Make sure you have a box of tissues before you read this stunning piece on mental illness.
Source: An Open Letter To A Person With Mental Illness
A year ago I was preparing to attend the season premiere taping of ‘The Big Bang Theory’. I took the VIP tour at Warner Bros. Studios and got to take pictures of the backlot sets (‘Gilmore Girls’ anyone?), visited the TBBT and Conan O’Brien sets (no pictures allowed), saw the Batman 50th Anniversary and ‘Harry Potter’ exhibits (my hair was red so the sorting hat figured I was a Weasley and put me in Griffindor) and had what was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Would I attend another taping? As long as I can spend longer than a few days there and I will make sure to make time to see my friends from college that live in CA and I didn’t see last year.
Flash forward to now and while I’m ecstatic and eagerly awaiting the season 9 premiere of TBBT, I’m also thinking back to the news that I read when I came out of the taping that Robin Williams had died. We later learned he had committed suicide and was suffering from severe depression.
As someone who also suffers from severe depression I can honestly say I know the pain, loneliness, feeling of worthlessness and the desire to make it all go away. I think I knew I was depressed after my maternal grandfather passed away in 1983 but I didn’t seek help until I was in my 20’s. By that time I had made a very poor “attempt” at suicide. I say it this way because I knew the pills I was taking wouldn’t kill me but I also knew that someone would see it for what it truly was – a cry for help.
Even though I’ve been seeing a counselor and taking medication for 20+ years doesn’t mean I’m okay. Between work, The Boy and other various stressors my mind has constantly been doing the “Things will never get better” loop for the last two months. I’ve spent many days trying to figure out why I should keep going and whether it’s worth it. I’m so spent physically, mentally and emotionally I don’t have anything left to give anyone especially myself.
Will I mention this to my counselor at my next appointment? I always discuss work and TB but I feel that some of my other issues are shallow and I’d rather try working them out on my own. I know I’m being foolish but that’s always been my MO when it comes to problems I feel are more superficial than serious; I internalize them because that’s just how I am. I may write about them but I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if anything.
San Diego Comic Con, also known as SDCC, is an annual entertainment and comic extravaganza celebrating the world of fantasy/science fiction in comics, film, television, books, art and more. As a lover of all of these I’ve sworn to mark this off my bucket list sometime in the near future. Until then, I live vicariously through others on Twitter.
One of my favorite shows is Supernatural. Supernatural is one of the most popular panels at SDCC which is not surprising if you’ve ever read anything about the show. The cast and crew are some of the nicest people in the business and a large part of that is because they truly appreciate their fans. In fact, they adore their fans so much and vice versa that our fandom is known as the SPNFamily.
On Sunday June 12th about 7,000 people packed Hall H for the Supernatural panel. Right before the panel took questions 1,200 people held up electronic tealight candles with “Always Keep Fighting” on them. This was to support actor Jared Padalecki who plays the youngest of the Winchester boys, Sam.
For the last several months Jared has done something I’ve found rare and extraordinary for a celebrity: shared his ongoing struggle with depression. He is so passionate about it he’s on his third t-shirt campaign with proceeds going to To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) NUMBER THREE FOR THIRTY-THREE: JARED PADALECKI RELEASED THIRD ‘ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING’ T-SHIRT TO COINCIDE WITH HIS BIRTHDAY. What I find most admirable is that he doesn’t just mention it here and there; he continues to talk about his battle and encourages others to do the same. This is why I agree with MTV as to Why Jared Padalecki’s Battle With Depression Deserves The Biggest Birthday Present Of All.
Here’s the link to the SDCC 2015 video Always Keep Fighting Candle Salute SDCC 2015 and Jared’s response Jared Padalecki Responds to Incredible Fan Surprise Supporting His Battle With Depression: “It Took Everything Not to Cry”.
(shirt from the second #AKF campaign)
*I’d like to dedicate this post to Anne, Random Acts, RA creator and angel extraordinaire Misha Collins, everyone that attended the Supernatural panel in Hall H, anyone that’s shared their story, anyone suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness and those that support them, the SPNFamily, the Supernatural cast and crew, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. You give us the strength to Always Keep Fighting.
