Tag Archives: wearing a mask

Reflections on Celebrity Suicide and Everyday Suicide

When I first found out Robin Williams died, I literally thought – “Nooooo, if I can’t kill myself, why can he??”

Robin Williams was one of the funniest guys around.  I grew up watching so many of the movies he was in – Aladdin, Fern Gully, Robots, Happy Feet, The Dead Poets Society, Patch Adams, What Dreams May Come, Goodwill Hunting…the list goes on and on.

The problem is – some of the funniest people, that look so happy on the outside and make other people laugh and feel happy — they can be the people hiding and feeling so much pain and sadness themselves.  It is that mask that we wear.  Allowing everyone to see our funny, social, happy side – but never allowing our emotions of hurt, pain, sadness to be exposed.

When a celebrity dies of a suicide or drug overdose, we are all incredibly shocked and taken aback.  They either never seemed like someone who would do something like that — or they might have had a long history of stints in a rehab for their drug addiction.  Mental health has stolen so many brilliant actors/actresses/artists away from us.  —-

—-It has also taken away so many people away from us though.  People that aren’t famous.  The day Robin Williams died, there were others that also took their lives.  Their families were torn up by the news that their loved ones were found dead, dead because they too had taken their own lives.  I guess I began thinking about this aspect because a few days prior to Robin Williams’ death — another friend of mine lost her nephew to a suicide.   You hear about the famous people that take their lives, perhaps hear a bit about how we need to help those with depression reach out for help, and then its over.  What about those that take their lives everyday?  It happens so much more than just a celebrity losing their life every so often – it is happening everyday, multiple times a day.  We need more help for mental illness now!  More education, more programs, more psychiatrist and therapists – we need all of that so that everyone who is affected can get the proper treatment — whether it is the public or celebrities.  My friend’s family is trying to raise money for their nephews funeral, as it was extremely unexpected, if you would like to donate any money or simply leave a kind word the website is on gofundme.

I know I have tried suicide, a lot.  And I have gone back and forth in my mind as to whether I am happy or sad that I lived through it.  I am happy though I didn’t die though.  I am not always happy, by any means.  But, I am glad I was given a second change, and third, and fourth, and …. quite a few.

I really feel for Robin’s family.  I can’t even imagine how hard it is to lose someone that not only they loved but to also have to deal with the publicity of everyone in the world who loved him too.  I have lost someone to a drug overdose when she was basically self medicating for her depression and it hurts.  Losing someone to mental illness hurts.  I hope they are able to heal over time.

If you are thinking about suicide or even just having a hard time call:

1-800-273-8255

www.crisischat.org

www.IMALIVE.org

A list of International Suicide Hotlines can be Found Here

 

Post A Day – He Followed His Passion

Word Press Post A Day – We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.

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He was feeding stay kittens.  There were 5 of them.  We were in an old church in Malaysia.  He drew these amazing pictures, both in pencil and it acrylic paint.  I have never seen any that were so good.  He didn’t even ask for much – only 10 ringgit for the pencil drawings and around 65-75 ringgit for the paintings.  In American money – that is nothing!  (ex. About $3.50 for the pencil drawings).

There were quite a few artists set up at this church, and a lot of them were actually quite good.  He had many people buying from him though.  What set him apart?  He was feeding these poor, helpless, defenseless, little kittens.  According to him – everyday he would bring them food and water.  Not just any cat food, but canned cat food.  The good stuff.  He had food bowls for them, the food, and a bottle full of water to pour for them.  He had named them and knew which was which.  They seemed to really love him too (more than just because he had the food).  They knew him and would play in his backpack, would cuddle with him, and purr around his leg.

He was a native of Malaysia.  He grew up there his whole life.  He hadn’t gone to school over grade school, and didn’t earn much money.  This was his job – drawing.  He knew he was good at it and wanting to make a living off of it.  He didn’t earn much money, probably because he really didn’t charge much money.  Honestly, I bet the tourists would have paid a lot more for his drawings.  He even was giving discounts to those that bought multiple drawings – and people were buying a lot of them, including myself.

On this trip, I met a stranger.  I stranger that showed love and care to those that couldn’t care for themselves.  That isn’t a quality that you really see in today’s world.  Not many people do possess that anymore.  This world is about competiveness – at least in America from what I have experienced. From my earliest days in school it has been about getting the best grades, being the best student, participating in the most activities, being the best in the class, learning the most – all so you can get in the best college/university – which will get you the best job/career.  This will ultimately make you the most money.

But he – he didn’t even care about this.  He did what he was passionate about.  He followed his passion and he took care of these defenseless animals.  He didn’t make the most money.  He was ok with his life.

