Why Do We Abandon Them When Their Skies Darken? Wise Words About Mental Illness

(10-20-17) From my files Friday. I am in San Antonio speaking today at the Bexar County Behavioral Health and Wellness Conference, but I awoke this morning thinking about what Sander Pick, the son of Jessie Close, said at another conference years ago.

I helped Jessie, the sister of the famous movie star and mental health advocate Glenn Close, write her memoir, RESILIENCE.  Pick’s few words, which I first shared with you in 2012, remind me why we must continue to speak out for reforms. Please read what he says:

“I’ve always thought that the more sensitive a person is, the more susceptible they are to mental illnesses. A sick joke in our universe is that the more it allows a person to see its beauty and deep connectivity, the more difficult it becomes for that person to maintain good mental health.

     “In our culture, we tend to treat this tradeoff with a fierce double standard. As long as they are sharing with us beautiful insights into humanity, we will love and cherish them as heroes, but if they fall into substance abuse, depression or any other form of mental illness, we tend to say, ‘It’s not our problem.’

     “Classically, these are artists, musicians, writers, etc., but, of course, they come in all sorts, unsung or not. These people tend to add value and meaning to our lives. At their best, they are the types who make us laugh and cry, to learn and to take risks and to love. They are brave and it angers me that as a society, we abandon them when their skies darken.”


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.