I was looking forward to publishing a blog post that I’d already written and it turns out that I hadn’t actually wrote it… Do you ever find that happens? I swear I wrote the damn thing…? Clearly I’m just loosing it…
Anyway, I wanted to talk a little about Robin Williams and mental health, specifically, my mental health. It’s weird because usually when I blog it comes so easily to me as it’s quite literally a stream of my consciousness but because my mental health has been so poor recently it’s been requiring more energy than usual.
I was so sad to hear of Robin Williams’ death. Whenever you hear of anyone dying it reminds you of your own mortality however, this time, because of how he died I was forced to confront an uncomfortable truth about my past. It’s not secret that I have mental health issues but a few years ago I contemplated taking my own life – that’s perhaps something people aren’t so aware of. So hearing of Robin’s death kind of forced me to think back to my own experiences of really low mental health and suicide or rather, suicidal thoughts.
What I find most interesting and rather intriguing is that generally people assume those who are outgoing and have (I can’t remember the right word)… personalities that they are always positive and have no negativity whatsoever. Sometimes I feel like it comes as a shock to people when they learn of my own relationship with mental health (both positive and negative because mental health isn’t just a negative thing – everyone has mental health) and they don’t really know what to say. This feeling is compounded when they learn about my history of suicide or suicidal thoughts.
I feel like there’s an expectation of outgoing people (still can’t remember the other word) to be well, outgoing. Actually, expectation isn’t even the right word there… Not an expectation… More a thing? Like, if an outgoing person is under-the-weather for whatever reason I feel like people don’t really know how to react to that because it’s not expected of them as it’s perceived to be out of character. This is particularly true when we look at the reactions to Robin William’s death. While he certainly didn’t make his history of addiction or mental health a secret (he sometimes joked about both in interviews) there was still the surprise among the the general public of a comedian having taken his own life. Someone who’s profession, who’s life work is to make other’s laugh and feel good about themselves could feel so low about themselves.
Do you ever find that people have this imbalance of expectation of you?
How do you deal with that?
For a long time I’ve had this thing niggling in the back of mind… When people praise me or the work I do I can’t help but feel a sense of guilt attached to it because of my mental health issues. I feel like people put me on this pedestal sometimes and that to show a more vulnerable or weaker side would tarnish their image of me and ultimately, my cause? Does that even make sense?
I know what I mean.
What really hurts a lot is when I’m having a really rubbish mental health phase and friends and acquaintances give me such lovely pick-me-ups. I don’t ask for support of that kind a lot and so when I do, I’m in a real bad way and so these little bits of love, support and solidarity actually make me cry, a lot. It’s partly because I’m feeling such love from people whom I know very well AND from people whom I don’t know know very well at all as well as that sense of guilt. It’s almost like a double-edged sword. I feel like that’s the only way I can explain.
I know this post is is rather disjointed but I’d really appreciate your thoughts and advice.