Well, I’m going to share because I don’t believe I’m the only one with a mental challenges struggling with Robin Williams’ death. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t care about your pocketbook, popularity or talent. Money won’t cure it. Fame and success, from what I can read in the news, compound it. Access to proper mental health care is difficult regardless of your insurance and financial status.
The stigma — even when drenched in mental health support — permeates in peers, doctors, people you work with, those who support you, those who are a detriment to wellness and, even, pop culture. Often, many think a pill or a call to a friend or a suicide number will fix the problem like a cast on a broken leg. That’s too easy, folks. Those safety nets are like an emergency room. You don’t go home healed, just bandaged and hopefully with some new tools to navigate life better.
There are incredible people in the field helping, but my experience is what we understand about the brain/mind and body connection is, at best, rudimentary on the most educated level. Often times, those of us struggling to survive mental illness are called on to cure our own disease, explain how it originated and are expected to heal ourselves quickly.
Those of us battling mental illness live in the same world as typical people, but it’s a world in a world. The walls that surround us are thick and invisible. The stigma permeates and can destroy access to help even as we’re actively participating in recovery.
And yes, recovery is possible. Don’t confuse it with remission though. The mind demons don’t disappear. They don’t slink away in defeat. Everyday is a challenge and another opportunity to punch those mofos in the face to shut ’em up. It’s also another day they might rise up and bloody the protagonist, get him/her while they’re down and push them deep in the dirt or scatter them to the winds for good.
Robin Williams brightened our world, lightened our emotional loads and gave us so many great belly laughs and chuckles. What his world was like, none of us will truly know, but we can show respect. We can mourn. We can honor this man who navigated his challenges while gifting the world with his talent. We can recognize he had a worthy life amongst his struggles. We can acknowledge his battle with mental health was real and look at all the days he succeeded against the illness.