Posts Tagged ‘mental illness’

The internet is abuzz with the tragic news of Robin Williams’ death. We struggle to understand how someone with so much talent and apparent good fortune could take his life. Depression knows no socioeconomic boundaries. Everyone is equally vulnerable. But those who share his struggle DO understand.
Depression and mental illness in general, is finally coming out of the closet. Those in it’s grip live with unimaginable demons. They are forced to hide them to be socially acceptable, so often struggle alone.
Being famous or heavily relied upon only make the isolation worse. It is difficult, though he did share his struggle, to disappoint the fans. The world’s response to Mr. Williams’ death confirms this. We are mourning the loss of a future without the enormous contributions he would have made – the potential enjoyment of his considerable talent. People say, “What a waste,” or “I can’t understand how he could throw everything away.”
As someone who has struggled with depression, I understand how driven to despair one can be at times. It has been debilitating, a cause of shame, something to hide, something to get through or get over. And it was totally out of my control as were the events that often preceded those times.
But I have never reached the depth of despair Mr. Williams must have felt, that would cause me to take my life.
Let us be grateful to him for the hours of happiness he gave us, in spite of the tremendous toll it took on him. Let us thank his family for sacrificing him for our pleasure. Let us hope he has found peace after all his suffering. And may he somehow know that his life meant so much to so many of us.


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Martin Luther King said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

These are powerful words. In trying to embrace them, particularly with the rift in my family, I struggle with the seeming simplicity. I suppose my question is with what to do after forgiveness is granted. Forgiving someone for their deeds is easy enough. The best scenario is there is mutual understanding between parties and the ability to move the relationship forward. This is possible when the parties are normal people.

When someone’s reality is distorted by psychological issues however, reconciliation may not be possible. I may be able to forgive the acts perpetrated by my sibling due to his problems, but I cannot bear to witness continued acts of the same nature. He will continue because he does not believe they are wrong.

So, forgiveness is one matter. Compassion would have us consider it for all but perhaps the most heinous things people can do. But let’s not confuse it with acceptance and embrace. We need not subject ourselves to harm, either physical or emotional, in the name of forgiveness.



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