Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have had a couple of posts that have been a bit dark.  Anger and trees was particularly dark but I like to think I pulled out of the dive at the last moment there.  The Dance was a tad symbolistic and dark, yet I was particularly proud of that one.  These posts are just flowing out of me... and it feels good.  I am glad I started this.

However, I am pretty sure it behooves me to up the positivity quotient a notch.  Let me relate a story that took place last week.  It's a story of stigmas that some people didn't know that they subscribed to.  And, it's a story about pushing past that same stigma.

A group of us were discussing famous people with disabilities.  Names were thrown out, Internet research was done, and a mighty list generated of people who had succeeded greatly despite a disability.    The list was varied, and included people with mental illness as well as physical disabilities.  

(Defining mental illness as a disability is a debatable issue, I admit.  Some people agree that it is, some people don't like the label.  A topic for another post, perhaps.)

What I noticed most of all in the room was this:  generally speaking, people didn't quite believe that very successful people could have a disability or a mental illness.  There was no malice or negativity associated with this belief, it just struck some people as odd that someone could overcome and succeed despite their illness or condition.

Here's one of the lists we uncovered:  Famous depressed people.  Here's another: famous people with disabilities.  Certainly the level of fame on many is debatable, but the concept remains.  There are people in ALL fields, that have a mental illness or a physical challenge, and have risen above and excelled in their chosen field.  

A blind person who led a fairly independent life once told me that the greatest compliment he ever received was when someone said after a time, "Oh I didn't realize you were blind!"

After our discussion, I really think some folks I know had a little less prejudice and a little more open mindedness.  Score one for the anti-stigma movement.


  1. Greetings,
    I'm very sorry I have not visited your blog for a few days. I'm surprised that those who I would like to think are part of an empathetic community have not acknowledged this wonderful posting. In time, they will come.
    Of course, plenty of famous and successful people have various forms of mental health concerns and disabilities. If anything, the illness can be a catalyst to drive one forward in the pursuit of a happier life. In a way, I consider my illness a bizarre blessing.
    Positive and respectful wishes, your way, Gary :-)

  2. Thanks for the kind words as always. I am still VERY new, blog-ly speaking, and I am sure people will come and go on a more regular basis as I become a longer term poster. In the meantime, I keep in mind the therapeutic value of the journaling, and the positive wishes of those that do visit.


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