While I have no plans to live on Mars, I would like to start living more fully on planet Earth. I'm sure I'll still have to "take a minute" from time to time as my head and my heart continue to sync up. But in the meantime, I'd like to work on getting back to looking forward. I'd like to pencil in some hope.
Dignity is every human's birthright, one value that can cut across all cultures and situations. All too often, those of us with mental health challenges have experienced their dignity being taken , though, by stigma and discrimination, forceful, demeaning and negative treatment, by silencing and shame.
When you lose a friend to suicide you feel lost yourself. You begin to look inward, wondering what is wrong with you that you couldn't have seen such an insurmountable death coming. You contemplate your abilities as a friend. You wonder if they had tried to speak with you but you were too busy to really listen.
Let's make sure we're there for people, that we advocate for better treatment and research, that we keep our eyes open to those who might be suffering and alone. Let's be kind to ourselves, be patient with our pain, and remember that it is possible to survive and overcome even the worst moments of sadness and depression.
So a year after leaving us, on my birthday, I reflect upon the talent of Robin Williams, whose sweet and gentle soul taught us that tied to our reality was a surreality of some of our worst excesses and darkest sides, while allowing us to come up for air with laughter. In the head-shaking incredulity of being alive today, I wish he was still around.