause mass shootings. It is the NRA and the gun lobby who have some of our politicians in their back pocket.

We need the red flag law and the universal background checks installed and enforced as national law now. We needed to tighten up our gun laws yesterday.

I feel like right now, this nation is at a turning point. We can continue on the same path that we have been going on and lose more innocent lives. Or, we can finally take a stand and ensure that this generation does not become the generation that is killed by mass shootings.

Only then will this madness finally stop.

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Filed under Mental Health, National News

Same Hypocrite, Different Day

One of the jobs of the President of the United States is to be the “consoler in chief” when a national tragedy strikes.

As we all are aware, there were two mass shootings on Saturday. Yesterday, you know who spoke to the country.

He sounded Presidential, but in reality, he was the same hypocrite on a different day.

He talked about ending racism, white supremacy and unifying the country. But his words are sound and fury signifying nothing.

He talked about the mental health of the accused gunmen, which personally offended me. To say that the accused in both shootings are mentally ill, without knowing all of the facts is derogatory to all of us who have the unwanted friend that is mental illness.

He also talked about how violent video games contributed to real life violence. This has been proven wrong time and again. And yet, politicians will use that an excuse for the lack of real reform of gun laws.

Just after the Columbine massacre, some were saying that the music of Marilyn Manson was to blame for the shooting. I wish those in the leadership positions, whether in a religious role or a political role, would put on their big boy/big pants and take a real look at what caused the accused to kill innocent people.

Those of us who are of a certain age and older remember the dark days after 9/11. Then President George W. Bush stood on top of the rubble with his arm around a first responder and addressed the nation. Putting aside partisan politics, he also spoke of unity and coming together. That speech felt authentic. Yesterday’s speech was not.

May the memory of those murdered be a blessing and may we finally enact sensible gun legislation so we never have another weekend like we just had.

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Filed under Mental Health, Music, National News, Politics, Thoughts On....

This Is Why You’re Not Happy is Not the Perfect Solution to Mental Health Issues, But It Comes Pretty Close

From the eyes of the general public, when one is a celebrity, life is nothing short of perfection. Everything (and everyone) that we ever wanted or needed just appears in our lives. Our problems melt away like ice off a cold beverage that has just been removed from an ice filled cooler.

The truth is that celebrities are human beings just like the rest of u, who by some twist of fate, became famous and earn more money in a year than most of us earn in our entire lifetimes.

Back at the end of May, the YouTube channel Absolute Motivation released a video entitled “Matthew McConaughey – This Is Why You’re Not Happy | One Of The Most Eye Opening Speeches“.

What I love about this video is that Mr. McConaughey speaks to all of us. He challenges the viewer to consider their definition of happiness and joy. It’s not the perfect solution to making our mental health issues disappear. But it’s practical and given the complicated world that we live in, it might be the answer we are looking for.

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Filed under Mental Health, Movies

Life after Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort and Community after Unthinkable Loss Book Review

When a loved one dies of a physical health issue or a random accident, the common response for the deceased loved ones is sympathy. When a loved one dies from suicide due to mental illness, the common response is not always sympathy.

In 2017, Dr. Jennifer Ashton thought that she had it all: two happy and healthy children, a career as a respected physician and an amicable relationship with her ex-husband. Then her ex-husband committed suicide.

In her new memoir, Life after Suicide: Finding Courage, Comfort and Community after Unthinkable Loss, Dr. Ashton writes about the unexpected death of her ex-husband and how it changed her life. In this deeply personal memoir, Dr. Ashton takes the reader through the bumpy road from grief to acceptance. She also includes the stories of other women who have lost loved ones to suicide and how they learned to cope with their new reality.

I found this book to be one of the best books on mental illness that I have read in a long time. When we talk about suicide, we often talk about the person who took their own life, forgetting that their loved ones are dealing with an unimaginable loss and questions with answers that are not so black and white.

