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Real, Powerful, Deadly

When someone dies from a fatal disease we (as a society) tend to mention that disease when discussing the person’s death. We lament the unfairness. Pledge money toward research and awareness. Wear ribbons, run races, speak out.

That is unless that disease is a mental illness.

Today Robin Williams passed away. It appears he sucumb to complications from his illness. Most will focus on the apparent suicide, the last act of that illness.

But it isn’t really about the suicide any more than death from cancer is about the heart stopping or the kidneys shutting down those are just the last thing the illness does to a person.

Depression, bi-polar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia… These aren’t fancy words for “you need to get over it” or “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “you’re a drama queen” or “you have mommy issues”. These are real diseases, with real symptoms and real consequences.  They also have real treatments.

Part of what sucks is not every treatment works for every person and so sometimes it feels like you’ll never find the one that works for you.

Keep looking it’s out there.

Sometimes the act of looking keeps you hanging on.

Sometimes you find something that works, but then it stops working and you have to start the search again.

It’s ok. You found it once, you’ll find it again.

Sometimes it’s a temporary treatment and you can stop once you’re in remission.

Sometimes it’s a treatment you need to continue indefinitely.

The point is these diseases are real and they’re powerful and sometimes they end in death. Not because the victim wasn’t strong enough. Not because they were selfish or stupid. But because sometimes diseases are fatal and it’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense.

 

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