I did learn something....the chasm between being ok and not ok, is probably quite small. Likely, most bloggers in the Western Hemisphere are writing about Robin Williams death today. We are stunned, we are sad. We need to process.
I've already read many great posts about mental illness and shame and brokenness in the past 18 hours. I don't think I have much new to add to the dialogue except for this:
At what point do we go from just having a bad day, to needing help? Or, how many bad days in a row does it take from just feeling blue to it being something more? If we are in position where we need help, how many of us are able to ask for it?
I can only speak for myself. When my kid's Dad left me several years ago, I did have the presence of mind to go see my Doctor pretty early on. I told him what was going on and that I needed two things. I needed to sleep and I needed to stop crying all the time. I had 4 kids to raise, I worked full time in a position where I was in a fishbowl, I wanted to make good, wise decisions and I wasn't sure I could without getting help. (Looking back, I'm not sure that all my decisions were good and wise, but I did try)
He gave me a half dose of Effexor which I've now been on for years. I wouldn't be surprised if I was on it for the rest of my life.
Not that I'm advocating for drugging ourselves into oblivion. I also had a counselor who I saw every week. I had a life coach that I saw once a month. I had an army of people praying for me. I meditated. I read. I prayed. (I also screamed and cried - but not all the time)
Last night was an odd night in that I couldn't sleep. (an upside to my medication is that I can pretty much sleep anytime, anywhere) My mind was full, I was irritated and I was processing Robin's untimely departure. And I thought about stress and how much I still carry. There are financial concerns, we're moving in 3 days, concerns with the kids, learning to be a step parent to a special needs child, being newly married but having 5 kids and how exactly does one have any alone time in that scenario, difficult conversations that I need to have with people at work, disappointment at work, and the list goes on.
At what point do we get to say - it's all too much? Or are we just expected to shoulder it because we live in affluent North America and we live in nice houses and we drive new cars. When does stress stop being "healthy" (because I know the way I'm wired, I need a certain degree of stress in order to get anything done) and become detrimental?
Where's the tipping point?