Can Robin Williams help to bring light to the dark, secretive world of bipolar?
Posted by flissyb
16th Aug 2014

I wanted to share my thoughts after a sombre day digesting the news of Robin William’s untimely death.

If anyone is going through or has had experience with mental ill health they will understand that there are no other words to describe the sheer velocity once it takes hold and you are forced to remember why you are needed alive and to have those thoughts drowned out by the need for peace.

I know only too well how it feels to need humour to stop me from feeling how I feel behind closed doors. I have a diagnosis of bipolar and have battled the illness for six years with numerous hospital admissions. I have battled secretly many times feeling locked behind a pane of glass, watching and listening yet feeling so far removed from reality, completely unknown to others.

It is reported that Robin’s life was built up of many episodes of depression and battling substance misuse to try and cope with hidden demons. I wish we could make all these issues more acceptable to talk about and not judge people as mental health illnesses are debilitating and soul destroying often inviting unhealthy coping mechanisms that invite further outside criticism. I used substances, had an eating disorder and self-harmed inviting the ‘cry for attention’ label. I was just desperate and wanted to block out the harmful intensity of my illness and attempt to gain control. To the ignorant they may have seemed selfish actions but they achieved the immediate reduction of pain, anguish and anxiety and it took me many years to learn other strategies.

It is extremely important to me personally to help raise awareness of these issues. It’s just devastating when a surge in topic is through a loss. I lost a beautiful friend to suicide and she was always smiling. Bipolar is often associated with ‘creative’ and ‘genius’ yet we still hear the alternative ‘nut job’ and ‘head case’ and I often find this linked with status. At the end of the day no matter who we are, we battle the same.

Although it is crucial to encourage people like myself to ask for help, in my opinion, it is so very difficult to talk when you don’t want to admit to the dreading fear that encompasses you. For me, it is also about encouraging people to ask questions, listen, be more aware and responsive and ultimately, help that person who is vulnerable and in need.

More acceptance. Less judgement. Simple as that.

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