Another beautiful post by Rachel Miner.
…AND NOW BACK TO YOU.
About three months ago a friend of mine told me I needed to check out a little show on The CW called Supernatural. If you like strong storylines mixed with humor, a touch of melancholy and an amazing cast including a kick-ass 1997 Chevy Impala then you need to check it out ASAP.
I immediately fell in love with the show and binge watched seasons 1-9 on Netflix in the span of three months. I also started following and interacting with the actors on Twitter which is the most wonderous experience. Two of my favorites are the ladies that played demon Meg Masters – Nicki Aycox and Rachel Miner.
Nicki Aycox, in addition to being a sensational actress, is a musician that loves promoting other musicians including Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz. You can find her at http://www.nickiaycoxproject.com/ or on Twitter as and her music at https://soundcloud.com/nickiaycox/wailin-crow
Rachel Miner is an extraordinary actress whose credits range from Broadway to movies and television. She recently posted a very inspiring and humorous piece on her blog http://pieceofmined.com/author/rmined/ asking us to laugh with her. You can find her on Twitter as
Amy Murray wrote a wonderful post back in November 2014 about THAT kid. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/11/14/teacher-to-parents-about-that-kid-the-one-who-hits-disrupts-and-influences-your-kid/
I knew she was talking about my son as soon as I saw the title. Reading the article broke my heart because I would love if the teacher could tell you why my son is the way he is. I would be thrilled if I could send a letter home to the parents of all the kids in his class explaining my son’s issues and behaviors. Since I can’t I’m putting it here instead.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m the mom of THAT kid. I’m the mom that:
- When her kid was finally diagnosed with pediatric bipolar she scoured the internet looking for anYthing and everything she could find on it
- Will never forget holding the door to her bedroom closed because he was having another explosive meltdown and she was scared of him
- Is scared, frustrated and sad on his behalf during meltdowns because he doesn’t know what causes them and neither does she
- Is angry with him and on his behalf because he can’t properly express himself prior to or during a meltdown and she’s tried to teach him over and over and over
- Spent years and vacation time taking him to various psychologists and therapists and enrolling him in studies trying to find answers as to why he is the way he is
- Scoured the internet for any and all sites and blogs dealing with his behaviors looking for answers and support (and continues to do so)
- Took so many parenting classes that she could easily teach a few of them
- Had him tested before he even entered the school system but was told he didn’t qualify for special services
- Spent years telling Elementary School over and over TB had a problem and they needed to do another child study
- Used more vacation time picking him up from school and staying home with him because he had been suspended (or “early released” as the principal called it) AGAIN
- Was told over and over that because his grades were fine he didn’t qualify for an IEP even though his behavior consantly disrupted class
- When the principal would call the first thing out of her mouth was, “What did he do THIS time?”
- When he was finally given an IEP she knew in her gut there was something more to the puzzle that was him
- Did Elementary School’s job by spending hours on her county’s school website and found Education Center (TB’s current school)
- Cried on the phone to the Parent Ombudsman of her state Department of Education and principal of Education Center because Elementary School hadn’t told her about Education Center even though Elementary’s principal had said years ago that Elementary may not be the place for him
- Cried harder to her husband after Education Center’s counselor told them as soon as the principal met and observed TB she wanted him at Education Center
- Still cries when talking or writing about fighting with Elementary School
- Will always be waiting for a call from school saying there’s a problem and she has to come get him
- Has the doctors on speed-dial when it’s bad enough that she has to make another emergency appointment
- Is convinced she’s never been, and will never be, a good parent because she gets so upset and frustrated when he acts up that she yells at him
- Is convinced she should know by now what sets him off, how to lessen the meltdowns/explosions and what will help him calm down when he does meltdown/explode
- Does not hesitate to tell you about TB mental illness and the stigma of it all
And most important:
- Is thankful she has a partner that supports her 110% because she has no idea how she’d get through this without him
- Noticed there’s information out there about pediatric bipolar but not many blogs so she decided to start one
- Does all she can to spread awareness of pediatric bipolar and stop the stigma
- Has talked and will continue to talk with the parents in all of her kid’s classes about his issues and behaviors