Talking about death

Standard

Most people don’t like to talk about death because it’s scary. Any time I bring it up to my husband, he’s quick to change the subject. I think he’s convinced he’ll go first. He’s said before that he never wants to lose me. I don’t want to lose him either, but I don’t think either one of us believes we’re truly immortal. (Please note that I’m not talking religion right now.)

Stockvault by Merelize

I’ve known about death for as long as I can remember, since I saw my first death at four years old, that of my father. A few months prior, my grandfather (Dad’s father) had died. Though I didn’t see him or attend his funeral, I remember looking for him and noticing he was gone. One of my aunts told me he had died, and even then, I think I realized it was a serious word. Continue reading

What does depression (and anxiety) look like?

Standard

Most commercials for antidepressants show people in despair, lying on a couch crying or dressed in baggy clothing with unkempt hair.

Is that what depression looks like? Yes. Sometimes.

But often, depression can look like a person who has their shit together. A career woman who gets things done. A soccer mom with perfect hair and perfect kids. A lawyer. A doctor. A musician. An artist. A movie star. A writer. Me.

Anxiety medication ads often depict a person having a panic attack, complete with hyperventilating, rapid heartbeat and sweating.

So that’s what anxiety looks like, right? Sure. Sometimes.

It also can look like standoffishness. Indifference. Disengagement. Irritability. Forgetfulness. Me.

Continue reading

When a celebrity dies

Standard

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Why are we (the collective “we”) so moved by and intertwined with celebrity deaths? Celebs are mortal just like the rest of us, so it is inevitable that they will die someday, but when they do, they have more mourners than the rest of us. This is especially so when they die tragically or die young, which often coincide.

When someone dies at age 98 in their bed surrounded by family, we say it’s a good death because they lived a long life. Many people die much younger than that. Tragically young. What’s the cutoff age? Is it 40? 50? 60? What about 70? I don’t have the answers. My dads died at 32 and 55—too young in my opinion. My maternal grandparents died at 56 and 60, ages I now see as young, but at the time since I was a young child, I saw them as old.

River Phoenix

The first celebrity death I remember being aware of was that of actor/singer River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose on Halloween night, 1993. He was only 23 years old and quite famous. I had seen him in several movies such as Stand By Me and Running on Empty. He was talented, and I remember being so sad when I found out he had died, especially because of the way he died. Anti-drug messages at school started using him as an example of what drug abuse could do. Continue reading