Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some observations in light of the Robin Williams tragedy

I, like 99.8% of the population, am so saddened, heartbroken, and upset by the suicide of Robin Williams yesterday. I can't say I'm shocked, knowing the man has fought demons for years, but wholeheartedly saddened nonetheless. As I have stated before, my getting sick has given me a huge empathy (and yes, I emphasize empathy, not sympathy - I can directly relate to dealing with a life-threatening disease) that those who have not gone through this can never have. That I did not have before. Admittedly, before I got sick, I may have sympathized with those who suffered mental illness/depression, but I honestly didn't comprehend the magnitude. I do now.

What I've noticed, though, in many of the articles I've read, is something akin to this sentence used often when talking about mental illness - "People chastise and attack people with mental illness. You would never attack someone with an illness like cancer." The sad thing is, we do get attacked. People attack and chastise people with cancer ALL THE TIME. Even if your friends or family don't speak it to your face, there are thoughts of "what you could have done differently, what you could have done to prevent it...I do this, this and this and this is why I DON'T HAVE IT AND YOU DO." Have you ever looked at the comment board on any cancer site, or worse yet, a "natural" healing site? Did you know that all you had to do to avoid cancer was - be vegan, be vegetarian, run 5 miles a day, take cannabis oil, drink goji juice, dance under the moonlight, have been raised in a hyperbaric chamber, eat meat, don't eat meat, be a man, be a woman, meditate hourly, not smoked that cigarette in your 20s, had children early, not had children early enough, not had children at all, eaten organic since birth, been breastfed for 5 years, and eat almonds? Did you know that if you have cancer all you have to do to cure it is take cannabis oil, go to the rainforest naked, don't eat sugar, meditate hourly while eating almonds, drink goji juice and think good thoughts? Did you know that it was your fault for getting a mammogram, not getting a mammogram, not having acupuncture, not using coconut oil?

In fact, you're even told some of the same things as people fighting depression and mental illness - stop using this for attention, be thankful for what you have, be happy you're alive, other people have it worse, what do you have to feel sad about, stop complaining, get over it.

This is what you go through, what you read when you are fighting a disease, when you are fighting cancer. So yes, people with cancer get attacked all the time for having an illness. How about we stop attacking anyone when you haven't walked in their shoes. Period.

 RIP Captain. I'm so so very sorry for what you endured. The world is a dimmer place for you leaving. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

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