Monday, September 8, 2014

Part 3: Aftermath of a Brilliant Comic’s Death: Funnyman Robin Williams


The stigma of mental illness is real (as are so many other things too of course!). It’s a cold fact in this seemingly harsh world at times that we live in.

I say that as I personally know (and knew) people who suffer from various forms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and the like.

I generally speak to and treat these people as “common folk” that is without special treatment or gloves. I don’t think they wish to be treated or handled any differently, other than perhaps their uniqueness noticed!

What I notice is that what is a lack in one area – mental health – is made up for so-to-speak in another area. I am beginning to believe that this may apply to most, if not all disabilities, whether it is a physical or developmental disability, a learning disability or mental health challenge, an intellectual disability or the like.

It seems, to me at least, that there is a creative genius lurking somewhere within these so-called “mental health disorders.” Robin Williams was an example of this and indeed, people who knew him or got to him remarked that he was “a genius” or “brilliant.”

Here are some other personal – to me – examples: a man, I know, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who asks deep and brilliant – read that as ‘creative’ – questions. A health care professional recognized him as having eidetic memory, something which I had never heard of before, and is apparently extremely rare in adults. His experiences are both visually and auditorally, particularly with conversations. (Google this if you are interested for details as there seem to be problems with some of the links.)

I know at least four people with bipolar disorder, formerly known as "manic depression" a more negative label in my opinion. One is a daughter of a friend of mine who demonstrates brilliance in the area of creativity, particularly in the arts: she is able to sing opera; paint; knit, sew and other such endeavours.

Two women – one was introduced to me through the other – who have become dear friends of mine. One I see more often, the other more as an acquaintance as her life is so busy. Both are extremely brilliant in thinking of wonderful and sometimes outrageously creative ideas. They are also funny and a bit quirky too, though the latter sometimes comes out more in their style of outfits than anything else.

And you won’t know who they are as I do not connect with them through social media to keep their lives private. That is what they wish and prefer probably due to the stigma of mental illness. One is more concerned about her career though. The other probably couldn’t care less as she is self-employed and doesn’t have the time nor interest for social media!

This is only one of many reasons why we need to speak more openly as mental illness is so prevalent in our society. One out of five people have or will suffer from some form of a mental health disability in their lives. That’s a high percentage of our population!

Do you and/or do you know anyone with a form of mental illness? How do others respond to you and/or to these people you know?

By the way, as an aside, tonight is a Supermoon (http://xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2014/07/supermoon.html). Do you think the full moon especially affects people with mental health disabilities, people who may be more "sensitive?" I wonder...

18 comments:

  1. Quite an insight Elly. Surfed the Eidetic memory too! :) Guess haven't come across any.
    (If you don't mind, just wanted to let you know that the link for eidetic isn't working ) Best Wishes.
    -Shashank

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  2. Thanks Shashank though this is only my opinion at this point. Not sure if this is proven/scientific in nature, though I wouldn't be surprised. Thanks for letting me know about the link. :) <3

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  3. You are absolutely right Elly - while there is no such thing as equality (people are not equal in any way) all people should be treated with equal respect and kindness. We all carry some kind of baggage. What most people want is to be validated and accepted for who they are as a person - NOT for whatever "suitcase" they may be carrying. HUGS <3

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    1. Judy, I beg to differ on your first comment as I think at least on a spiritual level, we all are the same; however, I think I understand what you mean, i.e., where you are coming from. I do agree with you though that all people should be treated fairly, with respect and kindness, and validated and accepted as they are...for sure! :) <3

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  4. My oldest bestie suffers from both bi polar and depression. I don't treat her as any different since being diagnosed as I did before she was. To me, she hasn't changed one bit. She's the same person she has always been. So why would I treat her any differently?

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    2. That's great! I'm curious though, do you mean Betsie as in a female name? <3

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  5. I believe two categories of people suffer from depression - one, as you said, ultra-intelligent ones. The genius in them cannot conform to social mores, ultimately stressing them out. The other is the over-sensitive types, who supress feelings to a point they get aloof and bitter..BTW today is 'World Suicide Prevention Day' !

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    1. I love what you said here NIsha about the "ultra-intelligent ones...the genius in them cannot conform to social mores..." I think they either go out of the system and/or conform as best they can to the society in which they live. Some of the "ultra-intelligent" ones - maybe most? - are overly or super sensitive. I know some of these folk! ;) <3

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  6. I don't know any who suffer from mental illness..or maybe no one has shared it with me yet...But I do agree to one point here ...When one sense or ability is taken away the person is gifted with other extraordinary traits...

    Loved the point you dwelled upon here ...

    Random Thoughts Naba...Hear Me Out Atleast...

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    1. It is a possibility you may know someone with a form of mental illness such as depression which is common and can range from mild to severe. The person may put on a mask or persona to the general public. I am glad that you agree with my theory as I believe in my heart it is true as we are all blessed with at least one gift/talent to share with others. Thanks for your comment. :) <3

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  7. I have always wondered at the connection between mental illness and creativity. Your post really resonates with me. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 'Avoice.' I appreciate your comment. It might be interesting to see what the research says about this particular topic! :) <3

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  8. Such a enlightening and optimistic concluding part. Indeed, everyone have unique talents within them...and I so really admire you for the work you do :)

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    1. Thanks Asma. Yes indeed, everyone is gifted with unique talents. I had to learn this years later after thinking I had none! ;) <3

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  9. Thank you for writing this, Elly. It is rare that people can share their pain openly. Society is largely to blame for this. On a blogger's meet last week, we met an inspiring woman who has survived cancer and is a mom to a special-needs child. That child has now grown and is earning her own way. What a wonderful story. These are the tales that need to be shared. We need more positive energy in the world. Every single day.

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    1. My pleasure Shailaja (and sorry for the late response). It is sad that there is such a stigma as isolation further increases it, rather than open discussion. :) <3

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