• andreasachs1

Aisle Seat: The Moody Blues of May

By Naomi Serviss / New York City



Is it mere coincidence


that Mother’s Day


and Mental Health Awareness Month


fall at the same time?


Rhetorical question.


Mothers are supposed


to drive their kids nuts.


It’s in the manual.


That being said,


mothers deserve


an official day


of acknowledgement


and celebration.

(Even if your mother


was an emotionally abusive narcissist


with a borderline personality to boot.)


Fortunately, we’re all adults now


and can discuss


suicidal ideation without blanching.


And who hasn’t been


depressed, anxious, panic-stricken


and a smidge agoraphobic


in the past two years?


We’re all touched by


posttraumatic stress disorder.

How could we not be,


after living two years on Covid-hold?

Merely living in the here and now,


going about my business,


I’m shadowed by whispering variants


that float effortlessly, airborne.


But I’m not paranoid,


just worried about everyone’s mental health.



Everyone is susceptible to the unthinkable.


Naomi Judd on the “Today Show” in 2017 discussing her bouts of depression
Naomi Judd on the “Today Show” in 2017 discussing her bouts of depression

The latest shocking celebrity suicide


was country singer Naomi Judd


who struggled for years with mental illness.


Judd’s daughters Wynonna and Ashley


attributed their mother’s suicide to


“the disease of mental illness”

in a statement.


Judd had been open


about her mental health issues


for years.


At the nadir of despair in 2013,


she spent two years on the couch.


Considered taking her own life


at a bridge near her farm.


In 2017, Judd wrote


River of Time:


My Descent into Depression


and How I Emerged With Hope.


That year, she discussed her experiences


on morning news shows


and seemed to be in good spirits.


When famous families speak publicly


About their loved one’s pain


and suffering,


it benefits those


without familiar surnames.

 

Debra, 79,


(not her real name)


has been in therapy for 50 years.


Gratefully, she reports


being at a balanced, healthy juncture.


A far cry from the two times


she tried to kill herself.


Chronic depression is a disease


that’s haunted her,


treatment-resistant.


Name an antidepressant


and Debra’s likely been on and off of it.



She now undergoes Ketamine treatments


a day’s drive away from home,


under medical supervision.


Her “trips” as she calls them,


can be soothing and restorative,


psychologically satisfying or nerve-wracking.


“This weekend I was really agitated


and didn’t want to bike or play mahjong


or meet for lunch.”


Her support-team family


helps her maintain equanimity.


“It’s always a struggle


and has ups and downs.


I have more up days now than down,” Debra adds.



“Really learning how to let go


of the past shit in my life,


which is healthy.”


Debra credits her in-patient,


psychiatric hospital experience


as being one of the best things


she’s ever done.

 

Jessica Hendy


is a multi-talented


Broadway actor/cabaret-singing writer


who understands depression.


Her autobiographical play with music


is Walking With Bubbles.



The tale reveals Hendy


as a single mom


navigating a life


enmeshed with her ex,


who became homeless in New York City.


He refused treatment.


“I watched his rapid


and severe mental decline


and finally left


with my four-year-old son,


Beckett,” (aka Bubbles).


When Hendy moved to New York City,


her ex followed.


“His brain couldn’t handle big city life


and that’s when he began


living as a homeless man.


“I struggled with


guilt, shame and secrecy,”


Hendy said.


“I lived a double life.


We would meet him in parks


and Bubbles could see his dad.”


Keeping her secret


upended Hendy’s life


and mental stability.


Therapy and writing anchored her.


Her “light-bulb moment” was realizing


that everyone has been touched,


in some way, by the disease.


She hoped


that by sharing her harrowing story


it would encourage others


to share theirs.


“Going to therapy


is a path


to own and love your story,”


Hendy added.


“We’re all more alike than we think.”


Hendy’s truth-telling play with music


has a May 19 midtown reading.


Among attendees


(she hopes)


will be generous angels


and discerning producers.



The month of May


will forever be linked


to honoring our foremothers.


It's also the perfect gratitude moment


for our mental health support team.


Without mine, I wouldn't be here.


 






Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com

2 comments