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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
This blog relates to life observations before and after age 50. Basically how change is inevitable and affects the way we see things
The Sadness is Palpable
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About this blog
By Lori Broschat
I am a Devils Lake native, a recipient of three college degrees including a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. I have been a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1997 and I was appointed to my home church in Devils Lake in ...
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This Side of 50
I am a Devils Lake native, a recipient of three college degrees including a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. I have been a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1997 and I was appointed to my home church in Devils Lake in July 2014. I love to write and have some published works. Blogging is a hobby of mine and this will be my third blog. I have a grown daughter named Ashley who is a student and sometime resident of Devils Lake. I am a movie buff, an Anglophile, and I possess more books than I have time to read!
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Aug. 14, 2014 5:50 p.m.

On Monday the world was saddened to hear of the death by suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams.† Long known as a person with eccentric quirks and major energy, he also struggled with addiction for years, as well as depression.† For those who have never known mental illness or experienced those who have it, there is no ready way to explain it, but the word "plagued" is the perfect way to describe it.



I remember when my daughter was first hospitalized for her bipolar disease, how well-meaning folks in my community tried to equate their days of sadness following surgery with her condition. It did not do much to make me feel better, but instead made me feel defensive. † I felt† as if I was walking through a swimming pool in those days, one of the worst periods of my life.† The suffering and sadness of others can be very palpable.



As a society, we react to mental illness in a variety of ways.† Some people fear it, others judge it, still others deny it.† Movies are made trying to demystify mental illness, but in a culture where a great majority of our prison inmates are dealing with addictive issues or mental illness, it seems that we need to do a much better job at addressing this problem.



I don't use the word problem lightly, as if to say that the whole thing is just a big problem we have to deal with.† I mean that it is a problem for those who are affected by it, for those who love those who suffer from it, for their suffering is often our suffering.† It is a problem because it needs a solution, and the solutions we can apply are not often enough.



The pain that comes from depression or bipolar disorder or anxiety or schizophrenia is not something that can be easily understood.† Those with the illness often have a difficult time fully disclosing what their lives are like, what they struggle with often daily, hourly, minute by minute.† If we can bring mental illness out of the closet, so to speak, approach it with honesty and patience and empathy and compassion rather than disdain and fear and stigma, then and only then may we be able to save some people who would rather die than live with their agony.



To be known is to be understood, but the mentally ill are not likely to feel known, let alone understood.† It's difficult to let yourself be known when you have quirks or habits or behaviors or thoughts that frighten people.† As a mother of someone who balances what she would like to do in her life with what she is able to do in her life, I would do whatever is possible to alleviate her pain and struggle, but there is little I can do.† Still, the sadness is palpable, but sometimes the joy is contagious.

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