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Mental Health Pandemic

This is more or less an impulsive post. After many years, for the first time, I decided to watch Good Will Hunting. Of course, I'd seen it referenced in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but I'd never once actually seen the movie. I was quite shocked to see that Robin Williams was in this movie. Although the movie was an award-winning drama and was meant to play at your emotions, the entire time I couldn't help but feel saddened by the absence of Robin Williams in real life. 
There are very few celebrity deaths that have impacted me, in fact, I would say that there isn't a celebrity death that hasn't impacted me more than the suicide of Robin Williams. He was such a staple of my childhood and much of my adulthood. Toys, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, and many other of his movies are in my list of favorites. Mork and Mindy was my introduction to all that was Robin Williams, his catalog is extensive and his acting rage phenomenal. So why Robin Williams? Why did his death have such an effect on me? Because the adage that you never know what a person is going through rang true in this situation. It was completely unexpected, we were completely blindsided, and it was truly tragic not only to his loved ones but to the comedy industry. 

Suicide is never trivial, it's as serious as things could get. Whether a person threatens to complete it or not is moot. Robin Williams, to the outside world, had everything going for him. He had the fame, fortune, and stature that most people only wish that they could have, and yet there was something in his life or some things in his life that weren't right. He may have felt overwhelmed or just downright struggled with depression in general. Either way, he felt his only way out of the torment was to complete suicide. It probably doesn't help that I have been sipping tonight, but I can't help but think of life and the effects of suicide, especially during this pandemic.

We have all had issues with this pandemic. Whether it has been job loss, boredom, relapse in addiction, it has changed the way that we have been living our lives for the last few months. Something I am no stranger to. In the last month, I have picked drinking back up, and ashamedly I have been drinking more than I would like to. With nothing else to do and being unable to focus on anything else other than the problems that this pandemic has caused me, I have once again taken to drinking on my days off. Increasingly so, here lately I have had thoughts of suicide myself. I have more to live for than to die for, so my thoughts only fall within the category of suicide ideation; thoughts with no intention of acting on said thoughts. 

The hard part about this pandemic and its isolation is the way that it has changed not only the way that we socialize but the way that we live life. Throughout this entire thing our governor, here in Kentucky, has promoted the importance of self-care. This is nothing new, as self-care has been all the rage as of lately. There are people who don't live with mental health issues promoting the importance of self-care for quite a while. So, what is the difference between now and then? In all honesty? Absolutely nothing. There is always a need for self-care, no matter what it is that you are going through. Now is not an exception to the rule. What does self-care look like? Self-care is not the same for everyone, it changes from person to person and some people are having a harder time now than they have ever before. Some people's self-care may be in the form of getting their hair done or going to a spa. Some may have spent time going to a restaurant by themselves. My form of self-care was spending time in a book store or spending time with friends. Now that I am unable to do those things I have had to shift my focus on what self-care means and how it looks to me. 

One form of self-care that I have implemented, at least here recently, is getting off of social media. I'm actually not quite sure why it is that I decided to delete all my social media apps and go off the grid but at this moment it just feels right. I've been keeping up with COVID-19 through social media and spending my free time scrolling Facebook and Instagram. Neither of which were of any help. All it did was remind me of how much life has changed since the start of this thing. I've started and stopped at least three blog entries since the beginning of this thing and as you can tell I have not posted not one of them. 

I've been spending more time with my children. The first day I stopped getting on social media I spent the entire day watching an entire anime series with my daughter. Time passed so quickly I scarcely realized that so much time had passed. It was enjoyable. I've also done a lot more reading now than I have before. Yes, I've always been a reader but with the extra time on my hands, I have been able to comfortably drift off to another land via the books that I read. Another thing I have done, I've begun to read my bible more and more in the time since I've been off of social media. My relationship with God has been better now without all of the distractions.
Mental Health and this pandemic go hand-in-hand, and it something that should not be ignored, especially now. I know that anxiety is high, that things are happening that are beyond your control, and it seems as though the entire world has gone to hell, but I am here to tell you, as Governor Bashear would say " we will get through this". 

I'm striving not only to get through this but to also get through this with strengthened faith and a strengthened mental state. I am not my illness, and neither are you.


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