Society's Ills

Yesterday (Wednesday) I was walking with my dear friend Marc Daniels, a great lawyer at Charter Chambers here in Bermuda. We ran into "Keith", who most Bermudians know of. Keith is a destitute man, who trawls the streets of Hamilton asking for money. Now, we don't have many of these "homeless bums" as many would call them, which is why we all know the ones we do, and mourn their deaths when they pass from this world to the next. Marc and I began discussing how sad a long-term addiction is and I mentioned that I felt like the stigma of mental illness is so strong, especially here in Bermuda, and that our facilities and programs here are woefully under-equipped to handle the many types of illness, trauma counselling and alcohol and drug issues that come from those. I often get a fearful feeling in my stomach when I write about how I feel, because I worry people will judge me, relegate me to being "crazy", or an "attention seeker" or that I'm seeking pity. No, it's none of these things. As therapeutic as it is to write about it, I could do that myself on my computer for no one to see. I am disappointed I don't discuss my own personal plight enough due to these fears, because the reason for this blog is to encourage triumph over adversity, to show the process of overcoming depression, the daily battle it is for some of us. I mention this also because today I found out that my former driving instructor committed suicide last year by drinking battery acid. That was so devastating to me, that he was so utterly unhappy that he didn't just kill himself, but did so in such a violent manner that would have been so painful, that's how badly he wanted to die. It's why I carry on writing. To let others know that they're not alone, that there are others like them, who carry on every day. I've had a few people approach me since the blog started admitting that they secretly suffer. My message is "it doesn't have to be a secret". The advances in various countries, specifically the UK, forbidding discrimination on the grounds of mental illness is inspiring and I hope such progress will continue. When I told a friend recently that I was bipolar, and asked if it freaked him out, he responded with "I think it makes you more interesting". There are some lovely, supportive people out there, and if they're not, they shouldn't be in your life. I encourage everyone to visit PostSecret. It updates every Sunday, and if you ever feel alone in your secrets or your pain, you'll realise there are so many people out there willing to support you that feel the same way.

Today, in 1917 Lena Horne, the jazz-legend and civil rights activist was born in Brooklyn, NY. I'm sharing a musical scene from her film Boogie-Woogie-Dream. Because you've always gotta celebrate dreams....

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