I listened to S Town this week. I knew early on in the first episode what would happen to John. He said he couldn’t describe his darkness in words, but I think he did a damn good job. Maybe that is because I could relate to the darkness John experienced at times. I could relate to the highs as well. Manic Depression, Bipolar, is a beast. It will alter your life.
Unfortunately, I believe some people battling this beast will not ever respond well to the solutions of this mental health world. Not enough medicines or therapy can “cure” those genius’s who suffer so deeply at times. John was one of these people. So were Einstein and Van Gogh. Don Mclean sang it true in “Starry Starry Night”: “How you suffered for your sanity” and “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”. John was beautiful. Beneath his crude language and disparaging look on life, was a genius. He was an artist. I believe true, genius artisans suffer from this world the most. John expressed the beautiful side of him through his hedge maze, gardens, and especially his clock “work”.
Minds like John’s, Einstein’s and Van Gogh’s just do not understand this world. I’m not a genius by any means on their level, but I totally get it. Those of you who do not experience the darkness as these men have, and so many people today, do not understand. Your practical minds cannot understand the beast that can tear up your mind and skew the world into this dark, tornadic hell.
John tried to cry out for help so many times. Bibb County did not have the means to help someone like John. They do not have access to the medical community or even the literature to help someone like John. I believe he tried medications once early on, but they dulled his brilliant brain and he could not express himself as well as when he is without the meds. I have experienced that throughout my life. I have been over medicated at times to the point I was a hollow shell, numb to the world around me, almost as bad as the depression I battle.
A large group exists that believe you will go to hell if you commit suicide. To those living in the darkest depths of this world are essentially in hell. The world can be too much for them. Any place would be better than this living darkness.
For the majority of those battling mental health, I believe solutions do exist. Research and medication have come a long way. More people, famous or not, are speaking out and trying to reduce the stigma. However, it is still not enough. I was looking at a company the other day that sponsored three different cancer fund raisers and nothing close to any mental health fund raising organization. Mental health touches just as many people. But it will take time. It took a long time for people to recognize the scope of cancer.
In many instances, it is too late. Teenage suicide attempts and completions are on the rise. They are the second leading cause of death in this age group. The Jason Foundation (jasonfoundation.com) is one such entity battling the epidemic. Many states, including Alabama, have passed the Jason Flatt Act. It requires school to include training and education in suicide awareness during the in-service training. It stands to reason since educators, coaches, etc. end up seeing our kids more often than we do as they get older.
Suicide is tragic no matter how you slice it. I am not saying that it cannot be prevented with those like John, Einsten and, lets not forget, Robin Williams. I just think that the darkness in these brilliant minds is too much to bear.
Remember, it is Mental Health Month!!!!