Since the sad news that Robin Williams took his own life, I have seen some heated debate over two related issues: whether the suicidal have a choice, and whether suicide is selfish. I may be coming late to the party, but I needed time to sort through what was being said to articulate my feelings on these questions.
As a woman who lives with mental illness, I have faced the specter of suicide myself. I have experienced the pain of mind that makes death seem like beautiful freedom. But I refused freedom at the cost of life, and I may have to refuse it again.
I WANT TO DREAM…
of a life, of a world…
where I’m free from the bondage of mental illness.
There, I’m free from my limitations, and the world is mine. My energy is limitless; nothing overwhelms me. Whatever I put my mind to, I can do.
I have dreamed of this world since I was a little girl.
Living with mental illness as a mother is even harder.
When I first became deeply ill, I did not realize the impact it would have on my children. At the time, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of hiding it. But, I have discovered they saw more than I thought they did, and they didn’t like it.
The youngest one was only 2, so she doesn’t really remember. The older two were 9 and 11. They remember. They remember the emotional absence, and that’s painful for me.