**I am publishing this as is. All errors result from a choice to write freely.
A friend bemoaned the
coming blog postposts that will forthcoming in the wake of Robin Williams’ apparent suicide*. Posts that will question why someone would choose suicide, the state of mental illness treatment and support in the States, whether addiction (or, for that matter, depression) is a disease, character defect, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.
The last phrase is particularly apt at the moment for me, though it has nothing to do with Williams’ death.
I process the world–usually–through writing. When I don’t write, it probably means I am in denial or otherwise just not working my way through something. Which means, I suppose, that today is a good one.
And perhaps it is also a good one because so many of us are still standing and will remember the Robin-shaped hole–and, I hope, the holes left by the scores of other suicides today, tomorrow…
It doesn’t have to be this way, of course. And we can pretend that addiction and mental illness are aberrations and character flaws. And we can decry the “choice.” And we can mourn the losses. And we can love those who remain here. Not always present, but here.
And running alongside the shock on my Twitter feed is the abhorrently less shocking news: kids who can’t get home because of a blockade, residents in fear of a heavily armed force shouting at them, attempts to fight back that are often swept aside in the reports for the sexier acts of destruction.
In Ferguson, MO. Racial tension explodes.
That which is forced into silence–externally or internally–will rise. The emotions that are drowned, denied, or belittled will take over. Eventually. And we can never really predict how, where, or who. We are all subject.
That Williams’ apparent suicide should come after a long stretch of working and time in rehab should come as little surprise. The masking of the highs–through whatever means–can result in pummeling, fatal lows. Worse still are those liminal spaces known as mixed episodes, when you are deeply depressed with the energy and –sometimes–delusion that make it possible to do something about the (lack of) feelings. That something is not necessarily going to look rational to those on the outside. But it might carry its own internal logic. And the end result is the same.
That Ferguson’s apparent violence should come after a long stretch of increasing racial tensions and the
warfeargasm (thanks, L7) fed by the media should come as little surprise. The masking of the threats and hostilities–through whatever means–can result in pummeling, fatal actions. Worse still are those liminal spaces between delusion and fear, when you are so terrified of your neighbor, the police, the kid on the street that bullets seem like the only way to do something about those feelings. The internal logic will be there. But the end result is the same.
A death. A loss. More fear. More pain. More evasion of truth.
Evading the difficult conversations about race that are bound up in a political vision that triumphs noise over evidence. Evading the conversations that put on the table the simple truth that a black man in the Oval Office sent part of this country into a profound state of delusion. Evading the difficult conversation that some of those same delusions bind up the possibilities for treating mental illness and addiction because, like the black man in the Oval Office, too much of the discourse assumes black men, addiction, and mental illness to be something other. Too much of the discourse assumes whatever it is that white and normal are supposed to be.
Depression kills. Fear kills. Delusion kills, be it the one mediated on TV or mediated in my head by the bipolar cycles that I work to balance every single day.
Cycles that killed a man this morning. Delusions that make us have to question ourselves when the energy is too high (did I see him? Is he real?). Delusions that there is no other way out.
Other kinds of cycles, just as subject to swings, killed a young man this weekend. Delusions, mediated by violent rhetoric and pervasive, inflamed fears that go unquestioned and too quickly smothered by the next great event–this delusion killed a young man this weekend. And the days before that. And before that. And before that.
How long do we let delusions destroy us? How many holes have to be left?
*the first line caught my eye on FB. That was too hideous to leave.