Good Morning! Here's the Monday Morning Blog!
Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life last week? Be sure to check in with them. Ask them what they are thinking about or if anything may be bothering them. And be ready to listen.
May's Theme - Mental Health Awareness Month
Since 1949, Mental Health America and affiliates have observed May as being Mental Health Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.
There are many messages popping up on social media with resources to help. The CDC currently has a public Service Announcement which pops up when you search for mental health awareness on Google.
Be Kind to Your Mind: Tips to cope with stress
PAUSE – Breathe and notice how you feel
TAKE BREAKS – from internet content
MAKE TIME – to sleep and exercise
REACH OUT – and stay connected
SEEK HELP – If overwhelmed or unsafe
This month I am going to focus on bringing more awareness to mental health. Check out my mentor page and see how I am doing it Selma P. Verde - Mentor Page
What makes a person or story inspiring?
I call these posts Inspiring Stories. What makes a story inspiring? I think a story is inspiring when it is about something that a person doesn't normally do and it gives the reader an idea that maybe it is something they could do. Or it is the story about a person's journey to get to that remarkable event or to something that changes their life.
This month I am featuring mental health awareness. Robin Williams was a wonderful comedian. He comes across as a happy person to all of us on the outside, but inside he was dealing with addiction and anxiety. What you see on the outside isn't always a showing of what a person is dealing with on the inside.
Who was Robin Williams?
According to Wikipedia, Robin McLaurin Williams was an American actor and comedian. He was able to make people laugh and his ability to improvise on the spot in TV, movies and film is what made him one of the best comedians of all time.
His father was a senior executive at Ford's Lincoln-Mercury division and his mom was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi. During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor, as he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.
Williams attained a full scholarship to Julliard to hone his acting skills. According to biographer Jean Dorsinville, Christopher Reeve attended Julliard with Williams. He remembered his first impression of Williams when they were new students at Juilliard:
"He wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute. I'd never seen so much energy contained in one person. He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released. I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways. To say that he was 'on' would be a major understatement."
He was happy on the outside
Even with the successful career as an actor, what a person chooses to show of themselves to the world doesn't always match what is going on inside. Williams was suffering from an addiction to cocaine and anxiety. He had been a casual friend of John Belushi and was partying with him the night before Belushi died of a drug overdose.
He got sober after that and the birth of his son Zak. But he would pick the habit back up and add alcohol to the mix. He then pursued treatment and remained sober for the eight years prior to his death.
He seemed to bounce back after his issues with drugs and alcohol.
His health issues led to his suicide
He was a brilliant man. An amazing comedian and actor who was starting to feel anxious and paranoid. According to Wikipedia, Williams's initial condition included a sudden and prolonged spike in fear and anxiety, stress and insomnia, which worsened in severity to include memory loss, paranoia, and delusions. According to Susan Schneider, his wife,
"Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it... He kept saying, 'I just want to reboot my brain.'"
He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As he started treatment for the disease, he was still feeling anxious and paranoid.
He started showing symptoms of Lewy Bodies which was misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease.
As his Lewy Bodies continued to get worse, he was feeling more and more anxiety, which would be expected for that condition. He was a comedian who was used to making everyone else happy. He was also a successful actor who had starred in many movies and TV shows. Now, he was losing control of his mind and being taunted by delusions and paranoia.
Instead of trying to deal with the delusions and paranoia or being placed in a memory care unit, he decided to take his own life.
Why is he inspiring to us?
Robin Williams will always be remembered as a beloved comedian and actor. He made us laugh in many of the roles he took on in his lifetime. He battled addictions to alcohol and drugs and got himself back to being sober. This is what could be seen as the inspiring side of this life. The side we could see.
But his life had the other side, a side we couldn't see. He suffered from anxiety and had health related issues that he couldn't overcome. His mind was being taken from him due to a disease that many people suffer from.
As we continue to become more aware of mental health issues, we see Williams' story as one of it can happen even to a brilliant and well liked person. We can learn from what happened here to take stock of our own mental health. And when either you or someone you care about is struggling, help them find help for their mental illness.
Want to learn more about Robin Williams?
If you want to learn more about Robin Williams, here is a link to an official website all about him - Robin Williams
There are many books out there about Robin Williams, his life and his acting career. You can search Google or check out your local library for options. Or you can shop one of your local bookstores in person or shop Bookshop.org and have the purchase credited to them.
What people or stories have you found to be inspiring? Let me know what the story was and how it inspired you in the comments below.
$.99 eBook sale coming up soon!
The Way Series is a coming-of-age series for teens and young adults. It focuses on challenges that teens can face while growing up. The Hard Way is the first book, and it is a relatable story about peer pressure and Shawn's Way is a relatable story about bullying. These books may help you to start a conversation with your teen about these issues or may give them a story they can relate to about something they may be facing.
An eBook sale is coming up on June 2-5, 2022, when the eBook versions of both books will be $.99 each. What a great time to pick up your very own copies. Here is a link to my books tab - Selma's Books.