I recommend this book not just for those who are suffering from mental illness, but for those who love them. If nothing else, it will hopefully open the door to a conversation and perhaps save a few lives.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Mental Health

Sometimes the Best Thing We Can Do is Prioritize Our Mental Health

The best sensor we have is our body. When it tells us to slow down, we should listen to it. If we ignore it, we do so at our peril.

When it comes to mental illness, ignoring the signals that we need help is more than detrimental. It could be life threatening. Last week, Britney Spears checked into a mental health facility following her father’s health scare.

I admire her for getting help and not being afraid to publicly admitting that she needs to take time to take care of herself. The hardest thing that one can do when suffering from mental illness is to ask for help. It’s easy to pretend that your OK and try to go about your business. It’s harder to take a step back and say that you need to talk to someone.

I hope that her actions inspire others who suffer from mental illness to seek treatment. The more we speak of mental illness, the less it becomes a stigma and that will finally lead to an open conversation about this debilitating and deadly disease.

 

 

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Filed under Mental Health, Music

The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery Book Review

Mental illness affects millions of people around the world.

Mary Cregan knows all too well the pain that mental illness can bring. In her new book, The Scar: A Personal History of Depression and Recovery, she talks about her own bout with mental illness and how she was able to survive.

When she was in her late 20’s Ms. Cregan had it all: a job that made her happy, a loving marriage and a soon to be new addition to the family. The joy of a new child soon turns to grief when the baby dies two days after she is born. The death of her daughter plunges her into depression and thoughts of suicide. Years later, in writing this book she reflects on her deeply personal and heartbreaking experience with mental illness while talking about the history of how mental illness was viewed and treated.

One of the most glaring aspects of mental illness, from my own experience, is the feeling of being alone in the world. Ms. Cregan’s book reminds me that those of us who suffer from mental illness are not alone. We may not have asked to join millions of others who suffer from mental illness, but it brings us together in a way that allows us live full lives while grappling with a disease that will always be part of us.

I recommend it.

 

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How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety Book Review

Social anxiety, like any mental illness, is not obvious to the naked eye. The definition of social anxiety is the following:

Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.

The 2018 book, How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, by Ellen Hendriksen, is about the science and emotion of social anxiety. The author explores the roots of social anxiety, tells the stories of people live with it and encourages them to move beyond what is holding them back.

I really appreciated this book. I appreciated it because it is not a pie in the sky, unrealistic way of looking at social anxiety. By referencing the true life experiences, the science behind social anxiety and suggestions on how to move beyond the inner critic.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Pardon Me, My Depression Has Spoken For me

There are some illnesses that are obvious via physical symptoms. The various forms of mental illness are very often referred to as invisible illness because symptoms are not always obvious to the naked eye.

I have lived with depression for years. It often speaks for me when I cannot. The problem is that when it speaks for me, it does not speak the truth.

Courtesy of fanpop.

It speaks of my anxieties, my insecurities. It reveals that in spite of all I have worked for and achieved, I am still worth nothing. The people in my life are lying to me. I am worth nothing and the only place I should be is the grave.

If we have a conversation and my depression decides to speak for me, please pardon me. It is not me who is speaking, but one who has taken over my tongue and my thoughts. It is my depression.

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Filed under Beauty And The Beast, Mental Health, Music, Once Upon A Time

Today Was A Better Day

Yesterday, I spoke about an experience at work that triggered my depression.

Today, I am happy to report that it was a better day. My depression will never fully go away, but at least the issue that triggered my depression was dealt with.

When one’s mental illness is triggered, it akin to trying to climb out of a hole made of sand or dirt. You try to climb out with everything you have, but all you get is dirty fingernails, complete exhaustion and feeling like you will never be able to get out of this hole.

I was surrounded by love today, which helped immensely. I was also given a hug by a young boy whom I have never met before. It felt like G-d was saying that I would be OK.

Today was a better day.

 

 

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