I know that money does make life easier – it definitely does.  You don’t struggle to pay bills, you can buy food much easier and pay for a house/apartment.  You can pay for your doctors and medication.  It definitely can make life much easier.  But it can also make life a lot more complicated too.  I know you need money to live off of.  That is definitely a fact.

But I do think that our lives would be much better if we weren’t all about the competitiveness that we face today.  When I met this stranger – I learned that.  My mental health is in my genes, it is a chemical imbalance.  But it was also affected by the environmental factors around me.  Things in my life can help it or hurt it.  Growing up in a competitive world where I was expected to be the best, hurt it.  I had to hide that I was hurting because I had to be the best, I couldn’t show weakness.

This stranger showed me otherwise.  You don’t have to be the best.  You can just be yourself.

Post a Day – My Flaws and Imperfections, I’m Only Human

WordPress Post A Day  –  We all have songs that remind us of specific periods and events in our lives. Twenty years from now, which song will remind you of the summer of 2014?

I’m not perfect.  I am going to screw up.  I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. 

This summer, I owned up to that.  I took off my mask and quit hiding behind it.  I quit pretending like I could be happy all the time, I could be perfect all the time, like nothing that was said to me or done to me hurt me.  Because you know what?  It did, people hurt me.  They said hurtful things, they did hurtful things.  I suffered from mental illness and I wasn’t always happy all the time.  I couldn’t be strong all the time.  I’m human.  I’m only human.

 I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

I try to make myself believe that I can do everything, that I can be someone I am not.  Throughout my life I have done this.  If you read my Post A Day yesterday, you will see I have done this my whole life.  But this summer, I learned I don’t have to do this anymore.  I can be who I am.  Christina Perri’s song ‘Human” describes perfectly what my Summer 2014 has been all about – discovering my inner strength – my power – to reclaim and show that I don’t have to be perfect.  I can be vulnerable, and that is ok.  It is hard, it is hard to let people in, and I am still working on it, but it is possible and it is ok.

Holding my breath, Biting my tongue, forcing a smile, forcing a laugh – that just isn’t possible anymore.

I can take so much
‘Til I’ve had enough

For me, once I have had enough, my only way out was suicide, and I can’t keep turning to that.  So this summer, I have begun to reclaim control.  Or, work on reclaiming control I should say! It is a work in progress and always will be a work in progress as that is how mental illness is – a lifelong struggle and battle. 

As I look back on the summer of 2014, I will remember this song, and how it showed me – it is ok to have flaws and imperfections, that is what makes us human and quite honestly I don’t want to be a robot! But in all seriousness, flaws and imperfections are just as important as our strengths, they make us unique!

The Mask We Wear

Throughout my life I have suffered with depression.  I remember the first time I really felt depressed I was about 10 years old in 5th grade.  I was sitting on the swing set, I had quit playing with my friends at recess, and I and just couldn’t find the joy in anything anymore.  Despite this though, no one knew anything was wrong with me.  I was attending a Math, Science, Technology Magnet school, I had amazing grades, participated in extracurricular activities, and overall I appeared to be very social within the classroom.  This continued throughout middle school and high school for the most part.

While a few people new about my severe depression and during my senior year of high school it did begin to show quite clearly to a few teachers, for the most part it stayed well hidden.  For those of us with mental illness – we are pretty good at hiding our feelings.  We wear what many of us refer to as a mask.

We cover up our emotions.  We don’t let anyone see how we really feel.  We are afraid of letting people in for so many reasons.  Or I have been anyway.  I have been afraid of how people would react.  I was afraid people would leave me and not want to be my friend.  I was afraid people would think I was crazy because of the stigma.  I was afraid people would not want to help me and yet I was also afraid people would overreact to how I was feeling.  I didn’t want people to see how vulnerable I was. I didn’t want people to know how hurt I was feeling either just because I felt like I needed to be strong and I had a personal stigma that being depressed meant I was weak.

I finally had to take the mask off though.  I needed help and I had to just let me emotions out.  It was the most freeing thing ever!  Wearing a mask is a coping skill.  In some ways, it can be a health coping skill.  But it is not a healthy one when it is done all the time.  If it is done all the time, then you avoid feeling your true emotions and avoid letting people in to help you.  I had to learn new coping skills so I could take off my mask.  I had to learn how to accept my feelings and ask for help.  I had to learn to express my emotions in new ways.  I am still working on that quite honestly.  And I am still working on asking for help.  I still do wear a mask a lot, but not all the time.  I only wear it in front of certain people where I know it is healthy for me because of certain reactions I might receive.  But for others, when I know I am in a safe place, I know I do not need to wear the mask.  Taking off the mask allows me to face my challenges without a barrier.

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I found this picture on http://satprayana.blogspot.com/